Things I wished I would’ve known after going through infertility
There are a lot of things I wasn’t expecting after I got pregnant. There are things that I wished others who were successful after infertility would have expressed to me.
If you’ve read this blog for the past 9 months you know that Chase and I got pregnant with our miracle baby after being told I wouldn’t ever be a biological mother. That happened after our 2nd failed IVF cycle last year.
I’ve listed 5 things that I feel need to be shared after having gone through infertility for so long and now having been pregnant:
Feelings of being alone and isolated
The first trimester can be a long 3 months, and choosing who to tell/not tell could bring feelings of being alone and isolated. There can be a lot of questions that pop up and if you haven’t told anyone you may feel there is no one to turn to for answers. If you’ve kept your infertility journey private it can cause those first few months of pregnancy to feel like a long lonely journey.
I felt alone during the first trimester which made it a long 3 months. I didn’t share with anyone online knowing that I have a lot of friends and family that followed our infertility journey. There were so many times I wanted to comment on an online friends post to share our struggle with the same things in pregnancy. But, I kept quiet on comments knowing that friends and family could possibly read what I wrote. That made the transition harder.
Feelings of fear/Infertility PTSD
There is also a feeling of fear and what I like to call “Infertility PTSD” during the first trimester. You anticipate with each cramp or twinge you feel could be the end of this pregnancy. Each time you use the bathroom you check for blood on your underwear and think that this might be the end. During the first and second trimester (due to no bump or feeling movement) you feel you don’t belong at the OB or midwifes office. You feel you aren’t technically an infertile anymore, but you aren’t technically pregnant either.
My 16 week appointment I had a complete melt down in the waiting room. I felt I didn’t belonged there, that I didn’t deserve any of this happiness, and felt guilty because so many of my #ttcsisters online and off, were still struggling. I relived those feelings each time I walked into my OB’s office. Shortly after we started hypnobirthing class, and learned about relaxation and calming your mind. Each OB appointment I would listen to a relaxation track in the waiting room. It helped calm my mind and think more positively. That’s what I needed in order to have that 20 seconds of insane courage for my OB appointments. It did eventually get easier, but it took essentially half the pregnancy for me to get over those feelings, and sometimes they still come and go.
Feelings of more and more choices to make
After early monitoring and being released at 10 weeks, you have to decide what doctor to go to. Up until this point you have just had to focus on you. Now your focus is on getting the right doctor who supports you in getting those extra ultrasounds or extra doppler checks to help calm your fears. You also have to decide if you want to breastfeed or bottle feed. What items you’ll need/not need for the baby. What pediatrician to go to, what birthing route you want to take (if you aren’t considered high risk), what birthing class to take, etc. All those choices for something you are still unsure of it lasting. Which can lead back to those feelings of fear.
I wasn’t considered high risk, but still chose to get early monitored by our fertility clinic. After getting released from the fertility clinic, I had my first OB appointment at about 10 weeks. We made sure everyone in the office knew that this baby was a miracle after years of infertility. My hope was that they would be more compassionate and understanding towards Chase and I and our struggle. Since our appointments were every month, that in between time was scary. We bought a doppler to help ease our worries, and it helped, since I didn’t feel the baby move until after 20 weeks.
Feelings of is this is what I really want
If you’re like me, and didn’t grow up wanting to and being excited to become a mom, you get that constant reminder throughout pregnancy on if this is what you really want. You have to decide to make a change mentally, or to let this question linger throughout your pregnancy. Change is hard, and sometimes it can be just that, not wanting things to change.
I wasn’t expecting to still feel and question myself on if this is what I really wanted. I was never one to long to be a mother as I grew up. I believe a lot relates to my experiences as a pre-teen/teen. With helping raise my siblings, because my parents were divorced. I have talked about being scared to be a parent, and I’m sure these feelings had something to do with it. After years of infertility we are now growing our family, and it will be a huge change. Chase and I won’t be able to just leave the house to hang out with friends, go see a movie whenever we feel like it, or be able to have quiet time with each other. Our life will revolve around a new baby, and that is a huge change.
Feelings of this is hard
Pregnancy is hard. It can be hard on your mind, your body, and cause emotional breakdowns. But, so is going through infertility and fertility treatments. When going through infertility, you can have hard days and complain a lot at how you long to be a mother. When going through pregnancy, you can have hard days and complain at how you long to have your body back. Both sides wish they were in the other persons shoes. Aside from wishing to be in the others’ shoes, both sides of the fence are hard to deal with and for different reasons.
I try hard to not complain on social media. I don’t want others to read negativity, and that’s not where you express your negativity and frustrations. However, I did not expect to feel so exhausted, tired and barely able to move the last few weeks of pregnancy. I have compared pregnancy/labor/delivery as training for and running a marathon (more like an ultra for me). So far the comparison is pretty close, except I’m using my uterus as my main muscle instead of my legs, core and butt. I’ve ran 2 marathons, several half marathons and I have trained for those races and know how taxing it is on your body. Regardless of if you are training for a marathon or growing a human, it is hard work. I am starting to understand how some pregnant women complain at wanting it to be over. Let me be clear – Pregnancy is hard, going through infertility is hard, but I wouldn’t change that. Experiencing both has helped me be more compassionate towards those going through hard trials.
Those who have been on both sides of the fence (infertility and experienced pregnancy), would you add anything or change what I have written?
My hope for this post is to help someone know they aren’t alone with those feelings. I hope the few things I’ve listed help someone who has experienced their Big Fat Positive (BFP) and are now experiencing all the feelings associated with being pregnant.
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