I wish someone had better explained to me that getting pregnant isn’t always easy.
My naïve perspective on conception was our bodies simply do what nature intends them to do without hesitation or question. How wrong I was…
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d find myself mulling over adoption pamphlets or attempting to view full profiles of egg donors. After years of carefully avoiding conception, I assumed once I was ready, things would happen naturally. When months turned into years of negative pregnancy tests, I found myself attempting to move forward and overcome a kaleidoscope of emotions.
It would be lovely if accepting infertility was simple. However, coming to terms with your struggle to have a child takes time, patience, and support.
Learning What It Means to Be Infertile
There’s a misguided remark often used to ‘calm down’ unknowingly infertile women: “You need just to relax, and let it happen.”
However, this isn’t always the solution.
After a year of trying to ‘relax’ and get pregnant, I realized I needed help. I’d been tracking my cycles, taking my temperature, and fruitlessly peeing on sticks. During this period, I never once saw a positive pregnancy test.
When I went to see my gynecologist, she ran a collection of tests. These included blood work and transvaginal ultrasounds. The results weren’t good. The quality of my eggs was greatly diminished, and using them to get pregnant naturally was no longer an option.
I yearned for the opportunity to have my own genetic child and attempted IVF. Despite my doctor’s best efforts, my eggs just weren’t up to the challenge. He gave me the news I’d been fearing; my eggs weren’t viable for pregnancy.
Sitting inside my doctor’s sterile office, my head began to spin. How was I supposed to move forward from a moment like this?
Coming to Terms with My Diagnosis
My doctor was clear at the end of my appointment—there were still ways for my husband and me to have a child. He believed I was a good candidate for egg donation and suggested this option as an alternative path.
I wasn’t there yet, though. I wish I could say I leaped right into trying to have a baby through donor egg IVF… but mentally, I needed time.
In the months after learning my eggs were unviable, I found myself working through a traditional cycle of grief, including:
At first, I fought against these. I’d always considered myself to be a mentally healthy person and couldn’t put my finger on how I was feeling. Once I finally realized what I was going through, however, I decided the only way out was through.
To overcome my negative feelings about infertility, I forced myself to work through them. I let each of my emotions wash over me in waves. I leaned on my husband, family, and friends for support. When the going got rough, I even found myself pouring my heart out to a specialized infertility counselor.
She assured me my feelings were normal and gave me tips on dealing with them. Mediation and yoga became a part of my routine, along with a healthy diet and some much-needed me-time. With time and effort, I finally came around to the final stage of grief: acceptance.
Becoming the Mother I’d Dreamt of Being
Once I’d allowed myself the time to grieve the sense of loss my diagnosis had given me, I finally felt ready to continue on my fertility journey. With the help of frozen donor egg IVF, I became the mother of a gorgeous little girl.
I will never forget the moment they laid her into my arms for the first time. It was as if the magnitude of my struggle was suddenly nonexistent. It didn’t matter how I’d gotten to this place; all that mattered was I was finally there.
Throughout my infertility journey, the biggest takeaway was patience and care. If you’re struggling to get pregnant, please know you have options. Most importantly, though, be gentle to yourself and take as much time as you need.
There is no perfect timeline for conception. Just don’t forget to care of yourself in the process.