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How do I keep my relationships with other fertile people going

(24 Posts)
kisslikelovers Tue 08-Sep-09 11:57:29

when I am tying myself in knots about my own (unexplained) infertility?

I started trying to get pregnant a couple of years ago and have only managed to get pregnant once which I then miscarrie. I am generally fine and am keeping on trying but every time I get my period I seem to sink and it takes a good couple of days to get myself out of the hole I fall into. I also have a tendancy to wallow a bit. I have a small family and a few close friends and as luck would have it almost all of them are about to give birth or have more than one child or plans for another one - I think we are all at that age. I have at times found this hard to deal with.

I have got myself into a situation where everyone who is close to me knows that I have been trying for kids and also know I miscarried. I'm also getting a lot of 'so when will you have kids then' talk from work people. I feel like I am unable to escape the label of 'the one who has trouble TTC and had a miscarriage' and I feel like people really don't know what to say to me anymore. No one really offers to have the conversation with me but I think a lot of talk does go on behind my back. I think that they have exhausted all the 'it will happen' and 'won't it be nice for our kids to grow up together' stuff because the longer I fail the more obvious it is that it won't happen and our kids won't be close. I think perhaps some people just don't know what to say because perhaps anything they say could be wrong. I struggle along to family events and to lunch dates with my pregnant friends but I am now completely unable to explain to anyone else how I feel about my own situation compared to theirs. I am of course completely capable of going to these things without causing a scene, I have become an expert in hiding my feelings for the sake of others, but I am tearing myself up inside. (please no one tell me to relax)

I am struggling really badly today. Probably just a dip which I will get over but I am spending a lot of time crying to myself and feeling massively bitter about the success of other people.I am getting to the point where I want to be blunt with other people but I think it would probably make them feel awful if I did.

What do other people do? How can I escape this label of the poor inertile one, what can I say to my friends and family - at the moment I just seem to rant to my mum all the time.

TwoPersephone Tue 08-Sep-09 12:57:35



It can seem as if everyone is fertile cant it. When you get talking you often find long complicated histories of miscarriage and periods of infertility. I know this is my case, and to most people we must look as if we are the perfect 2.4 etc, but we once struggled a lot.

I hope someone who can help will be along soon.

kisslikelovers Tue 08-Sep-09 13:18:46

thanks smile none of my family or close friends have any history of infertility or miscarriages though, they all seem to get pregnant whenever they want to.. I wrote this meassage, went to the loo and got my period. It sucks. I am fed up with being labeled, I feel like I am wearing a badge.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 08-Sep-09 14:14:36

Hi KLL,

I am subfertile and I had to have fertility treatment in order to become a parent.

You may want to take a look at this website detailed below as it may also help you with your feelings too:-

www.infertilitynetworkuk.com

Did you receive adequate support following your miscarriage; often people can shy away and not know what to say. You may also want to talk to the Miscarriage Association too.

With regards to your subfertility have you sought help from your GP to get a referral to a gynae at a hospital's subfertility unit?. If you have not already done this I would seriously consider doing so as soon as you feel able. Both people can equally contribute to subfertility, subfertility is not the sole preserve of the woman.

With best wishes

Attila x

kisslikelovers Tue 08-Sep-09 14:27:50

hi there. Thanks Attila, I am a regular poster and have appreciated your advice previously. I am quite pragmatic about the miscarriage and although it really does upset me that I had the experience I have been able to move on from it. I am already under the care of my local NHS IVF unit. I think what I need is some help dealing with my fertility issues and coming to terms with the fact that

a. I will never have children
b. I will always be seen or thought of as the person in my family who couldn't have children.
c. I will be treated differently by people because of the way they now view me.

I feel like this experience has made me a different person and I am somewhat lost. People are defining me differently and I will never get back what I once was, carefree and happy.

kisslikelovers Wed 09-Sep-09 08:31:07

hopeful bump...

I need to learn to move on because I am wasting years fretting about something which very likely will not happen and I don't want to look back and wonder where those years went.

WesternBelle Wed 09-Sep-09 09:03:28

It's very hard for you and it sounds like you are doing an amazing job in coping as well as you have with pg friends etc.

