Infertility: My journey to loving my body again

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Infertility
Photo by Fadi Xd on Unsplash

I wrote this article back in 2017 and initially published it on Selfish Mother’s blog. It was the first blog I’d published anywhere other than my own site. It was scary to see my words out there about such a personal topic. But we need to have more open conversations about infertility. I knew I’d have felt less alone if I’d read a piece like the one I’d written.

Around 1 in 6 couples experience infertility. Statistics aren’t available about the number of single women who experience infertility. Despite the number of people who go through infertility, it’s still a subject that isn’t talked about openly (and sensitively) enough.

I hope reading about my experience helps anyone battling with the emotional rollercoaster of trying to get pregnant. It’s a brutal journey.

Learning to love my body again

Social media is awash at the minute with mothers celebrating their post birth body. They are embracing their lumps, bumps and imperfections because their bodies created amazing little people. They grew humans inside of them and then brought them into the world to breath new life.

It’s wonderful to see such an outpouring of love and pride for a realistic image of a woman’s body. It’s left me feeling a bit left out though.

You see, my body didn’t create my little human. Another woman did that. She grew and nurtured our daughter in her tummy. She felt her first kick and watched her bump grow as our daughter developed in her womb. I can’t begin to imagine how she must have felt when her waters broke.

She had already decided then she wasn’t going to be able to look after the baby she was about to bring into the world. She endured a no doubt excruciating labour knowing she wasn’t going to be taking home the little human she’d grown inside her for 9 months.

For a long time, I fell out of love with my body. Since time began, women have become pregnant and given birth. I felt such a failure that I didn’t and incredibly let down by my body.

It was the complete opposite to the way that the social media mums are loving their bodies because they created a life. I was loathing mine because it didn’t. Every month I’d get a punch in the face, as regular as clockwork, reminding me that my body COULD get pregnant, it just wasn’t.

Infertility rollercoaster

Infertility is one of those things that unless you’ve experienced it, you really can’t understand how someone who is going through it is feeling. Month after month, I’d be on a rollercoaster of hope at the start of my cycle, followed very quickly with crushing disappointment. Every twinge during the “2 week wait” would be analysed, googled, cherished and then quickly thrown away in despair.

Infertility
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash

Why couldn’t I get pregnant? Everyone else seemed to be. I was reasonably fit and healthy, as was my husband. He went along with the endless attempts at new positions / baggy underwear / bath ban / vitamin overkill I forced on him as I desperately clung on to the hope that it would happen.

During that time, my best friends had produced 10 kids between them and my sister had two. There had been crushing miscarriages too, but 12 babies gave me hope that it would happen for us.

But it didn’t. I felt completely inadequate. A failure as a woman. It wasn’t that I was getting pregnant and then my body rejected it. I just didn’t get pregnant. I have never experienced the thrill of a positive pregnancy test of my own. I’ve seen the line change for someone else which was a feeling I will never forget. It’s never happened to me though.

If I’m being completely honest with myself, I think I knew that it never would. That thought didn’t help with the hurt and the pain and the all consuming disappointment I felt for a long time.

Let down by my body

My body had let me down, big time. I felt like I wasn’t a real woman because I couldn’t grow a human inside me. My lumps and bumps weren’t badges of honour. They were stark reminders every single day that my body hadn’t done what it was meant to.

I was so desperate to be a mum. As the months went by I was terrified it was never going to happen. At times, I didn’t know if I could cope with that. I felt a physical ache as I contemplated a future not being a mum.

I’m a great believer that things happen for a reason. The reason may not always be as clear as it could be. But it’s there, somewhere. The reason I didn’t get pregnant is because I wasn’t meant to. I wasn’t meant to be a birth mummy. I was meant to grow my child in my heart. She grew there for a very long time, but once we met her, everything made sense.

Infertility
Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Mother nature decided that my route to motherhood was via adoption. If I’d got pregnant and had a birth child, that would never have happened. The thought of our daughter not being part of our lives utterly terrifies me.

We waited such a long time to meet her. It feels now that I had to go through all of the pain, heartache and despair so that I could be her mum. And also so that I could appreciate how hard it must have been for her birth mum to walk away.

So my body didn’t let me down at all. It took me on a journey and kept me going until our daughter was ready for us. My jelly belly may not have been created by our daughter growing inside me. It was created while she grew in my heart.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Oh my goodness what an honest and heartbreaking post. I think you have to think of these things as just things that happen to certain people for a reason- I like to think it is because they are strong enough to deal with it. I told myself this over and over after my Mum died, it helped me to get some clarity. I am so glad you have your child now though, a lovely outcome from it all xx #RVHT

  2. This is so beautiful, I’ve come over all emotional! I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you suffered on the journey of bringing you a child. You’re a mother no matter where your baby first grew, she grows in your arms now. Also I had a mumtum well before I was a mum, donuts gave me that badge of honour!

    #RVHT

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