The long and the short of it
I’m a 30-something female human living in London and going through the slightly heartrending process of “trying to conceive” where traditional methods have failed. I have a lovely partner, family and friends and am starting this blog because I want to have a way of recording how it feels to be on this (sometimes very lonely) journey. Everyone else seems to have a baby at the drop of a hat… We’ll just have to drop more hats, or something!
Life is kind of convoluted sometimes, and as it turns out, it’s taken me a whole lot of time to get to this place where I am spewing out random thoughts into the blogosphere. I hope that one or two of you find them interesting. It’s quite therapeutic for me – I used to write a diary when I was younger, so it’s a bit like that, only I also get to interact with other people, which is great.
I started this blog after thinking about blogging for a while, mainly to try and make sense of this infertility and treatment (IVF) that we’re going through. I’ve been long term infertile, in that I’ve never been pregnant in all of my 30-something (okay, closer to 40 but don’t push me) years. There’s something quite lonely about that, firstly when you’re “not not trying” and secondly when you’ve been in [more than one] long term relationship(s) and it’s never reached that stage before, and all your friends are popping out sprogs left, right and centre.
Infertility is something people don’t really talk about. Which is odd really, as people talk about trying to conceive all the time and apparently as soon as you’re of childbearing age, your reproductive facilities are fair game for comment. I work in a very male dominated industry and I’ve been talked about/to way too many times in respect of my fertility and likelihood of bearing a child (always assumed to be imminent if you’re female aged 20-45, I think). But nobody ever thinks, well, you might not want to talk about it in such an insensitive way because you’re possibly infertile. I’ve found even friends aren’t particularly interested, especially the mums, apart from in that kind of flippant “I knew someone who was infertile and she just relaxed and [insert ridiculous regime here] got pregnant”.
Meanwhile, every alcoholic party girl in a short term relationship who even looks at a sperm gets pregnant. #notbitter
The point is, I guess I always found it hard to talk about infertility. In my previous very long term relationship we only ever glossed over it, and because I was afraid to push it, we never did anything about it. For all those “fertile” years I was with someone who didn’t really want kids, or wasn’t really bothered about them, or maybe did but we never managed to line up our communications properly to do anything about it.
The sad fact is that if you’re infertile, you aren’t able just not to think about it or “let things happen naturally”… because what happens naturally is… nothing. Which is exactly what happened for me for over a decade. I never got pregnant, despite being in a situation where I could have got pregnant. And anyway, we didn’t even reach the level of communication where we moved to not-trying… We didn’t even not-try. Despite being in a really long term committed relationship, we never really talked about it. And I think I wanted someone who, after my operations (to fix various fertility related problems) would pick me up, hold me and say We are in this together and we will sort this out.
Fast forward a few years. I was single for a bit, and then I met this guy. A guy who wasn’t afraid at all to say that: We are in this together and we will sort this out. His first reaction on being told I couldn’t have babies: We’ll have IVF. We were never afraid to speak our minds and our emotions to each other. When I met him I had nothing to lose because I’d already lost it. And nothing is a problem that can’t be overcome. We have all sorts of other random things in common; we understand what it is to be adopted, to have no biological relations in our family. We understand what it is to want that. And so we’re going to give it our best shot.
Infertility isn’t all we are. I’m a real life person outside of this blog; it just so happens that this is a safe place for me to talk about this stuff, whereas in real life I tend more towards dogs and food. Maybe some of that will creep in to the blog, but I’m pretty bad at photography! I work full time in a job that’s very demanding and make the best of things outside of crazy work days. Apart from the infertility stuff and the sometimes overwhelming job stuff, I’m generally very happy. (Too happy, too over-indulged when it comes to chocolate!) I think life is definitely better when you have a dog (mine is possibly the most spoiled in the world) and a partner-in-crime (mine is possibly the most tolerant in the world!).
As part of this infertility journey I’ve been thinking a lot about my own origins. I was transracially adopted as a baby, and I’ve always been quite open about it, and I think generally I’ve had a happy life. So I’ve increasingly blogged about that too, in a bid to make sense of my feelings around that. I think with adoption you have different feelings about it at different times of your life, or at least I have done. I really love my [adoptive] family and I’ve never searched for my [biological] family – although I do think there is something strange about never knowing anyone to whom you’re genetically related. I guess that’s why it’s something I think about more during this journey.
I don’t know where this journey is going to end up, and whether we’ll end up with a baby or not. Maybe we won’t. I’m not getting my hopes up. We are very happy as a couple, and with Dog, so I’m not complaining. We’re very conscious of the fact that we live in a country (UK) where people are actually supported to get pregnant in the case of infertility. I’m aware that some of my fellow bloggers overseas are having to pour life savings into IVF and fertility treatments, and that is really stressful. I’m grateful we get this chance (or a few chances) and if they don’t work then we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
I hope that whoever reads my blog can find something interesting in it, even if a large proportion of it is random bletherings of a confused mind! I’m not going to change the world, but I think it’s helped me understand more about possibilities and feelings by reading other people’s blogs, and I hope that one or two of you enjoy reading mine.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, or drop me a line if you’d like to chat privately…