What about counselling, perhaps that could help you to find a way of living in something approaching peace regarding this matter, whatever the future may bring?

I would make a statement to friends and family that you have decided to stop TTC for a while to give yourselves a break from it all and you'll revisit it again in perhaps a year, year and a half after you have had some mental space. (Obviously you'll be continuing on yout TTC journey as usual, perhaps with some counselling as well, but that way, you'll buy yourself some time and privacy).

As for your friends etc all having had very straightforward times TTC with no miscarriages - I doubt that very much, there will be some but for reasons best known to themselves they aren't sharing.

I would keep going, you have conceived once so there is hope, there are lots of people on here who have conceived after all seemed lost (most recently lissielou's journey for example). But do consider the counselling so you are mentally prepared for whatever happens. All the best x

quitefondofcake Wed 09-Sep-09 09:18:03

Had to post. Infertility is one of the hardest things I ever went through. What you are feeling is absolutely normal for the situation - which is horrible. It is ok to feel it is horrible. For most other awful situations you go through in life like bereavement or serious illness (I have experience of both...) people are sympathetic, careful of what they say and anxious to help.

When I was TTC (six years, five IVFs, one miscarriage) I got heartily sick of going to Christenings and having friend's mothers (I had no idea they even KNEW) telling me to relax, adopt, basically just get over it and move on.

I have to confess, I kept my distance from pg friends when I found it tough going and cultivated relationships with people with no children or who just didn't know my situation. I missed the Christening of a good friend's baby because I thought I would spend the day in tears. But I then joined an online forum (IVF connections.com) and met others through that in the same boat. It was such a relief to have discussions with people where, for once, I was the norm.

Now, years later I have an almost seven year old through IVF. We were then lucky enough to have two 'surprise' pgs (very surprise bearing in mind we both had serious fertility issues) and have a five and two year old. I also count as my closest friends two of the girls I met through the forum .

Please don't make what is already hard much much harder by beating yourself up over your feelings. And do tell your friends you are finding it hard. It's great that you have your mum to confide in, mine was dreadful and now spends her time saying that obviously I had never needed fertility treatment as we had two pgs after....

I hope I have helped and not said anything wrong (this is my first post). Take care of yourself.

kisslikelovers Wed 09-Sep-09 14:38:52

Thank you for understanding.

I am in my late thirties so I'm finding it really hard to know when to stop trying as I feel I am running out of time. A break from TTC is not really possible. Even if I did take a break I would still be aware of ovulation and still be upset when my period arrived. I tried to explain to my husband that people saying to me 'you will do it' and 'it will happen' becomes very frustrating and is a bit like telling the worlds worst runner that they can win the 800 metres at the olympics even though they have consistantly been placed last.

I think you are right about counselling and I did persue this with the GP but then got pregnant and thought all my problems had been solved. I will go and see them again. I don't think IVF is an option for us as I just can't afford it.

How do you all cope with super fertile family members? I can only see the situation getting worse rather than better as they continue to have children. Of course I can't stop them but it still hurts.

alison56 Wed 09-Sep-09 20:27:12

A friend of mine tried for years to get pregnant. She was undergoing IVF when I was TTc my first child.

Unfortunately, her IVF was unsuccessful. She decided not to try agion but did decide to adopt.

She now has the most adorable son who came to her at 12 months. He is absolutely beautiful and she is very much a mother, certainly not a "failure".

She also felt our children would never be "close" but in fact we ended up going to the same playgroups.

Funny how things work out. They are over the moon with their little boy and hoping to adopt a second.

mummytowillow Wed 09-Sep-09 20:49:06

Oh Kisslikelovers I really feel for you sad

I have been through infertility and its torture, listening to people telling you 'to relax and it will happen' when they don't have a clue whats happening is awful, I used to just smile sweetly and bite my tongue, but inside I wanted to throttle them. One day I was at at BBQ and some woman told me I needed to get a move on or I would be too old, I had had a drink and told her I couldn't have children, she nearly fell through the floor, serves her right for being so damn rude!

