It’s not something I talk about a lot, but I had many months of infertility before my son was born. After going off the Pill and not getting a period for a few months, I went to a homeopath in the hope that she would get my body functioning again, and after more months of no ovulation or periods, I went to my gynae who diagnosed polycystic ovarian syndrome, and assured me that a laporoscopy would restore my cycles.
Eight months later, with still no periods and with hope lost that I would start functioning normally, let alone conceive naturally, I went to Vitalab fertility clinic, where I was met with exceptionally compassionate and professional doctors.
I was already in my early 30s, and while hindsight is always 20/20, I wish I had have spent my thousands of rands and had my ops elsewhere and left it to the experts. My gynae and homeopath were fantastic, but infertility is just around 5% of their jobs, whereas a fertility specialist deals with it 100%.
I seldom spoke about what I was going through – I was happier to say I was trying to fix my polycystic ovaries than speak about how I was trying to have a baby. Somehow, I felt less of a failure this way. I started reading infertility blogs and chatting on forums with other infertiles, which gave me huge insight into the hearts and battles of those trying to conceive.
At Vitalab, I had more routine tests, another laporoscopy and spent some more time in the trenches (relatively shorter than most) before I became pregnant.
I will never take pregnancy for granted, nor will my compassion ever wane for those still battling to be parents. Infertility is expensive, painful and puts everything to test, and while I’m no expert, if there’s something I’ve learnt through my own experience, through working on a parenting magazine, and doing some work for an egg donation company, it’s this:
– Don’t waste time! Seek an infertility specialist sooner rather than later.
– Secondary infertility is common – just because you’ve had one with ease, doesn’t mean you’ll have another with ease
– The older you get, the harder it is to conceive
– If you’ve been blessed with children, be empathetic with those who are still in the trenches. Understand that they might not want to go to baby showers, that they might not want to ogle over dozens of pics of your kids, and that they are often hurting. Also, don’t ever say to them “Relax – it will happen”, or “You can always adopt”, or “Perhaps you’re not meant to be a mom”. Infertility is hard enough without this.
– Find someone to speak to, whether it’s a therapist, or infertiles online. Infertility places strain on you as a woman, and as a couple. The forum fertilicare.org (http://fertilicare.org) is a brilliant place to start and you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Chatting to other women at the clinic and online gave me an invaluable “education” and support.
This post was sponsored by Vitalab