Monday, July 01, 2013
I don't know a ton about my own body. I never even thought this could be a problem for me because my parents spent my entire adolescence and young adult years warning me about safe sex and birth control and not getting pregnant before I was ready, and no one EVER thought to talk to me about miscarriages of problems getting pregnant. No one even tried to encourage me to get pregnant, of course, until after my first miscarriage (which only makes things worse in case you're wondering).
Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after 6 months to a year of trying, or as not being able to carry a pregnancy to full term.
Also, each year after a woman turns 30, her chances of conceiving drop drastically. I'm 29 now, and each month that I get closer to 30, my biological clock sounds more like the an eerie funeral chime.
I know that certain things affect fertility/infertility. For the most part, I live a fairly healthy lifestyle, but I have some concerns. I eat fish that generally does not have high mercury levels, like salmon or tilapia or mahi mahi. I eat very little red meat. I eat plenty of protein, fruits & vegetables. I avoid artificial sweeteners and coffee like the plague. I NEVER drink sodas. In fact, aside from a smoothie, I mostly drink water. I do eat quite a bit of chocolate, and have a sweet tooth and that is a constant battle. I'm an emotional eater, and the more emotional I get (for instance, right now), the worse my eating habits get. I've tried to eliminate most wheat and dairy products from my diet except for ice cream occasionally or a TBSP of mayo in a recipe here or there. I cook with olive oil. I drink moderately, and usually only one week out of the month (period week). Of course, this month, I just felt like the probability of my being pregnant was so unlikely, so I drank once last week. Also, up until I popped a rib out of place and developed slipped rib syndrome a couple of months ago, I had exercised regularly 6 times a week, mostly with a trainer for almost 2 years.
My concerns are as follows:
Obesity (I am considered obese even though I eat fairly healthy)
Working out (when I did work out, the level of my workouts COULD have effected my ability to get pregnant)
Not working out/gaining weight (Since I have been unable to work out, I've gained a lot more weight back, and am concerned that that could affect fertility)
STRESS (this is probably the biggest reason I haven't conceived since my previous miscarriage - my stress level is through the roof. For me, there is no such thing as calm - I am always at a mid-high stress level)
Now those are my logical concerns. What follows is the emotional fallout I've been dealing with on and off for the last year. The following is more for me than it is for anyone else, but I thought I would post it anyway, because you never know when talking about something may help someone else or lead to some kind of realization that will help you. When I'm feeling down, I self-medicate with writing... at least it's not alcohol. : )
I saw this movie last week: Away We Go. It started out as a feel good, funny movie that was a sampler tray of sorts of modern parenting styles and families, and then there was this one part of the movie where the tone abruptly changed. The main couple (who were expecting their first child) looked up a couple of their college friends in Montreal, who had a kaleidoscope of adopted kids in their home. It was only the second or third time I had ever seen a movie portray infertility in a movie, but in my opinion, it was the most poignant portrayal I've seen. By the time it got to the pole dance, I was bawling. It's moments like those when I have no choice but to confront my own sadness. And I've been fairly depressed ever since.
Then, last week I noticed some possible symptoms. I felt some breast tenderness and a little twitching and cramping in my stomach and reproductive area that happened to coincide with the window in which implantation could occur. And I did something I should never have done. I started to let myself hope again.
You see, I keep trying to give up. People keep inserting their own advice all the time. Don't give up. Give up. Forget about it and then it will happen. Stop stressing. And all of these things, if you've ever tried to conceive do NOT help. How can you forget on purpose? How can you try without trying? A cat may pretend not to be interested in the laser light someone points on the floor next to them, but believe me, it drives them crazy. Well, this is driving me a little crazy too. My best friend doesn't even understand.
With every month that passes, I feel a little more desperate, a little more hopeless, and a little less in control of my life. With every month that passes, I feel a little more like a failure.
Somehow, motherhood seems like it should be the most natural thing in the world. And in addition to the sadness I feel over losing a child in the first place, I feel both ashamed and depressed that I can't provide the family my husband and I want, that I can't do the most basic thing that a woman is supposed to be able to do. And no one talks about it and no one wants to talk about it, except people it's never happened to. I do want to talk about it, but with someone who understands. I hate hate hate how people trivialize it or avoid it, or how the ones who do want to give advice have NO IDEA what they are talking about because they have never experienced it and now it's making me angry. Or if I talk about it, people act like I'm not stable or like I shouldn't be talking about it. What is wrong with the world that people can't talk about real problems that affect them, but everyone can whine and complain about little problems they take for granted that other people would be overjoyed to have?
Off of the soapbox...
I'm terrified. Terrified that I may never have my own children. Yes, I could adopt, but that's an entirely different can of worms. I don't think I would ever actually stop wanting a child of my own flesh and blood, even if I had a house full of children needing love. Don't get me wrong; I would love those kids as my own, but it would be different to some degree. If you don't know, watch Away With Me - just youtube the montreal part & it might make my point for me. I'm also terrified that I could get pregnant - several times - and end up with several miscarriages, which in my opinion might be inhumane for my babies and maybe even for me. If one miscarriage took this much away from me, I don't know if my sanity could survive others. So, the fear of future failed pregnancies terrifies me. I'm afraid that I would spend every pregnancy worrying over it and maybe even cause problems because of my fear and stress. Then, what if I actually have a successful pregnancy and I end up being a terrible mom? That one is not all that realistic, I know, and it pales in comparison to my other fears, but it is an actual fear that I have.
I just had to get that off of my chest.
So all that is on my mind, plus I've been reading about infertility.
Let me interject that this is already an especially difficult time for me because last year at this time, I was pregnant. And I most likely miscarried around this time. I don't know the actual date my baby died because I had a missed miscarriage, where the baby dies and it takes a while for you to know because you don't actually experience the miscarriage part until later. And right around the time that it happened I had this terrifying dream about losing someone very close to me, and within days I started feeling the classic symptoms. I had that dream again a couple of nights ago, so that didn't help either. So back to the part about allowing myself to hope again... I took a pregnancy test yesterday and today, even though most sites say I should wait a few more days. They were both negative. I will test again in a few days, but I'm pretty sure it would have shown up even though it was early, because my cycle is a few days shorter than the normal cycle.
But now that makes me wonder if I'm so desperate that I could have a false pregnancy - I really don't think I could handle that one. I was going to share my symptoms with my husband, but now I'm glad I didn't do it before I tested, because I don't want him going through everything I've been going through.