I had counselling after my 2nd IVF ended in MC and it helped immensely, so I would recommend it if you can get some. Also I found www.fertilityfriends.co.uk to be my lifeline, the people on their are fantastic and there is always someone to give you words of comfort.

If you would like my mobile number please send me a private message and I am more than willing to chat to you?

MrsTittleMouse Wed 09-Sep-09 22:06:26

You are not alone, and there are a lot of us that have kept our infertility a secret in real life. I could be a friend of yours. We kept up the pretense that we didn't want children, and mostly people left us alone. Apart from the woman who basically acted as though motherhood had propelled her from mere mortal into the sanctified priestesshood of Being A Mother. She suddenly understood the true Meaning of Life, you know? hmmangry

I kept away from pregnant women and babies as much as I could. Lots of times I bit my tongue and smiled and nodded and went home to cry.

I think that the idea to pretend that you are taking a break is a good one. It gives you space where the expectation of other people will be off you. But you can continue quietly TTC with your DH and feel that the process just belongs to the two of you again.

laurielou Thu 10-Sep-09 08:40:21

KLL I couldn't leave this thread without commenting. You sound incredibly brave to me.

My DP & I are currently TTC our first - I'm 37, we've been trying for 2 years & are starting to go through a series of tests. Sat we've been invited to a BBQ with friends, all of whom have children. What should be a fun day is filling me with dread. Friends have stopped asking us about children - I've always pretended I didn't want them. But seeing all our friends with children is really, really hard.

Sorry, this sounds like a hijack - I just wanted to say that you are not alone. Other people on this thread seem to have offered far more useful advice!

I wish well, x

fishie Thu 10-Sep-09 08:51:19

kisslikelovers it is so hard when people make assumptions or say tactless things. i have a colleague who goes on about her 'infertileness' she has got three children under 5!!

i have been ttc for about 7 years now and have managed one child but it looks like that will be it. i let people assume that i am in full charge of my family planning. sometimes i might say 'yes that woud be nice' to questions about a second child but as ds (and me) get older people are less likely to ask.

go back to gp, find out more about your options. i am 40 now and really should have done something more about it and hope i won't regret my inaction in the future.

Kally Thu 10-Sep-09 09:58:53

Well I had [problems too. 8 years of miscarriages and endless treatments private and non private. SO I know what you feeling even if it was moons ago.

I was living in a country where everyone has lots of kids as well... that made things worse, especially when every one knows everyone. Most people that were close to me knew my situation and were tactful about it. But it was when I had almost given up that I found a particular Dr who 'got me pregnant' and it carried. That was after 9 years of trying! It was hormonal and back then it was tricky business to get sorted. I had to take pills for the first trimester. Then about a year later (after DD1 was born) I fell pregnant again with DS1. Then nothing for about 12 years...I never took contraceptives, just wasn't very fertile. Then 12 years later (when I was 41 hmm) had DD3! Then after that I got pregnant 3 times!!! I didn't have them as it was too risky at that age and to be honest it knackered me having DD3 at 41 (Bless her)...
But truly, don't get dispondent. Try to focus on other things and try to back burner the whole thing for a while. Give you 'need' a rest. Try to pinpoint what is going on with yourself, I haven't read all the posts but have you had hormonal tests? Partner been tested?
Other women were always very compassionate towards me at that time. Husband suffered a bit of cruel jesting when some mate of his offered to show him how it was done. Needless to say H almost knocked him off his feet at that remark angry. Just lift yourself up from it a bit and try to be less obsessed with it all. Give yourself a rest from the 'want' of it. Good luck x

zoejeanne Thu 10-Sep-09 10:11:35

kisslikelovers your post made me feel so sad. Although I am fortunate to not understand what you are going through, I do have a close friend who has similarly struggled with conceiving and I have been on the other side of it. From my point of view, I often didn't know what to say so tended to take her lead and talk about it when she did and not mention it otherwise. But it does sometimes become the elephant in the room.

