Reflections On Barrenness

Posted in Infertility by

It feels weird to be blogging about infertility. I haven’t blogged about my infertility in a very long time. I guess I really am well and truly out of the infertility trenches. This morning I received a message, a cry for help from one of my infertility sisters. To an outsider, she is also an infertility sister that has left the trenches, she has a gorgeous little girl now.

But the thing is… for so many of us, leaving the infertility trenches can take years after that elusive baby has arrived in our lives. The thing with infertility is that it’s so all consuming that it freezes us in time and we neglect so many other area’s of our lives while desperately trying to claw our way out of the trenches of infertility. The long we stay in the trenches, the more destruction we may find when we finally climb out.

For me, I never really left the trenches until I had acknowledged and treated my deep depression and my marriage which lay in tatters. And this is not an uncommon occurrence for those of us who have been trapped in the trenches for an extended period. Remembering that infertility affects both partners, from my own experience and from watching from the sidelines of others climb out of the trenches, we often climb out and are faced with another obstacle to climb. Our lives in tatters after our time in the trenches.

Substance abuse, depression, PTSD, marital problems, stunted careers are all quite common  for couples who have spent any period of time in the trenches. Life goes on while we are trapped down there.

For us, our marriage was all but destroyed. In my single mindedness to have a baby, I had alienated my husband and hurt him in ways that took more than a year and extensive couples therapy for us to repair. I was also deeply depressed and battling with a level of PTSD which made it impossible for me to be a good wife or a good mother. I was too damaged from my time in the trenches.

Sometimes infertility can be so all consuming that it takes up all the space in our lives, to the detriment of those who love us, our spouses, our families, our friends. It’s only once we’re able to acknowledge that and fix the damage done, seek treatment for any lingering effects of our infertility that we can truly climb out of the trenches.

After Ava’s placement, I was convinced that I’d be living my happily ever after and I was shocked to discover that that was the furtherest thing from my new normal. In truth my life was hell, I’d swapped the hell of infertility for a new kind of hell… depression and a marriage all but destroyed.

I just really want to encourage all of you who may be climbing out of the trenches of infertility to find your lives in tatters to take courage, to acknowledge the far reaching effects of your infertility and to seek help. It’s the only way you can set yourself free from what has gone before.

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December 10, 2013
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9 Comments

  • Reply cupcakemummy

    You really are an inspirational mother, women, friend.
    I haven’t been through or had the experiences, in my case falling pregnant was what sent my life into an even darker downward spiral but I truly wish I was able to donate eggs for those who need them. Unfortunately because I am bipolar it’s apparently not an option but despite the hardships and struggles to bond with a child I actually carried in me for 7 months I wish for all those who are trying the best of luck and speedy placements. There is support for depression, you just need to admit that you need a little help. Even us mothers who carried our kids and had time to adjust to the idea of having a kid around go through it and there is no shame, you who adopt have an “instant baby” and I think that would be so much harder to cope with IMHO.

    December 10, 2013 at 9:41 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Yes, add to that 7 years of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss and I was a basket case. Depressed and forced to deal with all the heartache and pain I’d tried to brush over for the previous 7 years.

      December 10, 2013 at 9:43 am
      • Reply cupcakemummy

        But you made it through all of that. You picked up all the pieces. Scars heal, yes they’re still there, they don’t go away, but they are a constant reminder that you survived.

        December 10, 2013 at 9:50 am
        • Reply Sharon

          Yes I did. But I survived because I acknowledged the problem and I really want anyone else who may be struggling post infertility to know that it’s ok and quite normal and to get help.

          December 10, 2013 at 9:52 am
  • Reply Sian

    I am only really starting to ‘get back to my life’ now, and I still wonder if I am 100 percent there. The process of climbing out of that trench once you are on the other side is deeply personal, and I have realized that for me it will take time and a lot of reflection. I only recently realized just how angry and hurt I was and how that affected my life / my marriage / my career and my relationships. Its a process, and the scars will always be there…..they just heal over time….slowly.

    December 10, 2013 at 11:06 am
  • Reply reluctantmom

    Beautifully written post – well done Sharon

    December 10, 2013 at 11:29 am
  • Reply Julie

    Amen to that. Hands up to living half a life. Every single month of every single one of my married years (almost 18) has contained the words or thoughts “When I’m a mom, I’ll…” or “When we have kids, we’ll…” Well, hello, reality. All those things I never did? Still haven’t done them, seen them, learnt them, grown them, gone there, made them, or any alternative. No babies, no kids. Not a mom. Actually, I’m living a double life; the me that’s being the bolder, louder & more purposeful 40yr old woman, and the me that’s desperately trying NOT to be the pathetic desperately-longing-for-mommyhood woman I let myself be. Oh, for a magic rewind, delete, do-over button. Bleh. These things you can’t tell “regular” people, lol. Not lol, actually. Well done for getting the help you needed and working through things. x

    December 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm
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