Fuck I love it when people have opinions. Especially ill-informed ones. I happened upon one the other week while recovering from an umpteenth surgery to fix my ever depleting shitful fertility which has now left me with three handy little holes in my abdomen – should they be required for three point-chain accessory at any stage. Unfortunately I’m the girl who tends to vomit like the kid from Poltergeist on waking from a GA which is why the anesthetist should’ve remembered to give me some of that really good shit to stop me hurling ma’ guts up every five minutes. Not only was I discharged clutching my little white fold-up vom-filled plastic sleeve like Queenie’s handbag but for the following 18 hours, could. not. even. hold. down. water. Fun times specially coupled with having your insides flipped around, flushed, stripped out and cut away.
But I digress…our focus here was on a thread I found (between my cursory chucks) on one of the (possibly far too many) fertility groups I follow where a bolshy young upstart who couldn’t have been more than 22, took it upon herself to declare to its followers they should all be adopting and fostering, fertility and IVF is not a right, that they needn’t be defined by motherhood, nor should they carelessly be adding to an overcrowded population by haphazardly injecting their wombs with countless embryos they’ve ‘bought’. Blessed be the thoughts of the ignorant. Whaaaat? Girl, you be a brave lil poptart. Floods of fury erupted in the replies as they started to spread like a western bushfire threatening to put her right back in the little glass house she crawled out from. These are women you do not fuck with.
I’m sure there are plenty who might themselves wonder why the fuck someone like me would expose her body, mind and every inch of her soul into the abyss of fertility treatment…lemme shine a little light. While adoption would certainly be an option – though a highly unviable one given the amount of children adopted in Australia each year falls below 200, a 75% decrease over the past 25 years – there are two things preventing me from doing this. One is the law (incredulously) states there must not be more than a 39-year age gap between mother and baby. Oops that’s me out, sista. The second reason why I can’t just ‘go and adopt myself a kid like you see in the gossip mags’ is you cannot be undertaking fertility treatment and also actively pursuing adoption. Sorry kiddo but it’s one or the other. And sadly for us, bringing home a baby in a muslin sling after a visit to Cambodia, Malawe or Thailand certainly doesn’t work quite the way you might think. Not unless your name rhymes with Pangelina Solie.
You name it, I’ve got it, honey. Low egg count, low egg quality, endometriosis, blocked pipes, high NK cells, and coupled with motility issues, we are basically what you’d call well, shall we say completely fucked fertility-wise. We need all the help god – and Dr Babies – can send. Which is why I went in for another laparoscopy to remove the creepy noxious weed endo spreading its nasty self across my uterus, as well as a hysteroscopy, curette and flushout of the pipes – a full panelbeating before our last-ditch attempt at our final pair of frosties who are waiting ever so patiently in the freezer to meet their mama n’ daddy.
Sadly, nothing is as simple as a choice when it comes to fertility. Those of us on this ride have already been through every possible tangent you could think of. Including sleeping with a fertility stone blessed by the ancient monks of Nepal wedged under my mattress. And that’s exactly why opinions like why someone would undertake fertility treatment in the first place burns like a motherfuckering hot poker. It isn’t because we ‘put other things first’, nor is it because we’d like to ‘plan when our baby comes’ like an online shopping order. IVF is an absolute last resort for anyone. Full. Fucking. Stop. It isn’t a process any of us wish to go through.
Having now been a card-carrying member of the infertiles for over 1825 tedious ass-shitting days, having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying every different kind of way a hundred times over to make my body go back to how it was, having lost all hope for what keeps the very evolution of the world going. Losing our only glimmer of hope at just 7.5 weeks. And then being helpless as our dreams get sucked away in a vacuum of pain. Having my body and my very existence overpowered by 3462 needles, fucked up levels of hormones and steroids pumped into my body and emotions I didn’t even imagine possible. Thirteen attempts on a high-speed rollercoaster with no breaks. Dealing with the enormity of loss upon loss upon loss upon loss. And quietly yet reluctantly pocketing a grief no one else unless they’ve been there themselves, could ever begin to comprehend.
Nope you have absolutely no idea which is exactly why my reply to what you think girls like me should be doing didn’t come in the form of venom – though what you wrote infuriated the living shit out of me. It is merely a hope if and when you reach the crossroads of motherhood in years to come…you not be afflicted by the absolute curse that is infertility. It is not a fucking choice. It is not an option. It is our only hope. And one that keeps on being taken time after time. Sucking you in with a tiny bit more only to snatch it back off you in a hit and run two weeks later.
Every month of my life over the past five years has been methodically split into two week blocks – the first spent dreaming of implantation ‘twitches’ and possible onset of nausea. The second waiting for the day to come when we can start all over again. I literally live in fortnightly episodes that even if I wanted to, I can’t escape from. No lovie, it ain’t no way to live and yes, yes, you’re right I don’t need to be defined by motherhood but if you have a want for something so deeply embedded in your heart…if you’ve so often dreamed of your little soul, smelled him even, seen her giggle. Fought so hard to keep yourself from falling into the fucking pit of depression that keeps on appearing at your feet at the end of each month. If you’ve ever questioned what the fuck you did in a past life to keep getting dealt so much disappointment…maybe you might understand.
Nothing about IVF is a choice. You get all those taken off you the minute you find out you can’t do things yourself anymore.
Maybe find someone else to pick on…cos we sure as fuck do enough of that to ourselves…love n’ hopeful hugs to all ma’ girls out there who know what 264 hours feels like, Lady MamaG xox