By Guest Blogger Emily (@gettingabunintheoven)
Before our very first appointment with our baby-making specialist we promised each other that our lives wouldn't revolve around trying to make a baby. We won't be consumed by it, we said, we will live our life like we always have and this will just be part of it. Fertility treatment will fit into our life, we won't fit into infertility.
Naivety was bliss.
You don't fit fertility treatment into your life. Fertility treatment is your life. Not because you want it to be, you don't choose it. Find me a woman who is over the moon about going through the hellish path that is fertility treatment with joy in her heart and a skip in her step because she's stoked about being infertile and I will dance naked in the rain.
Fertility treatment is all consuming because it has to be. If you want to be a mother, and for whatever reason your path is the same as mine, then you have to let it consume you, be your life and embrace it regardless of what you are missing out on. And boy do you miss out. Everything changes. You, your relationship, your friendships, your lifestyle, your whole life. Changed.
You will change. This one I can promise you. If you're a moody cow like I am then that won't change much, it'll get worse but that's only a problem for those around you (so don't even worry about that one). Your body will change.
I think the main thing that has changed for me is how I now see things; suddenly something that was once so important loses its value, the little things that would once stress me out float by me without a second thought. I’m a different person these days. I don’t care for small dramas, meaningless stressors or irrelevant things. I was once a social butterfly, out and about, nights out with friends dancing like I was Beyoncé (thanks to many Malibu and Cokes), brunching and lunching with our friends. At the moment I need to make plans in advance so that I can schedule medications, appointments and to make sure I have enough energy to make it out of the house.
My lifestyle has completely shifted from free as a bird to "oh sorry I have appointment/procedure/injections/no energy today" and not everyone understands.
This brings me to friendships. Ohh, my fellow infertility friend, this one is the truest. For me I didn’t think any of my friendships would change, I am surrounded by an intimate yet diverse group of friends. I believe in quality over quantity, and I have, like most people in their thirties, lost some friends over the years. Mostly because our lives have gone in different directions and we have drifted apart, some because the friendship brought no joy to my life anymore and it was time to move on. My friendships are loyal, truthful and full of laughter. But they have changed.
Throughout each cycle I am physically exhausted. With two miscarriages under my belt in the last three months my body has taken a bit of a beating, as has my mind and heart, which means that I am definitely not the greatest friend to many at the moment. I don’t go out nearly as much as I used too, or get invited out nearly as much. Catching up generally means a phone call or sitting on my lounge together drinking coffee and watching reality TV, and even then I find it had to stay in the moment and concentrate on a conversation.
I am not up to speed with what is happening in my friend’s life and often hear myself saying ‘oh I didn’t know that’ or ‘you went on a Tinder date and I don’t know??’ Don’t get me wrong, I know the big stuff, but it’s the small things I want to be part of too.
Occasionally I sit and think about how they have changed, but it makes me too sad so I can’t dwell on it. I can’t change it. Over time, I hope that my friendships will reflect my current lifestyle a little more, that friends will truly understand the physical, emotional and mental anguish I go through daily. It’s a choice I have come to terms with.
My choice is simple; starting a family. Which means I have to choose not to be the friend I used to be. But hey, give me the chance and you might find out that with my new perspective on life, I’m an even better friend than I used to be.
I force myself to understand that these friendships are built on solid foundations of time, love and loyalty; so seeing each other often does not equate to better friendships. Quality over quantity. When all this is over, and I am not always tired, hormonal and … oh wait, I’ll be pregnant…ok, so, for the foreseeable future my friendships will be this way and I am ok with that because sometimes in life you have to make the most of a shitty situation.
Your relationship will change, no matter how much you will it not to, no matter how much you talk it over before you start and promise each other it won't. It will. If you're like my old ball and chain and I, then it will change dramatically, quickly and in a blink of an eye. If you're like us, it will change for the better. My live-in-lover and I genuinely thought that we wouldn't change, but we have. I love this man more now than I did six months ago when we were a happy, carefree couple going for spontaneous date nights, drinking with friends into the night and living what we now know was a pretty stress-free lifestyle.
Cue to us on the couch every night making the toughest decisions either of us have ever had to make, too tired, too emotional, too over everything to know if we are making the right ones. Gone are the days that he comes home from work and I have ‘spruced’ myself up for him in the hopes of getting lucky with some afternoon delight just for the hell of it, oh no .. Oh no! Sex is now on a very strict time schedule which becomes more like a chore than either of us would like to admit.
I love him more, because behind closed doors when I let my guard down and stop pretending that fertility treatment is a breeze and I'm truly petrified, he is right next to me. I love him more because he has lost two pregnancies just like I have, I love him more because when the chips are down and the world feels like it's against us and I don't want to leave the house he says 'fuck the world, let's pull the mattress into the lounge room and order pizza and pretend it's room service'.
I love him more than I did six months ago, because he desperately wants to be a father, as much as I do a mother, and he chose to walk this path with me to get there, even though he is choosing a woman who was infertile and a path that trips you up every second step. He chose me.
Don't get me wrong, he annoys the crap out of me too - he's no saint, he leaves the toilet seat up, he wears earplugs to bed that inevitably fall out and I wake up with one stuck to my cheek, he sneezes 10 times in a row, he believes he is funnier than me and sometimes he bites his nails...and then chews on it!? I mean, is he an animal? But hey, he was doing those things long before we jumped on the fertility bandwagon so that hasn't changed.
If you are about to start fertility treatment and you are promising each other, your friends and anyone who will listen that things won’t change, stop it right now. Everything is about to change.
Your world will change. Some changes are going to be hard to handle, sad to come to terms with and frustrating as hell. But, I promise you this; when you see two little lines on that home pregnancy test you just peed on, you won’t be phased in the slightest with how your world has changed.
Despite my partner and I having two miscarriages this year, and still waiting to fall pregnant again, I get up, inject myself and say ‘fuck you’ to the world because seeing those two lines is the most amazing feeling I have ever had and I will do anything I have to do, put my body and my heart through whatever I need to, just to see those two little lines again.