Stop asking people when they're having kids - A blog about infertility

Stop asking people when they're having kids - A blog about infertility

Apr 18, '24

If you have ever asked “So when are you two going to have kids then?” then this is a message for you.

That question is like a knife through my and my partner’s hearts.

In many instances, infertility is a silent creeping thief waiting until you’re ready to start “The Fun Part” (another knife) to show itself. There may be indications in your existing medical conditions but “give it six months and get in touch” is a hope that lingers with you long after it should. For some, fertility treatment is not an option and this comes with its own struggles. So please be aware that this is just one person’s experience of living with infertility.

I found the most difficult part was waiting. Between the struggles faced by the NHS and the fact that the reproductive system needs a delicate balance of treatment and time off, the waiting seems endless. And with waiting comes googling (please don’t do it), anxiety, self-loathing. The waiting is all-consuming.

Then, the medication. The doctors know what they are doing but every body is different and needs something different to coax it into action. The symptoms gave me whiplash. From chemical menopause to follicle-stimulation and trigger injections for egg retrieval, I felt my mind was not my own. Add in people regularly looking inside your body with a probe AND somehow attempting to retain some kind of normality in the rest of your life. Exhausting is an understatement.

Don’t get me wrong, the process can have its exciting moments. The start of a new stage of the treatment after waiting for what feels like an eternity, is a buzz. Receiving compliments on your womb lining or egg follicles are things I never thought I’d feel pride about, but you have to take what you can get sometimes!

Ultimately for me and many others, the fertility treatment comes with disappointment at some point. There are so many stages where something can go wrong and we just have to pick ourselves up and start again. Somehow. I saw it somewhere described as a cyclical grief. That’s probably the closest explanation for how it felt for me. It sits in your chest and waits. It doesn’t ever leave you and your life just goes on around it.

And that’s it, the hardest part aside from the waiting. Life just goes on. Whether it’s in the way you’re hoping for or not.

At the beginning of my experience, I felt like everyone else was “normal” getting pregnant with ease and I was the outlier. It’s hard to imagine anyone else having to go through the same thing and the world looks a lot crueler and lonelier when you’re going through fertility treatment. In reality, it was all around me. Countless different faces in the waiting rooms, a friend of a friend who is experiencing similar, it’s so much more common than you imagine.

This isn’t just my story, a version of it belongs to my partner too. He may not have been through the same physical steps I have but he felt a version of them. He carries his worries and grief just like I do. He dreams of having children as much as I do.

It’s estimated that 1 in 6 heterosexual couples in the UK will have trouble conceiving. So next time you want to ask someone why they don’t have kids yet, please just don’t.


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