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.