First published March 2018
In March 2018, The Project on TV Three highlighted the often difficult emotions that surround fertility. While the world goes gaga over the pregnancy news of famous mums-to-be, 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 shared 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.
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 shared 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 and other initiatives 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.