What Infertility Really Felt Like

Image adapted via Flickr/ Simone Martis – 4morixeddu

When my husband and I decided to move forward and add a fourth child to our family, we knew it wasn't going to be easy. We had thought long and hard about the decision, taking a year before we felt comfortable with the stress that comes with trying to conceive. With our history of miscarriage, we thought we understood how difficult the process was going to be, but never did we anticipate just how challenging it was really going to be. 

I never anticipated that on top of the fear and anxiety of wondering if I could hold on to a pregnancy that we would also have to deal with the fear that we may not be able to conceive at all. It was like adding more flame to the fire – making something that’s already complicated even more so and it’s deeper than just not having pregnancy happen on my own timetable. 

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I admit that when my husband and I decided to try conceiving baby #4, I had a time frame I wanted it all to happen in. I am a planner—a type-A personality—but I also knew that sometimes life doesn't work the way we want it to. Having 12 miscarriages will teach you that pretty quickly. I honestly thought that we weren't going to have any issues. I had all the medication and tools we needed to help ensure we had a “sticky” pregnancy, so I was confident—for the first time—my timetable was going to happen.

Six months later, I was still waiting.

Eight months later, waiting still.

I was broken. Really. I felt not only broken in spirit, but my body was clearly broken. I already had a negative view when it came to the natural process of pregnancy since my body had let me down in holding onto a pregnancy, but there I was, faced with another letdown of my body just not working like it was supposed to.

I don't know why, but my infertility embarrassed me. It certainly shouldn't be an embarrassing topic, but I felt that way. I was embarrassed that I couldn't get pregnant. I was embarrassed that I had trouble staying pregnant, and I was embarrassed that I was struggling to conceive my fourth child. Even now, I am embarrassed to share that infertility embarrassed me. 

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My embarrassment went beyond the anger in having to fend off the “Why do you want another baby when you have three kids already?” questions I received due to secondary infertility and needing to discuss over and over again each month that I wasn't pregnant yet.

Infertility felt like an embarrassing failure by my body. It felt isolating. It felt confusing. It felt angry. It felt like a sadness I didn't know. It felt like no one would understand.

In the 18 months that I battled with infertility medication, timing ovulation, doctor appointments, and everyday hurt, I connected with other women and families who were struggling like me. Talking to them about their feelings, fears, anger, and embarrassment helped me. It helped so much to know that I wasn't alone—that I wasn't broken.


Because infertility certainly made me feel broken. 

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What Infertility Really Felt Like

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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