Overcoming the Hurdles of Fertility: Looking Outside the Box

I’ve never been a woman that has based her life on her ticking biological clock, especially in regards to my own maturity or lack there of in the eyes of some. I haven’t always embraced my spirited personality qualities, but thankfully I’ve found a sense of confident acceptance with those qualities,and are here to stay. I’m sure I m not alone in this as I’ve experienced close friends evolution into parenthood who would naturally grow weary and tired of certain activities that involved all night music festivals and furry costumes. I on the other hand was just getting started, and while I too have retired my fairy wings, I could be talked into a “for old times sake”, scenario. The arm twisting involved I imagine would be minimal. You see, I’ve always subscribed to the habits of saying yes to anything that ignites excitement and thrill in my being. One could suggest that my vice is thrill that is delivered through a syringe of soul stimulating experiences, sparking a fiesta of synaptic fireworks of pleasure.

Fearless curiousity is what drives this beastly vessel into the abyss of life!

I’d be lying however if I didn’t admit that at one point I tried to assimilate to the societal norms of women my age. It had a lot to do with finding myself more and more on my own and feeling the need to stay connected with my evolving peer network. I missed them and I missed having shared interests that we no longer seemed to have. You see my story didn’t pan out the way it was supposed to, and everyday I’m thankful it didn’t! I’d be miserable in a prison of life without love, passion, and not to mention glorious mind blowing sex.

But to be perfectly honest almost 5 years ago I left a 15 year marriage in which I produced no more children due to my ex-husbands multiple sclerosis diagnosis. It wasn’t becuase we weren’t able to have children to my knowledge, but I feared the idea then of having a husband debilitated by MS and a new baby. It was a daunting concept and not a step I was brave enough to take as I had experienced single parenthood and struggle before with my daughter. I had essentially wrapped my head around not ever having or wanting more children.

But then life likes to throw you a curve ball or two, and mine came in the form of a new special someone. Interestingly enough, when we began dating, the conversation of children came up and he too had stated he was not interested in having children. I couldn’t have been more excited as I had found the yin to my yang who was also fearless, free and looking for adventure. Early on I envisioned us for the next 10-15 years acting like couple of crazy kids in love with no anchors or responsibilities tying us down. We would look around us and share a sigh of relief that we didn’t have the same lives as everyone else our ages. The world was our oyster and we were ready to conquer and fuck shit up together. The Slim to this Queen, Beyonce to her Jay-Z just living a life of sin, just me and my boyfriend.

Until we fell deeply and utterly in love.

Love will do funny things to a person. Like make you all of a sudden want to procreate at the age of 40 even though you have just sent your one and only child off to university. IVF and fertility treatments start to be considered as a priority over the plastic surgery you’ve been researching and saving up for. In fact, this desire can grow so strong that it becomes the only adventure you want to go on. Holding babies and smelling their sweet breath now provided the same exhilaration that the PK Sound Base used to give me. Furthermore with that being said romping three times a day and 7 nights a week at the swanky Boudoir a la Home Bedroom, a hedonistic vacation it is.

But as I’m fully aware, you can’t always control the story we believe we are meant to live. So after 3 years of trying to conceive and a referral to the fertility clinic, the adventure of parenthood has fallen flat. We have experienced all of the ups and downs privately associated with the disappointment. My partner had already anticipated the emotional spiral from myself in which I often interpreted as lack of faith in my ability to carry a a baby. Respectively though, he was already used to my raw and deeply felt pain associated with the disappointments I had become accustomed too over my lifetime, quipped with unrealized dreams.

He was just being realistic. He too has had his share of disappointments whereby he falls on the other end of the spectrum of often never expecting things to turn out the way they should. I’ve often been critical of this quality because from a dreamers perspective, I’m a believer in manifesting positive outcomes. His realism is what protects his heart and keeps him strong, and in hindsight was only interested in protecting mine too.

Accompanied with heartache and a sense of loss, we turned our attention elsewhere in the hopes of reclaiming that original unique confidence we had in the early years of our relationship.

So we introduced the idea of getting a puppy.

Some would say perhaps as equally as challenging as a baby at times, and others would suggest a good “starter kit” before children. My only fear at this time is what if I get both? The baby would have to go back where it came from, because I’m pretty sure I’m completely in love with our New American Akita that we named Geisha.

All jokes aside we decided to take on our little “baby starter kit” by choosing probably one of the most challenging breeds of dogs. If you are not familiar with American Akita’s here is a bit of insight:

The Akita was never bred to live or work in groups, rather to be alone or in a pair. The Akita is happy to be an only dog, and can be aggressive toward other dogs not in his family group. Properly socialized, an Akita can learn to tolerate other animals, but will most likely try to keep his status as top dog at any cost. The Akita is loyal and affectionate toward his family and friends, but quite territorial about his home and aloof with strangers. They are excellent watchdogs and will only bark when there is truly something amiss.

