Are you there, universe? It’s me, an infertile woman

Are you there, universe? It’s me, an infertile woman

Infertility is all about biology– eggs fertilizing, embryos dividing, and blastocysts implanting. We mortals can do nothing to ensure that actually happens– we can try and even solicit all these wonderful health professionals to help us, but in the end, it is out of our control.

When it doesn’t happen and particularly when there are no medical reasons for why it’s not happening, we often look to the universe for answers.

Why is this not happening for me? What did I do to deserve this?

For me, this was one of the most challenging parts of my seven-year battle with infertility. When it didn’t happen the old-fashion way I asked, Why me? When it didn’t happen after medicated cycles and then IUIs I asked Why me? And then after my first failed IVF cycle, when it really hit me that I might never get to experience a pregnancy or have a genetic child, I took a moment to say, or more accurately cry, Why have I been chosen for this pain?

I was raised Catholic by immigrant parents. I went to Mass with my mom and siblings every Sunday and was taught that when I needed God’s help, all I had to do was ask.

Well, I did ask– a lot.

Seven years of praying, lighting candles and going to church for some answers and inspiration and all I got for so long was a big, fat NO!

I did a lot of soul-searching during those the long, dark years. I sought out the help of a counsellor and I read countless books on grief. Both of those helped me to continue to live my life in a world that celebrated all things baby and told me that being a mother was the most important thing I could do with my life.

But what I still struggled with was this idea of why certain people were “blessed” with babies and why I wasn’t.

This idea of the “haves” and the “have nots,” of what was “meant to be” and what wasn’t. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that certain people were “given” children, only to go on to abuse or hurt them. Surely these individuals were not deserving of children!

In time, I came to understand that life is random and often unfair. Someone else’s joy has nothing to do with my suffering and vice versa. My health does not depend on someone else’s disease, my happy childhood on their turbulent one, and so on.

Although that first failed IVF and the one after it were heart-breaking, the turning point for me was a failed adoption after five years of unsuccessful fertility treatments.

Though the outcome was not what I wanted, I truly had a moment that turned my life around.

After the shock wore off, I remember saying to myself, Your life is a gift. Don’t waste it being sad and angry all the time. Now that I knew the intricacies of human conception on such an intimate level, the fact that everything happened the way it was supposed to during MY conception, made me realize that I had so much to give outside of being a mother. I was meant to be on this planet and at the age of 35, I had a lot of life ahead of me.

For two years, I put all my energy into my work, my life as a wife, friend, daughter, and sister. I poured all my maternal energy into my students and my nieces and nephews. My husband and I travelled, visiting both the West and East coats of Canada, marvelling at the divine in the oceans and mountains and in our relationship. Only when we were both ready did we head back to the clinic, where we conceived a child, and then a year-and-a-half later, another one.

If you are in that spot right now– angry at the world, universe or some higher power, let me say that I know that feeling well.

You’re allowed to be mad and resentful. It’s a normal human response to what you’re going through. But if I could offer a bit of help, I would say not to stay there forever. There is a life you’re supposed to be living and I hope that it includes being a parent. But even if it doesn’t, I want you to know that you are meant to be here and that you have so much to give. Your existence is proof of that.

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