I have wanted a baby for as long as I can remember. Literally. I started babysitting at age 12 and was elated that I could begin “playing mom.” So, when I began TTC, I had no idea that it could take a long time. Or that it might not happen naturally for me.
You see, infertility is not a choice. If I am any indication, it seems that those who struggle to conceive want a baby so desperately that the medical diagnosis of Infertility seems cruel and ironic.
What happens next, after that diagnosis, it’s a choice.
A really really hard, really really complicated, really really shitty, really really hopeful choice that individuals and couples make every single day on whether to pursue fertility treatments. A choice that comes with feelings, emotions, conversations, financial and physical burdens, and one that is not guaranteed to be without heartbreak. From surgeries and procedures preparing the body to assisted reproductive technology and gestational surrogacy, the options within this choice and their feasibility looks different for everyone.
I remember meeting with my RE for the first time. I remember thinking, well, she knows what she’s talking about. If she’s suggesting these tests, we should do them. Then, afterwards, when she suggested a “treatment plan” in accordance with our diagnosis of Unexplained Infertility and the stipulations from our insurance, I agreed. For us, that meant starting with IUI - a financially and physically less draining, less invasive choice. And when this failed, we tried again. And again. And again.
Choosing to switch to IVF was just that. For me, it was knowing what we were getting into. It was knowing the challenges ahead. The financial strain. The physical discomfort. The time commitment. And the fears of the unknown. It was knowing these things, and choosing anyway. Knowing that my want to carry a baby superseded my feelings in any of the other areas, we charged ahead.
When the Esterase made me sick, I didn’t say anything. When the PIO hurt, I didn’t say anything. When our Embryo Transfer failed, I didn’t say anything. I chose this path, right? So I didn’t have any room to complain, right?
Yes, IVF was a choice. But IVF was a choice because of Infertility, which wasn’t. IVF was a choice, my choice, our choice, but it wasn’t something I actually wanted to do. I wanted to be intimate with my husband and then take a positive pregnancy test. But what I wanted wasn’t an option for me, and I had to process those feelings.
What I choose - IVF, wasn’t easy. It came with challenges and changes at every turn. Should I have said something? YES!!! Infertility treatment is HARD. IVF is HARD. Medications have side effects. Hormones change everything. Injections are painful. Nothing is guaranteed.
If you’re standing here right now, please please know you’re not alone. Please know that I think you should talk about it - with your partner or your friends or your family or in an online forum. You shouldn’t swallow the hard. The feelings. The exhaustion. The frustration. The devastation. It’s not fair. You didn’t choose this. You don’t deserve this. You are a badass warrior a thousand times over, but warriors have army’s for support. Warriors need army’s for support.
If your army is missing, I’m here. I’m ready to stand in for battle. I’m ready to support you.
And if you’re at the beginning of your infertility journey, struggling to conceive or thinking about treatment options, I created this self-guided Infertility Roadmap for you full of prompts and advice on planning out your action steps. Take a look. I think it’s going to be really helpful to you. <3
Much love, warriors.