There was much here that I could relate to, and I thought the story was well told, with some sharp insights into infertility and why it is such a painful experience. I also appreciated the author's willingness to discuss the possibility that her story wouldn't end happily. Sample quotes:
...infertile women and men do have a story to tell, one that's important to share in our baby-obsessed culture. And it doesn't always have a happy ending.(Spoiler alert: Hers does.)
I genuinely tried to envision a meaningful life without children. I would become a radical environmental activist. I’d move to New York City. I’d travel. I’d throw myself into my career and work my way to the top of a major magazine. I’d move to Africa and work for a good cause.
Was there a niche in this world where few people would have children, want them or even talk about them? I could imagine only one: the adult film industry. Unfortunately, I’m woefully underqualified.(OK, I've never heard THAT one before...!)
And, towards the end (added emphasis mine):
At a recent retirement party for one of the nurse practitioners at his Hamilton office, Dr. Stopps — who has worked with thousands of prospective parents over the past 38 years and knows pretty much everything there is to know about infertility — admitted to me that the one thing he doesn’t understand is the persistence. Why do people keep trying? Why do they put themselves through so much?
My answer: It’s more than wanting a baby. It’s wanting to fit in, wanting to graduate through the stages of life, wanting to fulfil the dreams of marriage and family, wanting some piece of yourself to remain after your death. It’s also about being caught up in the medical regimen — remembering to take your medication, give yourself an injection, drink your tea, chart your temperature, make an appointment. It’s the buildup, the effort, the letdown. It’s the biological time bomb ticking away, threatening to blow up the entire plan, hammering its steely message into your head: you can’t, you can’t, you can’t. It’s holding on to the hope that maybe if you persist, maybe you still can.
The stigma of infertility is still with me. I am haunted by what would have happened if our third IVF had failed. And although we have a baby, as a couple, we are still infertile. But I think the experience has also deepened my compassion for others who feel isolated, set apart from the course of “normal” life, unsure how to get back on track. Divorce, illness, depression, addiction, death of a loved one — infertility is a snap compared to some of these challenges. But in my own way, now I get it.This has been my experience too. Thank you, Jocelyn Bell.