For some women and couples, the idea of getting pregnant is literally a no-brainer. Two weeks after a night of fun, out comes a positive pregnancy test from a Dollar Store.
To me, these very real stories always sounded like fairy tales. Downright fantastical.
After all, getting pregnant for me was always the opposite of a no-brainer. Instead, the process was fraught with a heavy dose of overthinking and a truckload of anxiety. I’ve birthed three wonderful children. But getting pregnant never came easy.
I never expected this to be the case. When I got married at the sweet age of 22, I thought I’d one day choose the birthday of my first born and draw a big, sexy heart on my planner exactly nine months before. I was a confused little lady.
My first two viable pregnancies were each, many months in the making. I temped, used expensive ovulation kits, had blood drawn daily at one point and even popped pills to get my slow ovaries working overtime. Making babies was never an exact nor predictable science for me. So, when my third pregnancy came along without barely trying, I was elated and told my family and friends the very moment I saw a plus sign on the pee test.
Little did I know that just 24 hours later, that faint cross would turn into a single line. It was a chemical pregnancy. Nature’s biggest tease. I got pregnant again right away. This time, my second miscarriage resulted from a blighted ovum. We watched a little sac grow over eight weeks, but nothing grew inside.
Only when my third viable pregnancy was well underway, did I begin to share my story of irregularity and double-whammy miscarriages with family and friends. I thought it cathartic. Most offered a listening ear. A few others seemed taken aback by my candor. Just a few weeks ago, along with Liat—we shared our pregnancy loss stories with our Momjo community. The response was overwhelming.
But throughout this process, a single question has come up in my mind.
WHY was I only talking about my battle with fertility issues AFTER I had three healthy children?
If during Infertility Awareness Week, women across the country shed a light on this all-too-common reality as we look to demystify it and support each other, why is it that during the rest of the year- we dare to share our struggles only if or after we’ve come out on top?
It is very clear to me that talking about pregnancy loss and infertility is still taboo-- and I helped to reinforce that.
There were two reasons why I chose to keep my fertility issues “in the d-l” is I struggled with them.
Firstly, I was terrified of what others may think. Would my friends who were going to the painful roller-coaster that is IVF think I was just whining? Would my fertile-myrtle friends think I was doing something wrong? Drinking too much? Not exercising enough?
And then there was an irrational, counter self-fulfilling prophecy. I was somehow convinced that the more I told others about my struggle, the less likely I’d be to overcome it.
So I kept mum during my wait to become a mom.
Thing is, I googled frantically: secondary infertility, chemical pregnancy, irregular ovulation.
I was desperate to read stories from women who were traveling down a similar path to mine and who hadn’t yet fallen pregnant. Every time I came across one of these rare stories, the women behind those words made me feel like I was not alone. I felt like a sister, somewhere in this world, knew the pain that uncertainty had unchained inside me.
Looking back, I wish I would’ve had the strength to join those courageous women in sharing that raw, terrifying chapter of their lives as it unfolded. Looking forward, as we try to help open up the conversation about infertility, I can say that your perspective changes quite a bit once you reach the finish line—so it is important, for a woman who can’t get pregnant, to hear from those who are still running the race.