Unexplained Infertility – The Emotional Side
It’s fair to say it’s taken quite a while to decide if I wanted to publish this post. Very few people know of the difficulties we’ve had trying to conceive. Even less people know of our unexplained infertility diagnosis. Quite frankly, the fewer people (in my ‘inner circle’) who know about it the better.
But I started this blog to share (or just vent) my experiences of life and motherhood and well, that includes the things I don’t particularly feel an overwhelming urge to share. Honestly, it fills me with dread. But i decided to press the publish button because this is part of my life. It’s the part that causes me a lot of frustration and if I’m being really honest, a whole host of other emotions.
I know I’m not the only person experiencing ‘Unexplained Infertility’ and feeling this way. In fact, around one in four couple with fertility issues suffer unexplained infertility.
If sharing my thoughts and feelings helps someone else to feel less alone in this, then this blog is doing what it was intended for.
Unexplained infertility… What the hell is it anyway?
According to information I’ve been given from doctors and rather a lot of Google searches Unexplained Infertility is when no cause has been found for a couples inability to conceive. Although, being diagnosed as unexplained doesn’t mean you won’t get pregnant. In fact, those people are 50% more likely to fall pregnant within the first year of being diagnosed than couples with other fertility issues.
Obviously, we were not meant to be one of those couples.
But don’t take my word for it. There is some great info on the Fertility Network UK website.
A bit of background
Our journey of starting a family began around six years ago. But after the first 3 years of (very) actively trying and countless more prior to this not, not trying (I wasn’t great at remembering to take the pill), I started wondering if the universe was trying to tell us something. Maybe we were just not meant to have kids.
We took the standard route of seeing the GP and having further tests done to try to get to the bottom of the problem. But as each test came back normal, the more frustrated we felt.
Undiagnosed infertility left us without much to go on. The options were, we kept trying but the odds of conceiving were very slim so we could have been trying for years. All the while my biological clock would be ticking, and the chances of success would be slimming pretty quick. Or we go for some form of invasive medical intervention, IVF or IUI while my age meant the chances of success were good.
The emotional side
Now we have our little girl (after years of trying and failing to conceive naturally) I’d kind of put all of my thoughts and feelings on the whole infertility saga in a little box in the back of my mind and turned the key. After all, our treatment was successful and gave us our amazing little girl who is absolutely everything we ever wanted and more.
But just lately, that little locked box is rattling around. It’s not content with being locked away anymore. The reason being, we’re hoping to have another child to complete our brood.
All of those thoughts and feelings have slowly crept their way back in along with the desire for another child.
I’d say the most prominent emotion is frustration.
The thing is, we were never given a reason for our infertility. Oh sorry, I lie. Our “diagnosis” was – Unexplained Infertility. As my doctor kindly put it, it just doesn’t happen for some couples. GREAT!
No matter how many times a health professional tells me this, it doesn’t get any easier to accept.
I know our frustration stems from feeling helpless. All the tests we had come back normal. If we have no cause we have nothing to work with.
At least if it was down to a blocked fallopian tube or ‘hostile’ cervical mucus (yep that’s actually a thing, google it if you don’t believe me) or a hormone imbalance, we’d have something to work with.
Not knowing why is the single most frustrating thing about this.
You can’t fix something if you don’t understand how it’s broken.
A recent wave of frustration comes from a tiny seed of hope that was planted back in 2017 on the day we left the birth centre with our brand new baby. A midwife had warned us to use contraception as she knew of couples who’d had fertility treatment and then fell pregnant naturally after having a child.
I obviously clung to that statement far too tightly and now it’s biting me in the arse in the form of immense frustration. The miraculous recovery I was hoping for has pretty much dwindled into nothing. Two years later and not a single contraceptive pill in sight. I’m feeling gutted all over again that my body is letting me down. Which leads me onto…
To someone who’s had no problem conceiving, using the word betrayal in this context may seem quite dramatic. Let me tell you, from someone who has been unable to get pregnant naturally and, after many years of trying, still has no idea why. This word is perfect to describe how I feel about my body. My body isn’t doing what it’s supposed to be able to do & quite literally betraying me.
Anger & Resentment
It’s fair to say I’ve gained a fair bit of resentment towards the term unexplained infertility over the years. Or, is that resentment towards my own body? I don’t know.
And not just for me, but on behalf of all those couples around the world who have their shit together: Steady jobs, a loving relationship, a home, support from friends and family. But, who are not as lucky as we were. Who’ve had numerous rounds of IVF and spent thousands of pounds doing so and are still no further down the road?
I resent the fact that there are so many other people who don’t have their shit together. Who probably shouldn’t be bringing children into the world but seem to be able to pop them out like there’s no tomorrow.
Infertility isn’t fair and it makes no apologies for it.
I know I must sound unbelievably selfish. Here I am, having been one of the lucky ones but still complaining about not being able to get pregnant naturally. But that’s what having unexplained infertility does. It makes you feel betrayed by your own body. It makes you want answers. It makes you selfish. It makes you think there’s still hope your body will come good and do what it’s supposed to.
Sometimes I do sit quietly on my own, try to get out of my own head and gain some perspective.
We are incredibly lucky. Not just because our first round of treatment gave us our baby girl but also because it left us with more options. Options that some couples don’t have.
And honestly, I wouldn’t change a single thing. Going through the treatment and the emotions of this whole journey has made us so much stronger as a couple and a family unit. I’m so grateful for what we have. Our teenager (my niece) who has been with us for the last 5 years and makes us so proud every day & our crazy little toddler and my incredible partner of 12 years. Throughout everything, he’s been the pillar holding us both up.
Did I kind of hope whatever was causing our infertility would sort of right itself after pregnancy? Yep, I did. But I also truly believe that for whatever reason, this is how it was meant to be.
Whatever the future holds, in the end, I will have to make peace with our diagnosis. It’s not likely I’m going to get the answers I want so maybe I just need to accept it, as it is.
One thing is for certain, the journey isn’t over and we’re ready to face whatever may come.