This post is part of our ‘Fertility Family series’, which will feature a different Fertility Authors take a topic once a month. It’s like our “employee of the month” but less “of the employee”. 🙂 Anne-Marie is the blogging author at BabiesPlease. We love her work as she writes from the heart..
Everybody who attends a fertility clinic is there for a reason, everyone has a past, a story, a barrel full of emotions that surrounds the whole area of infertility and baby loss. We are all there for the same reason… we all want to get pregnant and have a healthy baby, even though everyone’s journey which led them to the fertility clinic is different and unique to them.
When I first started attending a fertility clinic I’d had a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy and then suffered the heart breaking news that my husband was infertile…. I expected compassion, I expected that my story would be listened to, I expected empathy….. I expected too much.
It’s only in the past year that I have come to realise that the Dr.s who work in fertility clinics are the same as any other medical professional. They work on facts and tests and results and numbers, emotion doesn’t really feature in the work that they do.
I really wish that I had realised this before I started attending our first fertility clinic, it would have made the whole process a lot easier for me. I wouldn’t have been expecting that compassion, and this in turn, would have saved me from the hurt and frustration that I continually felt when any emotion from me was met with uncomfortable silence and exchanged looks between the medical professionals.
This realisation only came for me after almost 3 years of ICSI treatment and the loss of ten babies. I broke down in tears in front of a Dr. because we were talking about our fertility history to date. She met my emotion with a prescription for antidepressants, explaining it away as PMS and ‘weepiness’ that ‘just isn’t normal’.
It is for this reason that I have come to describe fertility clinics as ‘fertility factories’ and ‘conveyor-belt clinics’. We are there to go through a process, albeit a process that is jam packed full of emotional roller coasters and uncertainty, but it is a medical process and we must hop on the conveyor belt as we go through scans and injections and stimulations and egg collections and transfers and testing and Beta hCGs, with no guarantee that the cycle will continue beyond any one of these stages.
We really would want to be made of stone to completely be able to separate our emotions from this process, but unfortunately, it seems that is what we are expected to do.
I found that I began to create my own emotional support network. This was difficult because I found it very hard to talk about what I was feeling, but I could write about it… and hence my blog which started out as a very factual day-by-day breakdown of the IVF process became an open book with in-depth insight into the emotional turmoil that I was experiencing while riding this conveyor belt. I found acupuncture very instrumental in allowing me to clarify my emotions and feelings, it helped me to bring certain emotions to the surface, many times these were emotions that had been hidden and suppressed. I had locked them away. The majority of my emotional blog posts were written after returning from an acupuncture session…. I still struggled to talk about it, but gosh… the words just flowed and flowed when I began to write. I always found that once I had gotten the words out there, I always began to feel better.
After I had this realisation, I would find myself telling myself ‘I am so going to write about this later’ any time I felt that I wasn’t being sufficiently empathised with during a visit to the fertility clinic. After one particularly stone-faced appointment, I remember not being able to wait to get home so that I could ‘blog the hell out of this experience’.
Writing was, and still is my emotional outlet… whether it was posting to my blog or sending long, venting emails to the only friend that I knew would understand, it got me through each step of the process.
The advice I would give to anyone who is embarking on or is already on this conveyor belt would be to find your emotional outlet, because the endless extremes of emotion that you will experience on this journey will affect you a lot more than any of the facts or numbers or the physical process. Your skin will heal from the injections, your body will heal from the hormones, the pain of the procedures will ease and eventually go away completely, but while your head and heart may never heal from the loss or struggle that you have experienced, unless you find a way to channel your emotions and create an outlet that works for you, you will find that every time you step inside the fertility clinic you will become more and more resentful of what has gotten you to that point.
If you would like to write for our ‘Fertility Family Series’ we’d love to hear from you…… 🙂 Thanks Anne-Marie….