“I love you and that’s the beginning and end of everything” F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s our anniversary today. We’ve had 14 years together and eight of them as man and wife, becoming Mr & Mrs on June 4th 2011.

Whenever I think of that most glorious and wondrous day my heart glows, my soul smiles and I remember its utter perfection. I beamed and he grinned and we were surrounded with glee and joy and wishes of the warmest kind.

And then, as you all know, things didn’t go to plan. For no matter how much we loved, nor how much love we had, we remained empty, unable to create the child we craved.

During our darkest days I’d question whether we’d used our ‘happiness quota’ on that one day, and weren’t entitled to more. However, I learned that wasn’t the case, but rather that it was circumstantial and merely just how it was. We hadn’t jinxed anything, we hadn’t wronged the universe and, whilst it felt like a punishment, we weren’t actually being castigated. It was simply our life.

Trying to maintain a relationship whilst living with infertility is not easy. It’s incredibly, heart-breakingly tough, and there were times when I didn’t know how we were going to survive. We’d been so full of hopes and dreams, plans and secret promises, which were forced to remain in the imaginings of a parallel life, shattered in the reality we were living. I felt tricked, cheated and conned; the rest of the couples we knew had been bestowed with their most precious of gifts, yet we were left aching, wanting, longing. I sometimes feel an overwhelming sadness, that so much of our newly wedded bliss was spent in yearning and sufferance and pain.

Discovering we couldn’t have children naturally, gave a very real meaning to the vow we’d made: “For better, for worse”, because even when we thought life really couldn’t get any worse; it did. Our first cycle of ICSI failed and we lost my father-in-law. Our second cycle was also unsuccessful and this time my Grandmother passed away. We then battled for further months experiencing more negative pregnancy tests, a miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. At some points it truly felt as though we were perpetually waiting for the better, wondering if those days would ever return.

I’m often asked if we’re stronger, because of what we had to face and, in all honesty, I don’t know the answer to that.

I think we’re different people to the ones it’s possible we’d have become. We’ve definitely grown together, but it’s my hope that would have happened anyway. We’ve learned to find joy in unexpected places, that life doesn’t always go to plan, and we now know an awful lot about how babies are made! We’re hugely fortunate to live a life which is so blessed, but it is different to the one we’d always imagined for ourselves, and I do still carry the burdens of loss. I’ve often heard variations on the quote; “happiness cannot exist without sorrow”, and that certainly feels quite apt.

Infertility stole much from us and shaped the whole course of our life. We didn’t always handle it with aplomb or grace, yet we did manage to get through it side by side, always together, forever as us; a couple, of whom I am immeasurably proud to be one half of.

But we’re just one story. A solo voice in the sea of anguish which is caused by being forced to live childness not by choice. We also, eventually, did get the ending we’d so desperately hoped for.

Not all are as fortunate.

Circa 3.5million people, in the UK, are known to live with infertility, and around a quarter of a million pregnancies end in miscarriage, per year, with a further 11,000 ectopic. A huge amount of heartache is known, intimately, by many couples fighting for a child, fighting for a chance and fighting for their relationship.

I always try to write to support those living with infertility, but it’s also my aim to help educate, inform, and increase awareness for the family and friends who play such a huge role in supporting us. To understand a little more about how it may feel, for someone who lives with infertility, then please do look through my infertility route and visit my resources page, which provides details about other blogs, websites and charities who are also there to help.

2 thoughts on ““I love you and that’s the beginning and end of everything” F. Scott Fitzgerald

  1. Happy anniversary to a beautiful strong couple! And thank you so much for this blog post. It’s funny how the shadow of infertility never quite leaves you. Even after two miracle babies, I still feel heavy with the feelings of shame and guilt connected to their creation. Shame: that we were not like ‘normal couples’ in the journey we took — and Guilt: that my husband had to go through this with me; if he’d have chosen a different woman, he would have had the carefree version we all dream of.

    I’m also shocked at how much it still stings when another friend tells of their ‘happy accident’, or how they ‘planned it, but had no idea it would happen so quickly’ — I feel like such an ugly person when I still get hit with envy, despite how utterly fortunate I’ve been to have had children myself, when so many others are denied that privilege. Especially as for a while, I knew what it was to walk beside them in that journey. It’s not the existence of other parents’ babies that I envy anymore, but the experience of conception and pregnancy that we were denied. I have never felt such fear and anxiety as I did in my pregnancies — knowing how precious, delicate, fragile and longed-for those pregnancies were meant I couldn’t dare let myself relax or enjoy any of it. It was cripplingly scary and we both hesitated in celebrating anything too much.

    Today I had my 8 week post-partum check, and there are (as expected), a whole heap of problems to muddle through, and the issue of my ‘broken’ reproductive system rearring its ugly head again. We got there, but our best shot was to have our desired two as close together as possible, and the price has been the toll it’s taken on my body. We now face the next stage of medical headache, in recovering with all my body’s complications at play, and figuring out the next stage in managing PCOS and endo and cervical cancer risk after having our family. It’s not a journey that’s over yet, which isn’t the way I’d imagined it would go. ‘Settling down and enjoying our family with no more stress’ was how I figured it would play out, even though we always knew the next round of surgery and possibly a hysterectomy was on the cards (hence why trying to conceive became so urgent), but the journey to having children became so consuming that I forgot all about the ‘what comes next’ part, and that it might actually affect some of those early days (months? years?) of parenting.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, and giving me somewhere safe to share ours. I do believe that love is the beginning and end of everything. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry to hear of your continued health worries Kate and do hope that your body recovers and heals better than is thought and that you find a way to navigate these next stages which you are comfortable with. I’ll be thinking of you. Thank you for sharing your story. I firmly believe that it’s only when uniting and speaking out together that we can all truly feel less alone x

      Liked by 1 person

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