Guest Blogging Month-thank you to our guest blogger!
As we all know, the process of trying to conceive revolves around the female’s menstrual cycle. This cycle begins with a period, followed by ovulation and then the “2ww,” or two week wait, when implantation may or may not occur. For couples who are facing infertility, the cycle becomes more than “menstrual.” It becomes a cycle of emotion and, unfortunately, grief. My husband and I began our journey three and a half years ago. We became pregnant the first month of trying to conceive. Sadly, we had an early miscarriage at 7 weeks. We mourned the loss of the little seed, of the dreams we had already begun dreaming about him or her, and moved forward. Surely, we could expect to easily conceive again, right?
For whatever reason, we were not able to conceive as easily as we’d hoped. We’ve been trying since then to achieve a pregnancy. Each month that a new cycle has started has been like reliving the miscarriage in some small way. There is anger, sadness, guilt hopelessness and desperation during the first day of a new period. There is a sense of failure and inadequacy. This is the most basic human function, right? I mean isn’t this what women are supposed to do? Then, I feel guilty for having these thoughts when I have been blessed with so much good in my life. Then, as the hormones start to even out and a new ovulation date lingers in the future, a renewed sense of hope settles in my heart. During this time, I’m constantly preparing and calculating when the most opportune time will present. When ovulation is near begins the ritual of “baby dancing (BD).” There is a delicate balance between letting my husband know that we have an agenda to fulfill without putting any extra pressure on him. I never thought I’d have to coerce my husband into intimacy! After ovulation, I analyze the dates that we BD’d and wonder if we timed things just right… For the first week after ovulation, I feel confident that this was the month for our miracle to happen, but as the end of the two week wait draws nearer, the hormones start to swing again and I begin to lose a little bit of hope… a slight backache, a bit of moodiness, a touch of fatigue, and I’m sure that a period is looming. Still, there is still a small flame of hope because after all pregnancy symptoms and P.M.S. symptoms can be very similar. Eventually one morning, the unmistakeable sign of another failed attempt presents and the cycle begins again.
It’s amazing how such an exciting journey in a couples life, one that should be filled with anticipation and joy, can become so difficult. Statistics will tell you that one in six couples struggle with infertility, but when it’s happening to you, it is still a very lonely road to travel. It seems that everyone around you becomes pregnant so easily. You have countless baby showers for the women in your life. You watch them transform into mothers and you begin to feel like you are always peering into the windows of a magical place that you are not permitted to enter. Month after month, this cycle continues. Time after time, you are forced to admit failure. Loved ones tell you that as soon as you give up and let go, it will happen. That’s probably really great advice, but it’s much easier said than done. I’ve never been an obsessive person, but I know that it is so difficult to let go of all of the dreams and emotions attached to motherhood. So, both grief and infertility come in cycles. It’s tough because the cycle is so short, it is really an emotional rollercoaster. You’re constantly cycling through the denial, anger, bargaining, accepting, etc., in less than 30 days in tiring. I don’t know, maybe one day you just wake up and the cycle is broken. You’re either pregnant or somehow you learn to give up and let go…