I know that what your friends are feeling in no way compares to what you've been through, but if they are like me then will feel so torn between their own joy for their pregnancy/children and feeling of helplessness for you. It helped me that my friend is outspoken enough to communicate her feelings to us so we knew when she was happy to discuss it and when she wasn't. Would you feel able to similarly lay your cards on the table? It probably would be an awkward conversation to have, but I'm sure that it would clear the air with your friends and workmates and allow everyone to be more relaxed and open, rather than feeling the need to be tactful (which, tbh, never really works as words always come out wrong)

Best wishes for the future, whatever it may hold x

kisslikelovers Thu 10-Sep-09 14:09:41

Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories and experience.

I am feeling better today and am trying to remind myself that even though I always do feel very down in the dumps when I get my period, it does pass. I don't spend the whole month in this kind of dispair thankfully. For those who asked I have had tests as has my partner and the infertility is unexplained. I have been prescribed Clomid and this is probably contributing to my emotional state too. Taking Clomid also means I have to be much more mechanical about having sex at the right times which means I am not really able to relax about it all. I have one or two obstacles to overcome in the next few weeks, not least my best friend giving birth to her first child. We were both so excited when I got pregnant, thinking that I wouldn't be far behind her and we could share the experience. Then came the miscarriage and now all that good feeling has disappeared. I know I will have to visit her and her baby ( I will want to) and hold the baby etc but am terrified I will get very upset about it all. I don't want to do that to her or to myself. I can kind of see this situation driving us further apart. So far I have managed not to let my emotions out in public. I have a great fear that I will not be able to stop myself.

The pain is so much more when it is people I am close to because I have so many conflicting emotions which I have to control. I don't want to upset other people and I am scared I will. I am also very aware that they are very aware if that makes sense. I feel like I am a 'special' case. I feel like I can't be a good aunty but also that no one expects me to be a good aunty. It's something I do need to work through. I don't want to waste the next few years by being an emotional cripple.

So - today I am feeling so much better and I just wanted to thank you all again for putting up with my self-indulgence.

sandyballs Thu 10-Sep-09 14:19:47

Please don't give up. We tried to conceive for 4 years and suffered one miscarriage. We had practically given up and resigned ourselves to a child free life and tried to be positive about all the things we could do that you couldn't do with children, half heartedly I must admit, and then I fell pregnant with twins. So there is always hope. Our infertility was unexplained as well.

ib Thu 10-Sep-09 14:34:33

I think you really need to stop thinking of it in terms of 'success' and 'failure'. It's not a competition!

Some of us take a long time to conceive, others don't. Some people need assistance, others adopt. Others choose not to have children at all.

If the family end up happy, where's the failure in that?

It took me over ten years to conceive ds. I'm now pregnant again - there will be a more than 3 year gap between my dc.

Two of my sisters conceived the first month of trying and have two children neatly spaced 2 years apart (the gap I would have chosen if I'd had a choice). My other sister had a completely unplanned pg.

Do I think any of them are more successful than me? Like hell I do. Even before ds came along as an enormous surprise I knew that if I chose to I could adopt and form my own family in my own way. And that however/whenever I got them, I would love my dc more than I could ever imagine loving anyone else.

kisslikelovers Thu 10-Sep-09 14:57:13

it is really really hard not to think of it as failing. The aim is to get pregnant, not doing so means I have not been successful. If I do not have children it will not be because I chose not to, it will be because I couldn't physically have them. In all fairness I don't have 10 years in which to try to conceive a child, very few women get pregnant at the age of 49 as far as I am aware. I am not in conpetition with anyone and was not meaning to give that impression.

can I ask why you didn't adopt? will you be?

ib Thu 10-Sep-09 20:52:06

I didn't adopt because the very month dh and I started to talk about being ready to go through the (fairly long and complicated) process of doing so I got pregnant! Previously we were too unsettled in terms of how long we thought we would continue to live where we were to embark on a process that could take a few years.

I then had a couple of years of getting used to having ds, and again the very month we started to talk about adoption I got pregnant again.

Although I would have loved to adopt, I am very aware that it's a long hard road to get approved and I now doubt we will ever do it.

tryingherbest Thu 10-Sep-09 23:56:55

Kiss

I do understand and it is hard when pals fall pregnant.

