1) What is your personal experience with infertility/miscarriage?
I am in a same-sex relationship so my wife and I had to start our baby-making journey in a fertility clinic. When we started with my wife years ago (our son is nearly 3), we thought there would be no issues. It took my wife almost a year to get pregnant and then it was my turn. We went in this order simply due to age. I walked in to the clinic, head held high, thinking “I got this!” and now here I am, more than two years later, full of hormones and tears, but no second child (yet).
2) How has it made your life worse? How has it made your life better?
Each failed cycle is a blow to my self worth. It makes me feel like a failure and that my body can't do what it was meant to do. It makes me feel like I am disappointing my wife and son and that I won’t be able to add to our family. It has also made me truly appreciate the miracle of creating life and what a beautiful process it is. I am so grateful to have one child that my wife carried.
3) When & how did you realize that you were going to be able to carry on after infertility/miscarriage?
I started seeing a therapist and openly talking about my struggle and realized that so many of us struggle and suffer in silence. Infertility is a grief that I cannot describe as there is no tangible loss, other than my hopes and desires. My wife has been an incredible support and I have found friends who understand and listen. The hard part for me is the uniqueness of being in a same-sex relationship and now turning back to my wife to try and carry our second. When she carried our first I was filled with hopes and dreams for us to begin our family and knew my turn would be next. I will have to be her support system and watch her carry and process that I cannot offer the same for our family. But in this process, I am learning that I can offer other things to my wife and child and am valuable to this family. With the help of friends and a great therapist, I am learning to carry on and live the most authentic life that I can.
4) What have you learned through this experience?
I have learned that people don’t talk about infertility because there is no open platform for it and people don’t know how to respond to infertility. The process is so much harder than I imagined and a part of me will forever be broken. The process has also made me realize that, for me, it may not be about genetics anymore. I wanted a “mini-me” but I am realizing that there is more than that. Connections can be made and are just as strong without biology.
5) What do you hold on to for hope/courage/strength on your bad days?
It's really hard to hold onto hope to be honest. I put faith in the universe and hope for the best. If I am unable to ever conceive, there must be a reason for it. I have to believe that.
6) How do you feel about your experience with infertility on your good days?
It always feels like shit.
7) In what ways has your experience with infertility/miscarriage changed you as a person?
It has changed me more than I expected. I no longer have the tolerance or patience for people who don’t understand the miracle of conception or who just don’t get it. It’s not something to be taken light heartedly or for granted.
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?
Most people have been nice. Others have been inconsiderate. I have had people (who know our journey) announce their pregnancy to my wife and I and tell us that they were not trying, like why tell me that?! I have had a friend not know whether she was pregnant and go back and forth with drinking and screw up two pregnancy tests because TV made it seem easy, rather than reading the instructions, like it was no big deal. It's a big deal! My relationship with my wife has only gotten stronger. She has been my rock through this. My friends usually don't have much to say and I know it gets uncomfortable for them so I don't talk about it. Listening has been helpful. Trying to find relatable situations are not.
9) Tell us about you. What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
I’m 35 and work on technology strategy at a bank. I am a queer, coloured, female and am passionate about life. I love my family and pizza (some days, I’m unsure what my heart desires more!). I love trying new gadgets and fixing things up around the house. I enjoy DIY projects but my wife is not so keen on those (don’t ask her about me drilling into a water pipe!). I enjoying learning and growing as an individual.
10) What is your favourite quote?
“Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses understanding" by Khalil Gibran