1) What is your personal experience with infertility/miscarriage?
I dealt with infertility for about four years. I started trying to get pregnant with my husband, and was completely shocked that after six months we hadn’t conceived. Four years, several IUI’s and one and a half rounds of IVF later I am almost six months pregnant with our first!
2) How has it made your life worse? How has it made your life better?
Having fertility issues has definitely not made my life any worse. Which is precisely why I decided to share my story. To let women know they don’t have to feel bad for not “suffering”, that this can be a less than traumatic experience, if you are able to maintain a good attitude and have the right support. Of course, there were tough days, days that went on forever and there were of course tears. But for the most part, I believe that dealing with fertility issues has only made my life richer. Sounds crazy! Fertility issues improved my life in a few strange ways. First of all it strengthened my bond with my husband. We went through this together every step of the way all the while improving our communication, getting to know each other and ourselves better, learning about life together, and determining the types of parents and spouses we want to be. We also both saw the silver lining that delayed parenthood brought us; the gift of time! We were able to travel the world together, take risks together, eat whatever we wanted together and have almost no responsibility. Each month when I felt a small tinge of sadness over my period, we consciously decided to see it as an extra few weeks to live selfishly, to have another life experience and to better prepare ourselves for our future as parents.
3) When & how did you realize that you were going to be able to carry on after infertility/miscarriage?
One dark day, after only months of “trying”, I stayed home crying in our beautiful, tiny apartment in Sydney. My insightful husband came home and told me that I had two choices: One, to wallow in the sadness of my fertility challenges or two, to seize the time that I still have to focus on myself knowing that one day, somehow, I will become a mother and will then put all of my energy towards that.
I knew that with his support and with a positive attitude, we would face this challenge and come out on top. I never gave up hope since that moment.
4) What have you learned through this experience?
First and foremost, I have learned to be patient and accepting. That this is my story and this is how it is unfolding. Not that I don’t have any control over how it unfolds, but that with some things; like the mysteries of the human body, we must be patient and accept. I could never have dreamed that I would be a part of the “16%”, but that’s life, expect the unexpected. I have learned to be patient with myself, with my husband and with everyone who means well by asking when I’ll have a baby and reminding me about my ticking biological clock!
5) What do you hold on to for hope/courage/strength on your bad days?
I held on to my strong belief that anyone who wants to be a parent, will eventually be one. I knew that in some way we would have a child and that truly got me through the more difficult days when I was frustrated out of my mind and everyone around me seemed to be pregnant. I knew my day would come, eventually. I would also hold on to the belief that this “struggle” was only making me stronger and forcing me to grow as a person.
6) How do you feel about your experience with infertility on your good days?
I feel empowered. Empowered to know that I have faced a challenge and overcome it with a positive attitude, confidence in myself and in my marriage.
7) In what ways has your experience with infertility/miscarriage changed you as a person?
It has made me feel more grown up. As silly as that may sound, I feel like I have faced a real adult problem and dealt with it as a mature woman. With all the strength, empowerment, confidence and patience I have developed through this challenge, I am proud of myself. I look at people differently knowing that the cliché “everyone is dealing with something” is so true.
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?
I have been blessed with a very strong support group. My family never made me feel pressured and I never felt the need to explain myself to anyone. I did thank family members for that. I wish I had responded to some well-meaning people differently. I wish I had answered questions such as “when will you have a baby” with “I’m trying, I have been trying for years, I can’t wait until the day I can tell you I’m pregnant” But I never wanted to make people uncomfortable or to feel bad. That’s my one regret. Don’t feel like you owe anyone anything, this is your issue, own it and share it in a way that suits you best and makes you the most comfortable.
9) Tell us about you. What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
I am pretty much one big cliché! I am obsessed with my family and can never get enough time in with any of them. I feel the same way about my friends. I live in Vermont but am from Toronto and everyone is back home. I relish our visits and family trips. I’m a feminist and believe strongly in gender equality, including equal pay and an end to male violence. I love to cook, bake and host. My husband and I throw a few big parties a year and we travel like mad. His work takes us around the world and I have had the gift of time to join him everywhere from South Africa to Brazil! We have lived in Switzerland and Australia. We are planning ‘Bebe’s’ first trip this summer to Iceland. I love the arts of all kinds; theater, painting, pottery, photography etc. My only current pursuit and passion is to be the best mother I can be! Not a perfect mother (I have to keep telling myself that) just the best I can be.
10) What is your favourite quote? “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” Thanks Mom!