It occurred to me that the interview format would be the best way to address the topic of what it’s like to be infertile (still) after medical intervention. And this is convenient because there are a few questions I’ve been dying to answer. So, I give you an interview with myself:
Me: What does it feel like to know that there are hundreds, no thousands, of women out there blogging about their infertility treatments and they want desperately NOT to become you?
Self: Well, it’s pretty intense to be honest. Who wants to believe that they might be someone’s worst nightmare?
Me: True, but you devoted 11 years, countless hours of research and reading, and tens of thousands of dollars out of your savings at leading edge “fertility” clinics, d’ya think they might appreciate all you’ve been through?
Self: Hey, don’t forget about the unconventional approaches from lighting candles, herbal remedies, acupuncture, and chiropractor visits (okay, I’m a little embarrassed about the fact that I thought aligning my spine would help direct better blood flow to my uterus) …
Me: Okay, so you’ve run the gauntlet and tried everything.
Self: Yes. I’m confident that I’ve left no stone unturned in trying to conceive. Our gametes and my uterus just refuse to cooperate.
Me: Ah, now I see why they don’t want to be you. Who wants to run the “gauntlet” and still end up with no pregnancies?
Self: My point exactly!
Me: So, are you getting any support from those in the infertility blogosphere?
Self: YES! Let me be clear. I’m new to this community and I know it takes time to get established. I’m heartened by early responses from women in all phases of infertility — some who are in the throes of treatment, two who are pregnant, a few who are now moms, and a few others who like me are coming2terms (get it?) with stepping off the infertility merry-go-round.
Me: So what are you concerned about?
Self: I’m concerned that some may write me off as inconsequential since I’m now longer hanging out at the “fertility” clinics. I hope that they realize that the infertility experience is something that we all share regardless of where we are on the continuum. The significance of learning that you can’t conceive on your own is not something you ever fully “get over.”
Me: Well, it sounds like you have something to contribute. It’s clear that the successful outcome for most people addressing infertility is becoming a parent — through successful IVF, donor gametes, or adoption — depending on their comfort level with the paths available. You’ve come to the end of the road with the level of child-producing options that you were emotionally and financially equipped to pursue. Is that right?
Self: Yes, but let me add, that doesn’t mean I still don’t wish our “fertility” treatment outcomes had been different. The best way to help others is with realistic and honest feedback, not false hope. Through my experience I hope to steel them for what may lie ahead. And I’m now realizing that by providing this different voice to other women it won’t have all been in vain.