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Challenge: Infertility


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Dylan, thank you so much for putting yourself out there in this piece. I am a nurse practitioner at a large medical center in Philadelphia, and you hit the nail on the head when you said you had to put the smile on and proceed with the day "because that is what we do" . Being in the medical profession, and specifically in cardiology, I have to put myself out there to be the strength for my patients and put myself last. I have to be the leader of hope and help my patients through their pain, while masking my own from both them and my colleagues. I am the proud mother of a 2.5 year old. I had gotten pregnant and had my baby while watching your little bundle of joy come to the world. My journey to my little one took 2 years to make. I had been diagnosed with PCOS. I felt betrayed, like someone "should have told me about this" maybe I wouldn't have "waited so long" until I was 30 to have a child, like somehow there was something "I" could have or should have done to prevent this. And I had one week in my life, that I will never forget. When I was waiting for my pregnancy test and then got my period, on that week I had found out one of my best friends was having twins on her 3rd pregnancy, my other girlfriend was pregnant with her 3rd child and my sister got pregnant with her second child...all within a 7 day stretch. I felt completely defeated and mad at myself for feeling like I should be happy for them but unable to muster the emotion to. My little guy did come though. And he came on his own terms when we had taken a break from infertility meds because I couldn't take the ache anymore. I to this day cannot understand as a medical professional how he came. To me, he is divine and meant to be. We named him a name that means light and warrior because he was the light at the end of the tunnel. And all during the process, I kept thinking of the Bob Marley quote, "light up the darkness" . Now we are trying for a second child and I am experiencing emotions that I didn't before. GUILT. I feel guilty for wanting another child, I feel guilty for feeling like somehow I am being "ungrateful" for what I received in life. I am worried that what if a procedure goes wrong , I have a real live child to live for and what would he think If I wasn't here anymore. I feel guilt for allowing my thoughts to be consumed again by these emotions because I should just be able to compartmentalize and move on. And I feel guilty for the potential mourning my mind and body will do if it doesn't work out. I recently went to the doctor this week and like you, they are steering me to IVF. They stated the stats after 4 failed rounds of meds plus IUI are not great and logically I know this is the next step. The cost associated with IVF is high and I feel guilty for saying "are we prepared to spend 10,000 plus dollars on this?" . I am surprised by how this is making me feel because when we were having my son I said to myself if it doesn't happen naturally for a second "it's just not meant to be". But now that I am in that moment it is hard to believe that is true. I am a Catholic woman and I am fearful that somehow I am disturbing what is " meant to be " by doing this man-made process. But also think what if this is what I need to do to gain a divine gift ? These emotions are more complex and we have made a decision as a couple that we likely won't try more than 2 rounds of IVF. I know this is likely my last shot and if it doesn't work then I have to accept that this phase of my life is over and live for my son. And I feel guilty for feeling sad about that. The thing with infertility is that it is hard to white knuckle, grin, and bear it. It will eventually catch up and end in tears driving to the food store, or just general mood changes. I am grateful you are talking about this and your reference to guilt in your piece spoke to me. I will be watching your journey as I go through mine in parallel and maybe a tribe of us women, the 1 in every 8, can light up the darkness together

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