Somewhere along the way, I lost myself and I stumbled to pick up the pieces. I don’t know when it happened or what triggered the moment I finally fell apart, but I somehow became a shell of my existence. It may’ve been the years of treatments, the countless negative pregnancy tests, or the feeling of constantly having one obstacle after another. For all I know it could’ve been the ignored emotions gathered along the way just finally catching up to me. All I know is at some point along my journey, I became so consumed with getting pregnant that I forgot to live. Going through the motions, day to day, month to month, waiting for that BFP to finally appear. So focussed on having a baby that I didn’t stop to experience anything else going on around me. The number of special occasions I didn’t allow myself to enjoy, the once loved hobbies now forgotten, and the countless friendships now distant and strained; all contributing to feeling completely disconnected from everything and everyone around me.
But after a series of discouraging events, and being in the dark for some time, my eyes decided to finally open again. It was as though I was looking at my life from the outside, examining who I’d become, questioning how I got here and what I missed along the way, realizing I’d become someone I no longer recognized… This realization left me feeling confused. How did I get to this gloomy place in life and allow myself to lose touch with the world going on around me? With this awareness came a flood of emotions, forcing me to dig deep and re-evaluate my goals and expectations. Yes, growing a family is a priority, but does it require my entire existence? Is it worth losing myself over again? Risking more relationships? Continuing to feel alone, anxious and depressed? Maybe I needed to learn how to balance life in a healthier way, a way that would allow me to pursue growing a family, but also enjoy the life happening around me.
Most of us are guilty of losing ourselves at some point along the way.
It’s one of those things you don’t always see it’s happening until damage has been done, but once you realize it’s happened, facing the issues head on, doing the work to re-connect with yourself and others, and learning how to re-balance everyday life are critical for your well-being and essential for surviving this intense journey. Lately, I’ve genuinely realized that this journey is relentless… It somehow manages to consume your mind, body and energy like no other, and it’s too easy to become wrapped up in the negativity and constant state of waiting and fear. But at this point I’m afraid that if I continued to allow infertility to define me, I may not be able to recover…
I’ve now taken a big step back to allow life to sink in.
I’m aware there are many obstacles still in my way and that life isn’t perfect, but there’s a lot of things to be thankful for and I no longer want to miss out on them. Instead of allowing myself to be completely consumed with treatments and getting pregnant, I’m focussing my energy on bettering myself and living a more balanced lifestyle. Infertility has come with a lot of negativity including anxiety, depression, bitterness, and grief… But if I’m being honest, it hasn’t all been bad. I’ve realized that over the years I’ve truly grown as a person; my level of discipline, patience, hope and compassion has significantly flourished, and overall, I’m a much better person for it. So even though it’s been a long road with many hard lessons along the way, I can finally say that despite many heartaches I’ve come out a stronger person and I can’t imagine life any other way. So yes, infertility has changed me, but I’m finally ok with that…
By Cheryl Dowling
Thank you for writing this. You have put in words how I have been feeling lately. I have forgotten about myself in all my fertility struggles. This was a good reminder to take care of myself. This was a life-changing moment for me.