Fertility Rollercoaster Personal Experiences with Infertility Longing for a Baby

Recently, I read a blog article where one woman had accepted how infertility has led her to accept being childless. In my ride on the infertility roller coaster, I am not that same place emotionally. In fact, my own path to infertility is a little bit different than many other women on the same roller coaster.

Unlike many women who are infertile and never have experienced motherhood, I have had one successful live birth which ended in SIDS at 5 weeks old, and an ectopic pregnancy. As a result, I have unexplained infertility; everything appears to be in working order. The only disadvantage I really have is that I am missing one tube because of complications from the ectopic pregnancy. This should not affect my fertility because the other tube compensates for the missing one.

In the one infertility treatment we had, in which I took Clomid to stimulate ovulation, in case my lack of of tube made ovulation more sporadic, a manic episode was triggered. Being diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder, my moods are already precarious. Normally, I couldn’t risk taking drugs that affected my moods. At the time, the doctors assured me that Clomid wouldn’t affect my moods; however, I ended up hospitalized for a couple of weeks as a result of that experiment.

While on this roller coaster I tend to have two modes: the high-achiever’s desire to do everything right that I can possibly do (chart my periods/LH tests, eating well, taking vitamins, changing my lifestyle to be as pro-fertile as I can) and feeling hopeless and inept, thinking there’s nothing I can really do anyway, like my fertility fate is totally out of my hands.

Now I wonder if I hadn’t had my two losses before if I would be so fertility-driven. Unlike many women on the fertility roller coaster, II never had the experience of initially trying to get pregnant and having nothing happen. My first two pregnancies were not planned-they were a complete accident. Even though I loved my daughter dearly after she was born, I hated being pregnant and had doubts that I was ready to have a child.

On my roller coaster, I have felt bound up in my loss. At times I feel guilty-like I should have wanted my daughter more, that my infertility is a way of punishing me for drinking and smoking during my pregnancy. I think, isn’t that what fate is trying to tell me, that I am not fit to be a mother? Has nature rejected my first two pregnancy attempts, because I am so bad. Has God made me barren as a punishment?

Logically, I know this guilt isn’t based on reality, that I am not to blame, that it is just an issue of chance-but that doesn’t make me feel much better, either. I don’t like that this one thing in my life is totally out of my control. It is like the gods are making me face my hubris and remind me what a pawn I really am.

Unlike other women on the infertility roller coaster who take solace in religion, I am agnostic and feel like praying is like wishing…just as effective, and just as narcissistic. But, in moments of fertile desperation, I do pray. Please please, I cross my fingers when doing a pregnancy test. I don’t want much, I don’t long for much, I accept things as pretty much as they are and usually feel really blessed. But, in these secret moments, I bargain. “Please, I won’t ever do anything bad again, please give me a pink plus sign.”

My intense longing, I believe, comes from having once felt the intense joy of motherhood, and maybe the early endorphins of motherhood…the highest high, the most rational high outdoing any hypomanicdelusional moment, I have ever experienced. When my daughter died, my body was still a mother, my breasts full of milk, and for days they leaked. My soul and my body weeped. I don’t think women who have never had a child who are infertile experience this…this motherhood interruptus.

On my roller coaster,every time my period comes, it is like a death all over again. This tortures my husband, who can’t stand to see me grieve over and over again. It strained our marriage for a couple of years, with my intense longing creating intense distress for him. Now, on this roller coaster, we are at impasse because my longing appears tempered.

On this never ending ride, I pretend to be happy when I get my period, and even talk about the pros of never having children. My longing, my ongoing grief, just has to go underground. Like all the women on this infertility roller coaster I wait for the end of the ride when I have a child of my own in my arms.