The large size of the Akita can make him difficult to control and so is not a breed suitable for everyone. He has extreme strength and endurance and needs dedicated training to help him properly channel energy. Being an intelligent breed, however, the Akita can easily become bored with training. He thrives when challenged and given a job to do.

So just as we would be attending our prenatal appointments/classes, we are anxiously awaiting Geisha’s obedience classes. At the ripe age of 8 weeks old and weighing in at approximately a five year old child I already believe she is in the top percentile of her age group.

But who’s bragging. Most definitely this mama right here!

She has the qualities of her mom and dad. The intelligence and beauty of her mother and the confident boldness of her daddy. We couldn’t have created a more perfect little girl. Try to tell me otherwise.

And while you may already be thinking that I’ve completely come undone here me out. I may have minimized my hurt and disappointment significantly with regards to our fertility issues. Its a subject thats often brought up whereby the pressure to produce is on and its not as a result of not trying. There are deeper emotions attached to not being able to conceive, in addition to creating strain in relationships.

I came across an article that hit a few nails on the head for me with regards to those complicating stress factors involved with fertility issues and relationships.

The Impact of Infertility on Your Self-Esteem

My Body Has Failed Me.

“My body has failed me.” When forced to face that reality, it’s very common to feel as if your body has failed you in a basic way.

We know that one in 8 women will struggle to conceive. You just never expect that you might be that one. When forced to face that reality, it’s very common to feel as if your body has failed you in a basic way. It’s a hit to your self-esteem. That feeling of failure can often produce anxiety, regret – for not seeking treatment or answers sooner, or a sense of self-blame. It also produces a sense of shame which can lead to isolation and even depression.

Why Hide The Struggle?

In a culture that highly prizes family-building, couples who struggle to conceive or to carry a baby to term often report feeling frustrated with the assumptions and questions friends and family have for them regarding when they plan to start a family. Confiding in those closest to them often yields unsolicited advice, intrusive questions and horror stories of other couples’ struggles. When one is feeling hurt and raw about the inability to conceive, it often feels wiser or safer to protect oneself and not share at all or to let others assume that she doesn’t plan on having children. Keeping a painful secret this big can feel like another blow to your self-esteem.

In fact, that same survey found that one-third of patients reported that their “ability to confide in others” decreased when they started to struggle to get pregnant and more than half of all the couples said it was “easier just to tell people that they were not planning to have children.” Being inauthentic about your hopes and dreams with folks you care about can be yet another hit to your already-teetering sense of self.

I Feel Depressed. Am I Depressed?

That need to guard oneself coupled with the retreating in isolation and shame can seriously impact one’s mental and emotional health. According to Dr. Ali Domar, “40% of women had significant symptoms of anxiety or depression at their very first visit to an infertility specialist, and the percentage increases as the complexity of treatment increases.” Additionally, the symptoms of depression rise for many women after they’ve experienced an unsuccessful IVF cycle as well. Depression is yet another serious blow to your self-esteem. Fragile emotions, layered in with hormones and fertility medications all come together to make you feel awful about yourself and your circumstances.

Now My Marriage is Struggling.

Many couples reveal that the tension of infertility has created a lack of spontaneity, feelings of unattractiveness, and difficulty maintaining emotional and sexual intimacy.

When a couple is struggling to achieve the dream of building a family together and emotions are raw, it can strain the marriage. Sex becomes routine and clinical. Conversations can be tender or downright inflammatory. When you add the layers of fatigue from other folks’ often unwanted input and the inclination toward isolation or depression, it’s a recipe for marital discord. While many patients report that the struggles to create a family have drawn them closer as a couple, many couples also reveal that the tension of infertility has created a lack of spontaneity, feelings of unattractiveness, and difficulty maintaining emotional and sexual intimacy. Those feelings are,  again, more hits to your self-esteem. It’s not impossible to overcome this tension but it definitely requires time and attention to each other’s needs through a supportive connection with your spouse.

Where There is Fur There is Love

So at this stage I’m sure you are probably feeling duped into believing that this was going to be a fluffy funny post about puppies and rainbows I assure you it still is! I could not feel happier at this point despite our difficulties to conceive. What I have come to realize is that giving love to any life whether it be animal or human can open up parts of us and invite healing in where its most needed. The idea of caring for something that is 100% counting on you to provide it with not only its basic needs but nurture its overall growth and learning can provide the same or similar satisfaction.

Without further Adieu, I’m happy to share the beginning of our fur baby parenting journey. Brace yourself for many more proud parent fur baby posts as we embrace the joy that this little gal has already brought to our lives.

Here is our “Fur Baby Birth Story”

Make sure you Follow Geisha’s Journey on Instagram: GeishatheAkitaGuida

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