They say infertility affects 1 in 10 couples, and that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Had you asked me several years ago, I would never have believed that I would be one of these statistics. Then again, most people start planning a family, believing that their dreams of having a baby may be superseded by early pregnancy loss and problems with infertility. Not only that, having been through now four miscarriages, it is the fear of potential loss that now haunts every new conception cycle, which has now become an all-consuming physical and emotional rollercoaster ride I cannot disembark from.
Why write about it? Many have asked me this question, wondering why I would want to continually bring so many hard and emotive memories back to the surface. Writing for me has always been a passion, an escape route from reality. At first, it was a journal, my personal self-help therapy, a translation of my feelings and experiences onto paper. I would never had assumed that I would have experienced four losses in a row, and before long, my small journal become an extensive piece of work, something I would periodically reopen at my greatest hours of need.
Initially I spoke to close family and friends of my experiences, and the rest remained on paper alone, but as time grew, I allowed myself more transparency with friends, colleagues and even acquaintances. It helped. Many would also open themselves up to me in return about their own private circumstances, different stories, and the challenges they had experienced in starting their own families.
Talking about the subject of infertility with candidness is uncomfortable. It sometimes makes others feel uncomfortable and perhaps unsure of how to respond. Nonetheless, I’m dealing with this ‘illness’ every day, and it can impact my work, my social life and my decisions for the future.
Many women are in similar situations to me and some have experienced challenges far worse. Therefore I’m encouraging us to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Let’s recognize infertility for what it is, it’s an illness; something people have to deal with, and work through. Like any illness, some find a way through it successfully, others need to reconcile that it is lifelong.
Regardless, opening up the channels of communication and support will be fundamental to helping women understand their own situation, and recognizing their choices early.
Photo credit: adapted from jasohill | Flickr