baby

'Yearning for a baby is not always rational.' IVF made me fantasise about leaving my life.

This post discusses pregnancy loss and could be triggering for some readers. 

This is a hard article to write, and I have written a few when it comes to fertility treatment and well, my life. I think the hardest part to write about is the where I was going through the experience but I didn’t quite realise I was.

As a person who would like likes to think she is self-aware (while studying a Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy), the lack of awareness of my actions was the scariest part.

But that is how escapism works. I started off being aware... but then my anxiety really took over at a time when I was most vulnerable.

Watch: Everything you need to know about postnatal depression. Post continues after video. 


Video via Mamamia.

I have been on the fertility treatment road for four years now. My beautiful husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer young. Thirty-six years young. And we have been forced to try for a baby "unnaturally" as a "geriatric patient" in a pandemic. It's not been fun.

We were blessed with the joy of our lives after two years. There was a miscarriage in there too, and while my baby boy Bryn is the definition of sunshine, our family building phase is ongoing.

Making a baby is one of those experiences that so beautifully demands us to truly surrender.

But after four years of having intimate time with doctors, IVF clinics, pregnancy losses and positive tests followed by negative ones, I was struggling to keep my head above water.

These challenges of course don't include a pandemic, becoming a new mum, and a life of my own.

A unique version of grief and pain had started to catch me. The grief is really specific. It can feel weirdly shameful.

Nobody died.

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But nobody was born?

It didn’t feel like it fit into a box anyone could understand.

The isolation was so palpable. At times I felt like I was walking around the world in a daze that no one could understand.

Hanging on to the control was often the pain piece. But letting go of control is not something you choose to do once. It is a daily test. A daily reminder of the importance of patience, grace and hope.

But after so many heartbreaks with no control in sight to give me comfort, I began to yearn for something else.

Anything else.

At first, like many of us in lockdown, I turned to Netflix. Some nights red wine. (But even that didn’t work because of the guilt around putting booze into your body when... TTC. It’s exhausting, right?)

Meditation was hard, and I am a meditation teacher.

The pain I was feeling was accumulated by the pain I experienced trying for my first child and it was all too big. Too many disappointments.

We could have stopped.

The yearning for a baby is not always rational.

Also, it pains me to say this, but I am 39 this year. And I am proud of that.

But I would be kidding myself if I said it didn’t play on my mind.

It was painful to be trying for a baby.

It was equally painful to not be trying.

I felt so trapped.

So I started to fantasise. It started with my past life, past lovers and past jobs.

They started coming up in my dreams.

Nothing alarming, I was just reminiscing more.

It wasn’t that I wanted to go back to that life, those people, but I started to think about what my life would have been, had it not been like this.

Would I be happier?

But then it started to spiral. I started to question everything. My anxiety kicked up a notch through several lockdowns and quarantine experiences and soon I became obsessed with anything that appeared shinier.

I started to watch single friends partying and laughing on Instagram, looking the way I used to. So done up. So connected. So... free.

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I witnessed friends who were expressing themselves in new and honest ways thanks to the lockdowns and were thriving in their careers and their relationships.

And for the first time ever, I felt jealous.

I had dreams and goals of my own but instead of being liberated by them; I felt like they were gagging me.

It really took a turn when I started to doubt my marriage.

Because whilst this process has caused lifelong damage to my relationship, I have a really good marriage and am married to one hell of a man.

Once I eventually spoke to him about my fears and where my mind had started to take me, we both realised that I had fallen into a deep hole and needed some help.

It wasn’t that I wanted another life. My life had just become so painful that I was trying to escape it.

Escapism is a real condition.

According to Dr Victoria Miller, a clinical psychologist, we may use "escapism to consciously or unconsciously ignore a problem or feelings that we’re uncomfortable experiencing".

She continues: "When escapism goes too far it can be damaging to our studies, work, relationships and our mental health."

Sounds about right.

Luckily for me, becoming aware of what was happening was a relief in itself. My life was ok. I was safe and my brain had started to try to help me with escaping some of the pain.

I started to feel the sadness that was inside me. I was supported further. Professionally and personally and things started to clear a little.

I tapped back into my meditation. I started to come through the fog.

We are currently on a hiatus from IVF. It all just got too hard. With some healthy injections of those fantasies (dinners, concerts, unapologetic good red wine - life after lockdowns) I am starting to feel like hope is around the corner.

However, you may be looking to escape whatever pain you are experiencing right now - I feel you.

The only way to the other side for me, as hard as it is to say, was to feel it.

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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