1) What is your personal experience with infertility/miscarriage?
I went off birth control with the idea of starting a family with my husband in early 2011. After about 6 months, we discovered I didn’t have a regular cycle, or a cycle at all for that matter. My family doctor referred me to a fertility clinic, and we got on the roller coaster ride of cycle monitoring. It was the most disheartening experience. The doctor at the clinic attacked my lifestyle and told me stop exercising. I felt like I was personally to blame for our inability to get pregnant. We did a few cycles of monitoring and then I decided I needed a break. The break lasted 6 months, and then a year, and then two. I just couldn’t go back to the fertility clinic. During this time, my cycle eventually regulated itself on its own. My husband and I were having unprotected sex because having a child was always our ultimate goal. In September 2014, two years after my initial visits to the fertility clinic, I found out I was pregnant. We were overjoyed and told many people even though I was only 7 weeks along - a decision I would later regret. At our 14 week ultrasound, our fetus no longer had a heartbeat. I had a D&C at the beginning of December 2014, and spent that holiday season in a bit of a drunken haze, trying to bury it all.
2) How has it made your life worse? How has it made your life better?
The time around fertility treatment strengthened my marriage, no doubt. It also helped me figure out what I wanted from life and gave me a few extra years before having a kid to pursue other things. Of course, infertility lead to crippling self-doubt and self-hatred and created an adversarial relationship with my body that I’m still trying to repair today. But sharing my experiences openly helped me find others going through similar stuff, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.
3) When & how did you realize that you were going to be able to carry on after infertility/miscarriage?
Leaving fertility treatment felt like the lifting of a weight, though we still had the same problem of infertility. Truthfully, I had some unhealthy coping mechanisms that I’m not proud of, but staying true to myself, doing good work, pursing my travel goals, moving my body a lot, eating good food, drinking good wine, and loving my partner all helped me move on from this experience.
4) What have you learned through this experience?
The body makes no sense, and there’s no sense in trying to make sense of the body. Doing whatever you need to do to feel okay in your skin after a miscarriage is 100% okay, and no one should tell you otherwise. You have to cope how you can.
5) What is your favourite quote?
“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” - Haruki Murakami, from WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING
6) In three words describe yourself before/during/after miscarriage (in miscarriage specific situations)?
7) In what ways has your experience with infertility/miscarriage changed you as a person?
Infertility gave me some of the hardest years of my life, but also gave me some years of great freedom and rebellion.
8) How have others responded to your infertility situations? Has it impacted your relationships? What are some things you’ve been told that have been helpful/harmful?
Miscarriage connected me with my partner in a sombre way, but ultimately made us stronger. Once I shared my own experience, I was able to become a support for others going through infertility and miscarriage, and I’m glad that they felt comfortable reaching out to me for advice.
9) Tell us about you. What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
I have been a runner for fifteen years; it was running, they said, that caused my irregular cycle and therefore my infertility. Of course, it was after my best running summer that I got pregnant. I ran a half-marathon 5 months pregnant with my daughter. For some reason, the doctors felt the need to always tell me to stop running. Other than running, I’m passionate about making a difference in the world, which is why I’m school teacher, union activist, and volunteer organizer. I also love local food and drink, and love exploring these at home and abroad, with my kid in tow.