Sunday, 8 May 2016


It surprised me how many infertility triggers are out there. I expected the “obvious” ones – pregnancy announcements on Facebook, baby pictures, holidays, anniversaries – to be triggers, and despite being prepared for them they are still a source of sadness, a reminder of what is missing from my life. I didn’t anticipate the less obvious triggers. The things that seem completely innocuous but cause me to bite my lip and fight back tears. Things that you wouldn’t think are triggering. Things that are only triggering to me.

Last night I started watching Captain America: The Winter Solider since I’m going to see the new Captain America movie today. I wasn’t sure if I had seen it before, but as I watched it I realized that I had. It took me awhile but I realized my husband and I went to see if the night before our wedding. We went with my brother-in-law, a cousin of my husband, and my sister and her fiancĂ©. My sister and I didn’t have a great relationship at that time. I wasn’t sure if we’d ever have a great relationship, but we were fine then. We are essentially estranged now. I had to stop watching the movie because I didn’t need the reminder of the horrible, hurtful and selfish things she said to me when I tried to open up to her about my infertility testing.

People don’t always know what to say to someone struggling with infertility. Many times they say the wrong things - you’ll have a baby on God’s time (why doesn’t God want me to have a baby now?), you can always adopt (because everyone has an extra $20,000-$60,000 lying around), you can take my kids (thanks, glad to know you’d give up your kids), have you tried x, y,z thing (my doctor has me on strong fertility drugs, but sure, just trying the position you suggested will definitely fix my infertility), just relax and it will happen (yup, I am definitely preventing myself from getting pregnant because I’m too stressed out) - and inadvertently hurt you. When your friend tells you that they are struggling with infertility, just listen. Say you are sorry for what they are going through and that your are there for them if they need to talk, or need a hug, or need to drink all the wine and rage at the universe, or just need to smash things. Even if you’ve never struggled to conceive, show empathy and be there for them.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Being infertile on Mother’s Day

Back when we started trying 16 cycles ago, I thought I’d get pregnant right away. My family is full of women that got pregnant easily so I had no reason to believe that I would be any different. Mother’s Day would have had me 12 weeks and I had already planned how to tell my parents. The baby would have been my parents first grandchild so I was going to send them a combined Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gift of mugs saying “World’s Best Grandma” and “World’s Best Grandpa” with an ultrasound picture. I didn’t get pregnant cycle 1, but there was always Father’s Day because I would for sure get pregnant cycle 2. I stopped planning announcements on cycle 8 when my OBGYN diagnosed me with infertility. Even then it never crossed my mind that I still wouldn’t even be pregnant the next time Mother’s Day rolled around.

I think the mothers in my life are amazing. They deserve a day to recognize how amazing they are. But getting through the past few weeks has been incredibly difficult. Everywhere I turn there are advertisements for Mother’s Day. “Show Mom some love by shopping our 30% off sale”, “Last minute Mother’s Day gifts”, “Buy a special gift for your Mom”, “Put Mom at the top of your list”. Social media is full of Mother’s Day things, including this new post going around my friends list: “Motherhood dare! (I accepted) I was nominated to post a picture that makes me happy/proud to be a mom... (only one picture) I'm going to tag some ladies whom I think are fabulous mothers (I know way too many to tag you all - sorry), and can rise up to the challenge of posting a pic of their own. If I've tagged you as one of the awesome moms, copy the text and paste it to your wall with a picture, and tag more moms! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY (soon) to each of you xoxoxo "I LOVE BEING A MOM and I love all of YOU”

Every single one is a small stab to my heart reminding me that I’m not a mother. Despite doing everything I possibly can to become a mom, I am not. 15 failed cycles, including 2 failed intrauterine inseminations, 3 different doctors, 8 doctor visits, countless blood tests, an HSG, a transvaginal ultrasound, an abdominal ultrasound, 3 monitoring ultrasounds, $1200 on fertility treatments, $600 on medications, a semen analysis, ovulation prediction tests, pregnancy tests, fertility charting app, basel body temperature thermometer, 3 books on charting your cycles and increasing the chances on conception, many research articles on fertility and infertility treatments,  almost 2 years of prenatal vitamins with DHA, extra B vitamins, extra vitamin C, extra vitamin D, baby aspirin, Coenzyme Q, vitamins for my husband, Preseed lubricant – all I see is a stark white pregnancy test. I don’t get to see my husband kiss and talk to my belly. I don’t get to hold his hand and look at wonder at an ultrasound showing us our baby. I don’t get to feel my baby grow inside me, feel my baby kick. I don’t get to hold my baby with my husband, look into their eyes and think “we made you”.

While you are celebrating tomorrow, while you are posting things like the above on Facebook, and even while you are struggling with a difficult pregnancy, a challenging toddler or a mouthy teenager, take a minute – just one – to think about your friends and family that want so desperately to be mothers too. The ones with no living children. The ones struggling, doing everything they can to conceive. They may not have shared their story with you, but with 1 in 6 Canadian couples struggling with infertility and 1 in 4 that have miscarried, they are the woman in front of you at the grocery check out, and the one sitting next to you on the bus, the coworker in the office down the hall, your neighbour, your cousin, your friend. They are struggling to get through tomorrow and they are wishing and hoping and praying with every they have that next year, next year will be the year that they are a mother too.