For all the talking I do, I’m still an extremely private person. But for the stigma attached to this topic, I feel it’s important to talk about this.
We live in a pronatalist world where it is still frowned upon to not have kids or not want one. Until few years back I was happy being child-free. I love children but I have been happy how life has been, until slowly without my realisation there started forming a little void in my life. I was still having fun but I was becoming more and more aware of a new need arising from within. It didn’t take long to realise that unbeknownst to me, my mind was preparing to take on parenthood. Call it human nature or our innate urge to nurture the next generation, my husband and I decided that we were now ready to take the next step!
But like a slap on our faces, God served us a large slice of humble pie, making us realise that it is not Us who get to decide when to have kids or whether we can have one or not. For all the years of trying to avoid pregnancy, you realise that it’s not that easy after all! Not atleast for you. And the realisation can really mess with you.
They say that you are ‘BLESSED’ with a baby. Now I truly understand why. Don’t be delusional thinking that it is You who creates life. Bringing life into this world is an act of higher power which we have no control on.
But as arrogant as human beings always are, we made it look like parenthood is a choice. Some conceive effortlessly, forgetting the myriad factors that must align for a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby. Most people just look at parenthood like the next obvious step in life after getting married- like a checkbox if you will; without even giving it much thought as to why they want to bring a life into this world or if this is what they truly desire. We have been primed to think this way (or rather not think). We celebrate mothers and diss women who can’t or don’t want to have children. It’s as if motherhood is the rite of passage for being a woman. And we don’t talk about infertility; as if it’s a disease which makes us less of a woman. Men face similar discrimination but come on, why blame men when you can always blame a woman!
Once we knew this was our calling, and once we embarked on this journey, we were surprised to know how common it is all around us, and yet no one ever talks about this! 1 in 6 people in the world experience infertility and yet we never hear people discussing about this. Somehow, human beings have attached a sense of shame to it and would even go so far as to label you a ‘defective piece’!
It doesn’t have to be, but all this stigma makes infertility a very lonely journey; which is why we decided that irrespective of the outcome we will always be open to discuss about it, because you never know who among us is silently suffering through it all.
As we did that, I found so many women around me who have gone through this. This decision of opening up did not come without its challenges. On one hand we received a lot of support from family and friends, but on the other there were also people who thought they could give you unsolicited advices just because you went ahead and revealed a very private information about yourself.
And there are also some other times when you just don’t want to talk about it – as constantly talking about this subject only reminds you of the pain you are going through and running away from.
Fertility struggles can be long, messy, unpredictable and complicated, and it is seldom same for two people. Due to limited real-world support, many women turn to online communities for guidance and a virtual shoulder to cry on. Women from all walks of life converge here – Some have experienced loss, some have no idea what a second line on a pregnancy test looks like. Some are in their early twenties and some who are holding on to hope in forties. Some are single independent women and some are trying to bring a third person in with surrogacy. Some are just starting their journey and some are veterans in this who have provided knowledge and support to fellow strugglers only to see them pass by. Every day you hear a new medical terminology or someone suffering from a condition you have never ever heard of. But all these women are united by only one dream. As patriarchal as this world is, I do feel bad for men because there just isn’t any such network for them. Many grapple with shyness, denial, or toxic masculinity, silently bearing their burdens.
I will make a separate post for this one as it’s a vast topic, but after 3 rounds of IVF and 3 frozen embryo transfers, my husband and I are finally blessed with a beautiful baby Boy!
This journey has been an incredibly tough one from conception, through pregnancy, delivery and beyond. We have been on the edge almost every other day. Our miracle baby fought through some incredibly challenging times in his first month of birth- which we spent mostly in hospitals and emergency wards. But we consider ourselves the fortunate ones because there are hundreds of couples who go through way more pain than us- bearing it all in silence (thanks to our society!) and are still somewhere waiting for a miracle to happen.
Hoping there is only up from here and praying for the happiness of anyone who is on this journey. If you are one of them – please know that you can reach out any time. You are doing great! Your body is wonderful and magical. It is on your side and it is doing everything it can, for you. And please remember that you are not alone – you just need to look around and reach out ❤
How you can help
For people who have never dealt with it but want to support others , here are a few pointers-
- Never ask unless you are told.
- If you have children- great! But please don’t ask others when they are going to have theirs (same goes with questions about marriage). No, you are not a well-wisher! Please don’t give that excuse for asking intruding questions.
- Not everyone’s goal is to bear children. Families come in all forms and sizes.
- Just because you have kids doesn’t mean that the ones who don’t - have an easier life. You have no idea what is going on in other people’s lives.
- Never give stupid suggestions. Or any suggestions for that matter. Sometimes people just want someone to share. They are not looking for any advices.
- We know your children are adorable but please try to cut down on your urge to talk about them continuously. You never know how it might trigger someone unknowingly.
And finally, if you have children – consider yourself lucky and never ever resent them, even for a moment – you are living someone’s dream life!
Having a healthy baby is a blessing. During our days in the hospital, we came across so many children with special needs. Parents always give their everything and unconditionally love their kids, but their pain is unimaginable.
A lot of celebrities have come out and discussed their journeys as one of the ways to normalise it and empower others. But in a world where laws are made governing women’s bodies and pregnancies, and inexperienced people have a lot of time and strong opinions, we still have a long way to go.