I have been meaning to write this post for quite some time. It's one that is close to my heart and one I feel is glazed over. Yet, when I have been messaged on Instagram, many people have asked me how I cope with relationships as they have had some negative experiences and found that it has added to their worries, concerns and general stress. I am going to share my experiences without airing my dirty laundry too much but in the hope that people can relate and feel that they're not alone with this.
I started fertility treatment back with Arlo and during the nine months struggle towards going to Greece with the NHS it definitely had an impact. Again, last year it had an impact but more so because my focus was also on Arlo so I didn't have time for any bullshit- and turns out there was a lot of it thrown our way.
I am super lucky in that I have some close friends. I am not one to spread myself too thinly and although sometimes I am rubbish at keeping up with DMs and social media messages (I appreciate them all of course I do) but I am also shite at texting back my friends... This is especially the case, I am sure we can all relate, when I am feeling vulnerable. I just don't have the words and I close off. I think in fertility this is completely normal. Luckily, I have some friends who persevered with me and continued to message, tell me they are thinking of me, one friend insisted on coming round regularly and one time sat on my kitchen floor and said I didn't even need to chat to her but she was coming anyway. Another turned up with flowers, one sent me a hug in a box. These are the friends that count. The thing is, you are likely to lose friends in fertility. I think especially ones who don't try to understand. This sounds harsh I know- but seriously some people are busy themselves and have their own crap and don't see things from your perspective. I am in the middle of trying to work-out a situation from last year still- this friend was livid, fertility got in the way...So my advice, from my perspective, is to keep friends around you who persevere and know they matter and mean well. Those who send you a card, a text and say "Hey, life's super shit right now just letting you know I am here" those friends are wonderful. I didn't close myself off completely because this isn't good for you. I met up with friends and tried to make and effort but I know not as much as I normally do.
I always say it, people do mean well, but sometimes don't do well. It's particularly hard if you have a family member say for example- "Well, it may happen without fertility." Well, I am going through thousands of pounds of treatment and it isn't soooo...thanks for the crap advice- I will continue to lie back and think of England and hope that God touches me in this time and some how Harry Potter rocks up with his magical wand and creates a growing embryo in my uterus. I mean, there will be those family members who think they can advise but they can't. Particularly hard when it's family- esh- I am not one to share advice but for me- I had a focus and an end goal and no amount of pressure and stupid advice was going to help. I needed space (a big one for me personally), time and some understanding. I think if you are honest about that, family should understand and if they don't, well then there's time to sort that out later and you will hopefully have friends and other family members who have your back.
The biggest in how fertility can affect a relationship. I have read about people divorcing through this. I have read about people going through it, having the children and still struggling. I have read about others where it has made them closer. My husband and I found the first time round made us, in some respects stronger, but in other respects it created a barrier. I wanted a baby, he felt useless. A really, really hard concept to get your head around. This past year has pushed our relationship again. Not least because of the fertility but because some other people in our lives couldn't understand what we were pushing for and how. Now we are in the pregnancy, things have become much, much easier. But, me going to Greece every 5 mins and leaving my husband and child was not easy. It was better when they were with me but we could only afford that twice. Then, financially the pressure was building as well as the fact I wanted a baby and again- he felt helpless. We had two arguments where I lost the plot a little. And, you know, I think that's OK. One thing we had to remind each other to do was to talk, build bridges, move forward and make plans together. This definitely helped. Are we stronger for it? Fucking yes- the stress was unreal but we are still together and still mesmerised by how strong we both were pushing through it. We look back and go- what the hell was that year! How did we do it?! Do we need to continue to move forward and mend our hearts through what was a tough year? Yes- absolutely, our hearts were broken many times.
So, is it OK to switch off from the world, life in general and feel like you are floating in a weird bubble where your life feels like it is on hold. Yep- that's OK darling.
That's OK. But remember, there will be some people who support you no end and others who just don't get it because sometimes if you haven't been in that situation you can't. That's OK too. But please remember to surround yourself in love, positivity and remember to talk to those you feel you can talk to. Even if it isn't about fertility.
(card available here)
Lots of Love