Fertility stories: A woman yet to 'graduate'
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I'm a 35-year-old woman and I feel I am yet to graduate. But not in the academic sense.
I was 10 years old when I realised I wanted to be a mother. Somehow my intuition was deep and I just couldn't imagine a future without children.
Growing up I had a large collection of dolls. I would rock them, hold them close and I vividly remember thinking to myself that one day I would have my own child. Not only would I be a great mother, I would be the best mother there was.
As the years went by, I graduated into womanhood and thought mother nature had done exactly what had been intended, and that the rest would just follow.
Seven years later I drag myself to yet another fertility consultation. I suddenly realise this is why I feel so miserable about not being able to conceive. I haven't graduated into the next phase of womanhood.
As the penny drops, I look around the waiting room and I notice a young couple in their early 20s. My imagination starts to wander as I try to figure out why they are here. I notice her anxious, worried eyes as she tightens her grip of her partner. He pats her hand reassuringly, feeling the same emotions, but trying to be her rock.
She then stares at the clock, which is ticking loudly, a reminder that time moves quickly in the fertility world.
I remember that stage, when you have no idea what the heck you are doing; it is information overload with all those silly acronyms and the word "infertility" is treated like a virus.
I would love to go over, give her a hug, and tell her everything will be OK. But, the world of infertility is such a private and taboo subject I don't want to make her feel any more uncomfortable than she already is. She doesn't know it yet, but she has much to learn.
But that's OK, it's all part of the journey.
As their name is called and they are quickly whisked away, I say a little prayer that she is successful in her first round of IVF, as nothing is more painful than hearing it's a negative.
I look to the next couple, definitely older, I would say in their early 40s. I'm taking a wild guess that this may be her third or forth cycle as she looks focused while frantically scribbling in her notepad. Her big folder looks close to collapsing as their medical records are well stacked.
As they are escorted through the double doors I feel nervous for them, this could be their last chance.
In the past I have put my hopes, dreams and immense trust (not to forget thousands of dollars) into thinking my graduation was solely based around fertility clinics. Don't get me wrong, they play a vital role whilst riding this rollercoaster, but just like any student I must study study study, because at the end of the day no-one will want this more than me.
Knowledge makes me stronger and having a plan helps me to move forward and get back up when the world around me feels like it's crashing down. I researched different clinics, different protocols, dietary supplements and healthy living. I've got to know my body and mind so I can make good decisions regarding my physical and mental health.
As the new year is upon me, I welcome what it will teach me. I look at it not as pain but as an opportunity to learn more about the world of infertility and myself.
I trust in God or the universe that my day will come when it's supposed to. As each year passes I become more at peace with myself and accept that I am still very much a woman, just one yet to graduate.