I was in a similar position -one pregancy which miscarried and then nothing - we then had tests which highlighted issues and were put on the IVF waiting list.

I did feel like a failure - and in particular thought my pregancy had been a miracle and I'd somehow flunked it. Also in late 30's with seemingly everyone pregnant around me.

I noted that pals were wary of telling me their good news and that made me feel bad actually as my take on other people's pregnancy's is that it gave me hope.
I didn't feel sad at each period but instead felt increasinly worried and I was getting very resentful of my job and its long hours.

My consultant felt I couldn't cope with ivf and insisted that we have berevement counselling - that was two years after the miscarriage and boy it was painful but it did help focus my mind on my priorities - I ended up giving work to ttc naturally ahead of ivf. It actually worked for us - well it didn't for the first year and I felt I'd taken a risk in giving up my job and it hadn;t worked - I think at that point I kind of started to realise that I was missing out on life in the meantime and resigned myself to stop even trying and I blew all our cash on a long haul holiday - we were drunk every night and guess what - I flew back pregnant.

I handled everything very badly but I just felt fearful all the time - and I felt the ivf was a deadline I somehow had to beat. I did feel a failure even though I deep down knew it wasn't my fault. My parents were supportive but mil was very much of a view that I'd done something wrong to miscarry - when dh called to give them the news I could here her reeling off a list of things I might have done to cause it - wasn't great.

I now have a good pal in a similar situation (in that she has no partner to have child with - and lives ina country that gives no support financially etc - so it's just not happening for her) and I'm very sensitive not to talk about motherhood 24/7 - she is abroad and I've been othe end of a few difficult, sometimes hurtful emails, but I know it's nothing personal against me but rather an outlet for her - and I would say that don't tie yourself in knots trying to do the right thing with pregnant friends - good friends will understand where you are coming from.

Be nice to yourself kiss.

piprabbit Fri 11-Sep-09 00:06:55

KLL - I really understand your post as it's taken me nearly a decade to complete my little family, and I've had all sorts of set backs and delays and ultimately had to use IVF to have DC2.

I always found it difficult coping when friends announced their pregnancies, but somehow kept a brave face and held off the tears until later.

Perhaps you could try letting family and friends know that you are not actually TTC at the moment (even though you are), say you are enjoying work/travel/new hobby whatever and that you'll let them know when/if you change your mind. It might give you a little space to get away from that label for a while? I did something similar before starting IVF as I couldn't stand the thought of everyone counting the days of my cycle and anticipating the outcome.

Do take care of yourself and (I'm going to whisper this as it's probably terribly bad form) you might like to visit the FertilityFriends website for some great forums on fertility issues.....

skidoodle Fri 11-Sep-09 00:29:57

I can only comment as the friend and sister of people who've had difficulties with fertility, so sorry if this is not as useful as some of the others.

What strikes me when I read your post is that you don't have to keep your relationships with fertile people going. I don't mean that you should drop them or end friendships or anything so drastic, but if you are finding it really tough to be around people with babies, then let yourself take some time away from them.

They will understand. Some of them implicitly and others because they are good enough friends that you can be blunt if you need to do that.

Also I don't think you're right about people seeing you differently. Why do you think that? Knowing about other people's problems in this area has only ever made me cross my fingers really tightly for them and hope everything would work out for them. That's it - no changes in how I perceived them.

It sounds like you're doing brilliantly if you're only really sad and down around your period, but don't put too much pressure on yourself to be OK with what's happening. It's shit, and it's unfair, and only a saint can always be genuinely happy for other people's good fortune while something they desperately want is eluding them.

As for your best friend - give some thought to maybe just letting the tears come if that's how you feel. Of course this baby will make you feel your loss all over again. There isn't even the tiniest chance that she isn't aware of that. She knows. Acknowledging that her baby has particular associations for you could bring you closer together.

If you really hate that idea, then don't do it - I don't know either of you, so maybe not the right thing. But it is OK to say to the people that really love you that you are struggling a little bit. It won't make them see you any differently. Just a little bit better.

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