For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mum. When I was just a little girl myself I would have dolls and teddy bears, they would each have a name, I would feed them, change them and play games with them. I’m told that this was I preparation for the day I myself would have a child and need these vital skills. I waited for this day as I grew up.
I went through the milestone birthdays and at around 12 years old started the journey to adulthood. Yes you guessed it, any woman will know you never forget the first period! The dreaded menstruation that they scare you about at school, with the video’s and the freebies, and the scary tutorial on how to fit a tampon.
I was scared but Mum reassured me it was natural and that one day I would be rewarded by having a family of my own, she said we all make sacrifices in life. This is one every woman makes. Teenage life went on relatively un hindered, apart from not always being able to swim or take part in PE classes, but then there was always a friend sat on the side lines with you, it was completely normal.
Over the school years you have sex education, warned about the perils of sex and teen pregnancy. But you also learn about the biology of life and the science in creating new life, however many complicated words and diagrams are used, it is still said to you that every woman will become a mother one day if she chooses.
So I went through life, I had terrible discomfort at menstruation, however the doctors said this was normal, at one point I was sent to a specialist. They said nothing apart from I would grow out of it. So into my late teens I went, still full of life’s great expectations.
Some years later I found my husband when I was 22 years old. We settled down and started trying for a family immediately. I was so upset when I was not pregnant straight away. I had friends that weren’t even trying who had gotten pregnant. I felt cheated. However in my life plan I had said that as long as I had two children by 26 years old I would be happy, this was definitely possible… or so I thought.
I wasn’t greedy I didn’t even mind if I had a girl or boy, I would be happy with what god graced us with.
After one year and 6 months of trying and no baby, we lost heart. I went to my local GP’s, I could sense something wrong. But when I went I was told it was normal for young couples to be trying over a year with no success. This to me did not sound right so I pushed and insisted we be referred.
It was a sad realisation that we as a couple would possibly have a problem completing our family. This did not happen as all women are born to be mothers. That is what was drilled into us from being young girls… The only time you would not have children is if you chose a life without them, but this was not choice and it was dawning on me that it meant more and more each failed month that went by.
It took another three months to finally receive the referral letters. My poor husband and I went to the hospital; we had been referred to an infertility specialist. A bit of a shock when the woman at the doctors said there was nothing wrong.
We were assured it is perfectly normal to take over a year or so get pregnant; at this point we were nearer the two year mark.
Both myself and my husband were sent for tests, we waited three months for the result, still no sign of pregnancy. The results came back, doctor said it was good news. My heart lifted as he said my husband’s tests were normal, then my heart sank just as quick, he said there were abnormalities with my results and I would need further tests and investigations but nothing to worry about.
Nothing to worry about!!! How can you not worry?!
This turned out to be the largest understatement; six months later I had undergone a HSG, a laparoscopy and had extensive tubal surgery which took over 3 hours in the operating room.
I remember the feeling when I came round from my surgery, the doctor came to see me, he showed me a picture of the work he had done and said he did everything he could, the rest was down to my body and luck.
Soon after the operation I was back up and running and filled with a renewed positivity. Three years after we started trying for a baby it felt almost like a reality, it was going to happen.
The doctor gave me a 35% chance of getting pregnant naturally within the first year of my operation.
We kept trying, and to keep me busy I organised a renewal of wedding vows, as we had been married in my husbands native country of Iraq we never had the white wedding of my dreams. In some way I felt once I’d had that the baby would come naturally. That is what happens isn’t it?
However a year went by, trying and constant tears every month as my period started.
I would feel it coming a few days before and would try to convince myself it was not my menstrual cycle and a possible pregnancy. That of course was sheer delusion. I keep thinking… my poor husband, I used to call him at work and just cry down the phone.
I got to the stage where I told my husband to leave me and find someone who could give him everything he deserved because I had let him down, I felt that I was a failure as a woman!
The months went by and only two appointments a year with our specialist on NHS meant that it was slow progress, if at all!
I still was not pregnant and it was getting difficult to get the motivation to try. It’s a hard place to be, empty with no hope, and no more to give.
The stark reality of our situation became clear when I was told that now my chances of getting pregnant naturally were less than 5%. The 5% would have been bad enough but to think less than, I started to try and work out statistics. I was driving myself mad.
I had gotten to the stage that I resented other women for getting pregnant, I worked in an office at the time and two of the women who I worked with both knew my plight, however felt it ok to say that if they got pregnant they would abort the child as they hated children. I would pretend that I hadn’t heard them and they cry when I got home, asking my husband why god made me like this and them so heartless and fertile!
I even started to secretly hate when friends and family got pregnant.
I had a friend who had also struggled to conceive and when she finally announced she was expecting, outwardly I was smiles, forced ones. In my mind I was thinking why her, why not me! That made me feel worse, I felt like an awful person and maybe that was the reason I was not gifted with a child.
I would look at people who had 5, or 6 children and think they were being greedy. I only wanted one!
I love documentaries and I was watching channel 4, it was a program called something like 6 boys wanting a girl. One woman said and I quote ‘ I would liken not being able to have a girl like not being able to have children atall’. This woman had 4 boys…. So in no way could she liken it to not being able to have children… at last count unless I am worse at maths than I thought, she had 4 very healthy children, only boys and not a girl.
We are on our 4th Year of treatments, and our only wish is to have a baby to complete our family.
If this round of infertility drugs fails this time, then the only way forward is IVF. I can only wait… there is no end in sight… However whatever slim chance of having our baby is, we will take it, we will not give up.
I began my journey feeling ashamed of being infertile, I was then angry about it, and I didn’t like the way people changed the way they treated you.
My friends who just had babies were very wary about letting me help, or hold their child. I felt like saying ‘I’m infertile not a danger to your child…’
Now I just concentrate on my husband and I as a couple and we both look forward to getting to the point where I can say I’m pregnant, we will be the happiest people alive.
If I were to meet anyone in our situation, it would be not to give up, however hard it gets, or upsetting. Appreciate eachother and take time out if it is getting too much, it doesn’t mean you have stopped wanting or trying… If anything it renews the want.
I nearly lost my husband by pushing him away, I had lost my self worth, it was only through him telling me every month that it is ok that I have gotten through it, although not as visibly upset as me every month, his heart also breaks.