Baby mania and the pain of infertility

First published March 2018

This week, The Project on TV Three have been highlighting the often difficult emotions that surround fertility. While the world goes gaga over baby news with Jacinda Ardern and Kate Middleton’s pregnancies front and centre, it can be an extremely difficult time for those with fertility issues or those that have experienced the loss of a baby. Presenters and guests such as Jay-Jay Harvey, have been sharing their own heartfelt stories about fertility struggles.

The strain of infertility

Fertility issues are surprisingly common. Surprising because it never seems to get the attention that it deserves. Couples are slogging their way through fertility investigations and treatments often with only themselves to lean upon. The pressure can strain relationships to breaking point and beyond.

The simple act of taking a pregnancy test for a couple who have been trying to conceive for an extended period of time can become the be-all-and-end-all to yet another month of disappointment. You stare at that pee stick, willing something, anything, to show up so you have a glimmer of hope to hang on to. And when nothing appears, you take another test, just to be sure.

Baby news

The mere fact that you’re trying to conceive means that you are hyper-aware of all baby news. There will seem to be more pregnant mums or baby strollers at the supermarket than ever before. Pregnancy announcements come thick and fast and the arrival of a baby shower invite can make you feel like you’re failing that pregnancy test all over again.

I returned to work after we lost our first baby, following years of attempts to conceive and fertility investigations. I just wanted to get back to normality and move on. A short while after returning, a colleague gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and brought him along to the office to share cuddles with friends and workmates. It only took the sound of one short wail before I retreated out the back door and into the bathrooms to hide from the world, at the same time feeling guilty that I had somehow detracted from her joy. I never saw the baby. I was however blessed to see friends who realised what my absence meant and came to console me – of course leading to more guilt that I was bringing everyone down! The baby’s mum apologised but I did not blame her. I just couldn’t be there, in that moment.

Behind closed doors

That’s what we do. We hide our emotions for fear of others feeling awkward or uncomfortable around our grief, sadness and frustration. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Many people are sharing their #mybaby stories with The Project team, revealing to others the pain, longing and desperation that we experience in trying to bring a baby into this world. Hopefully this will enable the topic to become more familiar and increase awareness.

Share your fertility story with others in the comments below.

This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.

5 Comments

  1. kymmage 30/03/2018 at 11:21 pm

    I was trying to conceive at the same time as a dear friend. When I got pregnant, I thought of her immediately. I wanted so much for her baby dreams to come true as well, and having to tell her that I was pregnant was really difficult because I knew that while she’d be happy for me, it would be very hard for her to hear. I wanted to give her as much space as she needed, because I knew if the shoe was on the other foot I would have needed it. Things worked out for her, after a long journey and she has a beautiful family now. But when you want something so much, it is awful watching those around you get that very thing.

  2. MuddledUpMolly 08/03/2018 at 2:36 pm

    I am so blessed to have my little girl, with no infertility issues so far but my heart breaks for friends and family who suffer from infertility and the negative effects upon their relationships, emotional wellbeing and life. I commend The Project for running the week of stories on infertility. I watched each night and I thought it was fantastic to see the different stories and to have real people highlighting an issue which is steadily becoming more common for more and more people.

  3. Bevik1971 05/03/2018 at 4:18 pm

    I was 41 when I finally got pregnant with our now 5 year old daughter, however it took around 3 years to conceive (naturally). As my hubby and I didn’t get together until we were 37 we really left kids a bit late (I have a 24 yr old from a previous relationship). We would both love more children, however we are now just too old – I did get pregnant in 2015 at 43 but sadly we miscarried and ended up hemorrhaging and being rushed to ED for emergency surgery and really bad blood loss etc 🙁 In saying that we would love more kids, we are very blessed to have our daughter 🙂 some people are not so lucky and can’t have children of their own at all

  4. Kjgee 02/03/2018 at 4:58 pm

    My heart breaks for those that are struggling to get pregnant (or stay pregnant ) Witt their first, but also I think it’s important to remember that secondary infertility is a thing too, and just because someone has one (or 2, or 3) children it doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling to conceive now. We are so very lucky and grateful to have 4 beautiful children ages 10 down to newborn. We have some close age gaps (20months) and larger (6 years). But the comments I received from people, especially about our large age gap; were hurtful and reminded me that you don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes.

  5. Misskay80 02/03/2018 at 2:01 pm

    It took us 3 long years to get our first daughter, I was constantly told there was nothing wrong with me, it would happen etc.. I had test after test after test, which all came back saying I was fine.. I was not fine. Finally I was listend too and got a referal to the fertility clinic, I am greatful that they picked up right away that I had POCS… I am also greatful I didn’t have to go down the IVF route, we got our daughter on our last try of clomid (the highest dose the doctor would allow and I still only produced one vialble folical). I was told my chances of having another baby withour help was slim. 6months after our daughter was born we found out we were expecting again (naturally). I feel blessed to have my two girls, but I will never forget the years we were trying, makes me think twice now about what I say to people who don’t have children.

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