There’s more to it than babies

There’s more to it than babies

Jeanne and I went through four year of trying to fall pregnant.  Like many, we started naturally – having more sex and trying to have it at the right time.  After a good many months of this, and not being pregnant, we looked around for other options.  We went to naturopaths and homeopaths, drank Chinese medicine and meditated.  We changed our diets and our thought patterns.  When these options didn’t work either, we took the step to look at medical options.  Tests, scans and an operation or two later we still had no luck, and started IVF. After a few rounds of IVF we shifted again, this time doing IVF using donor eggs. Looking back now, those were a very long four years filled with intense emotion, stress and obsession.  Going through the process Jeanne and I had one focus – falling pregnant and having a baby.  And yet with hindsight I now realise that we got a lot of other things out of those four years. My relationship with Jeanne and understanding of her grew in ways that would never have occurred if we had not gone through the process together.  My connection to my broader family and friends was deepened as I chose to open up to them, and asked them to step up in terms of supporting us.  I gained huge insight into the way I work- my thinking habits and way of processing situations.  I learnt things about my body and how to work with it. So while the fertility process was about falling pregnant, I can now see that it impacted on other areas...
Linden and Jeanne

Linden and Jeanne

In our fertility process I found dealing with family and friends stressful.  I am an up front kind of guy – so I did not keep our journey secret, and shared openly with my family and friends our process and what we were going through.  Sharing my journey with them for me was easy – but dealing with their varied responses was the hard work.  In particular dealing with their responses every time we had an unsuccessful attempt at conceiving, either through natural cycles or through IVF, was tough on me. When we received a negative result, we would grieve.  Our grief had many emotions – as it always does – including sadness, anger, frustration, resignation and at times despair.  And eventually it would be processed, and we would return to acceptance and facing the decision as to what road forward. When we are with someone who is grieving, we all respond differently.  And with our family and friends we had almost the full range of reactions. Some people felt the grief and sadness strongly themselves – crying, sadness, depression. Some tried to make us feel better – “It will all be ok”, “ There is a reason for this, even if you cannot see it now”, or “Don’t worry, you can always try again.” Some gave us advice – “All you need to do is relax more”, “Next time you need to meditate or pray more”, “ Don’t be so stressed”. Some told us stories – “ When cousin Jenny was going through this she drank wine every night and fell pregnant”, or “ My secretary fell pregnant...