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7 Years Post Infertility – What I’ve Learned….

It’s been just over 7 years since my struggle with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss ended. That journey, of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss lasted 7 years.

They say that it takes the same amount of time to recover from a trauma as the actual trauma.

Well here’s what I know for sure. I will never recover. I will never go back to who I was before infertility and RPL crushed me. I am forever changed by that experience. In so many ways, I am changed for the better but also for the worse.

7 years later and I can recognize who and what I was in the midst of that struggle because in some ways I still struggle with it. I was bitter and prickly. And in some ways today I still am. If you’ve never struggled with infertility, then this may be difficult to understand, but my infertility and RPL has robbed me of the ability to celebrate new life with abandon. There still is and probably always will be an element of pain to every pregnancy announcement. It still hurts me. I have to consciously remind myself that I have two children, the struggle is over, because whenever I read or see a pregnancy announcement, my first emotion is one of pain. They hurt my heart. And the emotion and my reaction is confusing to me because I definitely don’t want to have another baby, I am done, so very done with babies and yet pregnancy announcements still have the power to hurt me.

Infertility made me strong.

Because, even now, 7 years on, when I think back on all we went through, all the miscarriages, the devastation and grief, the pain and the loss, all the invasive and humiliating tests, the surgeries and the procedures, I don’t know how I got through it. There are still moments in my day to day life, where I am struck down with the shock of it all. How did I go through all of that, how did I survive all that. How did I face sticking needles in myself, daily, for weeks at a time and doing it willingly and with hope in my heart. How did my spirit survive that? How?

I will always wonder….

I’ve been a mother via adoption for more than 7 years now and yet, there are these startling moments that accost me, unexpectedly from time to time, when I can’t believe this happened to me.  There are moments in my life when this dawning occurs that take my breath away. That hurt. And leave me feeling…… lacking. The simplest things that so many women take fore-granted, I will never know. What it feels like when you baby moves in your belly for the first time? What it feels like to be heavily pregnant. What it feels like and all the emotions surrounding birth. What if feels like to breast feed and nourish you baby. Now I know a lot of women out there would want to tell me that all those things are not all that, but still I feel cheated on some levels because those were choices that were denied me. 

Friendships…

Will be destroyed and rebuilt through the complicated and painful emotions that surround infertility. On Saturday we attended a birthday party for my friend, Sam’s, son. Sam and I were extremely close during our shared infertility, but infertility based friendships become complicated when one of you crosses over. 

Through my infertility, I lost and gained so many friendships, it becomes a veritable minefield of pain and devastation, but with time, we all found our way back to each other and that is a very precious gift. 

The women I met through my infertility are the strongest chics I know. We supported each other, we fought with each other and we found our way back to each other, with a lot of time and healing.

The long and the short of it is, infertility is a level of pain you cannot begin to understand or imagine unless you’ve been through it. It will hurt every part of your life. 

You will heal from it, but you will never fully recover from it.

If you have a friend going through infertility, be kind, be gentle, be thoughtful and understand that your friends reaction is not a reflection on you, but a reflection of the deep, and misunderstood pain and trauma of her circumstance. 

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5 Comments

  • Reply Susan

    Great post Sharon. A friend and I were just discussing PTSD yesterday and how everyone that went through the hell of infertility suffers from it. I was just saying this weekend that 2,5 years after the birth of my daughter I feel like I am still trying to put myself back together. I am still trying to find the real me. I have been forever changed by our experience. It’s impossible to describe to anyone who hasn’t been through it themselves. While reading your post I had that tightness of heartache and tension in my chest that I always have when this subject comes up. Having friends still on the road and remembering what that feels like is utterly heartbreaking. It sucks to know that we’ll never recover. All that we can do is try to take the good out of it and go forward. I know that it made me stronger and I can now deal with things I never thought myself capable of, but I have also learnt that the depression and pain doesn’t disappear once you become a mother and is always just underneath the surface to catch you unawares.

    June 6, 2017 at 9:43 am
  • Reply Susann

    In the end it only matters that you survived – and that you have 2 beautiful daughters. The pain that will walk with you after an experience like infertility, may actually never really go away…but one day you will have grandkids that will adore you for the strong person you are.

    June 6, 2017 at 9:54 am
  • Reply sula1968

    Thank you for sharing. As an older mother I struggled to conceive at first and shared the journey with others TTC over 35, with the joy of conception and birth I carried great guilt feeling that it was not fair for those who were still trying. It doesn’t seem fair

    June 6, 2017 at 11:09 am
  • Reply Heather

    Big hugs Sharon xxx I think I went through a lot less than you did. I found distraction and getting busy with things helped/ helps. I only get jealous with second pregnancy announcements, that is more hard for me.

    June 6, 2017 at 6:57 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      I think pain is pain and grief is grief. It’s all relevant to the person experiencing it. xx

      June 6, 2017 at 8:14 pm

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