As if it’s not bad enough dealing with infertility, throw depression and anxiety in there. Now THIS can be a very dangerous combination! In my last blog, I wrote about triggers and avoiding them, and the scary part about the three ingredients listed above is that when you hide from your triggers, it becomes very easy to stay hidden in a dark hole and that, my friends, is a recipe for disaster!
My experiences over the last three years has been a true test of my mental health. Depression isn’t just about being sad. I know from experience it can actually physically hurt every morsel of your being … and so can infertility. There are days when I have no energy. I am angry. I am short with my husband and stepdaughters. The worst part of it is that I know when I am in a bad place, but I never realize it is caused by infertility until my husband has the whole “you’re not yourself lately” talk and then I break. The tears flow, and snot flies out of my nose and unconditional love from him shines through in the most amazing ways. You see, that’s the thing about infertility— it affects you when you don’t even realize it! Luckily for me, my husband has this great way of making me talk and admit something is wrong when I don’t even realize that I am having an off day.
That’s how I know he’s my soulmate. That and he buys me beef jerky without me asking!
I have always been an open book with my depression and in recent years, I was “blessed” enough to add anxiety to that spicy little combo. So, what does this all look like? Well let me paint a picture for you— it’s a girl in her mid-thirties who is lucky in all sorts of ways but sometimes has trouble remembering that. This sadness looks like someone who is snapping at everyone in her way, hates her job even though she is pretty good at it, is annoyed at the smallest things when a lot of times, the things that are annoying her are done out of love. It’s someone whose heart breaks a little more every time she sees a pregnancy or birth announcement on Facebook. It’s someone who watches kids around her, longing for what it must feel like to have someone who loves and needs her and thinks she is ultimately the coolest person on earth. It’s someone who looks at her partner and is sad that she doesn’t get to see him be the amazing dad she knows he is right from the very beginning. It’s someone who has two stepdaughters and loves them beyond words but is dying to know what it feels like to have that connection that a mom gets when carrying those babies herself.
It’s someone who has trouble getting out of bed at times because she just wants to stay home and cry and scream.
It’s someone who is angry because other people get pregnant so easily and because she knows she is one hell of a good stepmom and deserves the whole package! It’s someone who is angry because she has never been the jealous type, but she is so jealous of her mom friends. It’s someone whose anxiety levels skyrocket when she is invited to a baby shower for fear of not being able to keep it together while she’s there. It’s someone whose anxiety increases everyday because she fears she may be getting too old physically and mentally to do this. It’s someone who is experiencing so many different emotions and isn’t sure if she is optimistic, hopeful or in complete denial.
That someone is me. I am living that everyday and although I don’t sit around and mope, it’s always there. It’s there in the back of my mind that each day that passes is another day without answers.
Without a plan. Without a path. Without a baby.
The truth is, I don’t know what’s scarier – the fact that I am on antidepressants and still feel that way OR the fact that I am 1 in 6. One in Six! So why do we feel so alone when it comes to infertility? Because we don’t talk about it!! I admit that I was guilty of sometimes hearing that “so-and-so is trying to get pregnant but they’re having lots of trouble” and I would think “oh that’s too bad!” without really understanding the depth of pain that is associated with all this. And for that, I am sorry. I get it now.
To the moms and dads out there who have struggled with infertility, know that I now understand your pain, hurt, anger, and jealousy. Know that I am here to reassure you that what you are feeling is totally normal and okay. Know that I will be the voice that you didn’t think you had. Know that, I too, am the one in six, and although it’s a club none of us want to be in, I am happy to be in the company of some of the strongest, most resilient and fiercest people I know. Here’s to us, the one in six.
By Ginette LaVoie