The best way to cut a mango, this is what you would see in my browser history today but this time last year it was a very different story. You would have found multiple windows searching for the side effects of the myriad of fertility drugs that I was on. Side effects such as one drug which states it can increase stomach fat whilst at the same time shrinking your boobs, which is obviously the perfect combo that all women wish for. When you are already feeling particularly vulnerable, sad and useless reading things like this are just the icing on the pathetic cake.
I have agonised over writing about this part of my life for so long. I think it is something that needs to be spoken about far more as it can be a lonely and very hard time for people and I always intended to but I was waiting for my ‘happy ending’. The type of ending we are engendered to get. The yes it was a struggle but I overcame it type of ending. Well after eight rounds of IVF stims, we didn’t get the type of happy ending expected but if I am completely honest I am very happy in many ways. We have Maya, she is the most amazing little girl ever. She is kind, funny, loving, smart, sweet and gorgeous and I feel incredibly lucky to be her mum. But I feel incredibly pathetic and sorry that I can’t give her a sibling, I know she would love a little sister or brother, to be honest this and knowing Warren would love another child are the main reason I am so, so sad about all this. Yes I would love another child, we’ve tried for over 5 years, but I am also pretty content with my lot in many ways. Yet all this doesn’t make me not have moments of utter sadness and dejection. They can happen at the weirdest time too and also at times that are more normal. Like when you see another pregnancy or birth announcement on social media and the hot tears stream down your face and you are gulping for air and it just happens out of the blue. It’s not every photo or announcement, I suppose it’s just a type of grieving in a way. Grieving for something you thought would happen. Alos just because I am sad for me doesn’t mean I am not happy for these other people. We were so lucky with Maya, we decided to start trying for a baby and it literally happened the first time we tried. We had a big trip planned to America including Las Vegas, so I was 7 weeks pregnant in Vegas, I was extremely tired and extremely happy. She was meant to be, of this I am incredibly sure. But this, I think lulled us into a false sense of security. We thought I may be just as easy the second time, boy were we wrong.
I have always lived a fairly healthy lifestyle. I have never smoked or do drugs. I don’t drink alcohol very often. I’m vegetarian and eat relatively healthily. I exercise regularly so I imagined this may contribute to it being easier rather than harder for us. Unfortunately none of this can combat mother nature, endometriosis and hormones. I have always had gynae issues, looking back I would have had endometriosis in my teens but it was just considered to be heavy periods. My Doctor told me that going on the pill was the only thing I could do. So I went on the pill which unfortunately doesn’t get rid of the endometriosis it just masks the pain. All the while this asshole issue is destroying your eggs. Did you know that? Endometriosis can literally grab on to the outside of your ovaries and destroy your eggs. The worst thing is the Gynaecologist who diagnosed and got rid of it did not tell me this, another amazing Doctor told me 5 years later. We were so lucky that after my original laparoscopy we decided to start trying a few months later, who knows how incredibly shitty the situation would be if we hadn’t. I feel endometriosis and gynae problems deserve their own large post so I will leave this here but the one thing it has left me with is that I will be telling Maya in her 20’s that as these issues are genetic she shouldn’t wait like I did just purely because the time wasn’t right, because let’s be honest the time will never be 100% right. I’m not going to actively encourage her to drop everything and do it but just that she should know her options or lack thereof!! I also think we should talk far more about this as a society. We are told how to not get pregnant enough but not really told anything about the flip side.
So we didn’t get the expected and longed for happy ending. One horrible thing with this is it is so hard to put a full stop on it. People tell you all the stories of the women they knew who stopped stressing and thinking about it and it just happened, here’s a piece of advice don’t do this; it doesn’t help it just makes the person you are telling feel even more pathetic for worrying so much and for not being that lucky statistic. If someone opens up and tells you about their fertility struggles be there for them, listen to them, hug them, hand them a tissue when they inevitably cry believe me these things will all help much more.
After our eight times trying IVF stims and all the disappointment which comes with this I am trying so hard not to hope too much. You start to get more pragmatic but the slightest glimmer of hope is there always. It is tinged with sadness, regret and sorrow but it is there and it makes it even harder. There is such a fine line between hope and hopelessness and many times it was the lack of a pink line on a pregnancy test! After about 25 negatives you give up doing those, who needs the extra stress. We didn’t jump straight to IVF of course it was after trying many other things including lifestyle changes such as giving up coffee, taking lots of supplements, increasing fat intake, doing less exercise and more. Getting acupuncture, Maya abdominal massages and many other things!
So there is no full on happy ending here, no complete acceptance of this being it either but I believe it is time to write this, time to let other women know they are not alone, time to let them know that feeling completely useless and pathetic is normal but at the end of the day it doesn’t help rather it hinders. Time to realise that we have Maya and we are very, very lucky. Time to forgive myself for something that ultimately I can do nothing about, time to know that I have tried, we have tried and time to be happy with what I have, what we have which is a small but perfect little family. Also time to know there will be wobbles and bumps in the road and definitely more unexpected tears but it will all be ok.
Emma Forsyth, Founder Pilates Plus Dublin