health

"I am rapidly becoming the person people dread telling they’re pregnant."

I am convinced I’m doing an excellent job. I don’t mean my 9-5 job either. I mean my job of convincing others I’m nailing life and coping just fine. That the ‘you mustn’t be far off, you’ve been married a while’ and ‘of course it’s a just dry night (wink)’ comments don’t get to me at all.

Or so I try to convince myself anyway.

I cope by responding to these questions in all sorts of ways. At first my response was simply, “I’m young and still wanting to travel, so what’s the rush?” (Disclaimer: it’s a rhetorical question  – please DON’T answer it.)

Now I simply make people feel uncomfortable for my own entertainment, “I’m infertile, I can’t have children. And yes, I hope one day this changes.”

It’s wrong I know. I have lost the patience and apparently the tact required to respond politely and appropriately. But why must I fake a persona? Why must I do what is apparently ‘socially appropriate’?

Perhaps the people making those comments should consider that maybe I do want children, and there is a reason they are not here yet.

I am rapidly becoming the person people dread telling they’re pregnant, and I’m not proud of it. While I cannot control my body being infertile, I also cannot control my emotions.

So when people tell me their exciting life-changing news, I congratulate them, hug them really tight and suck back my tears, which threaten to flood the room like a king tide. That way, when our embrace is over I can keep my shit together, even just for a little while.

Once I am in the car or back at home, that’s when the tears come.

Unfortunately for my husband, he doesn’t escape the flood in time. He keeps finding me crying – in the shower, on the bed, in the hammock, on the couch and the kitchen floor. You name it, I’ve cried there.

Mary Coustas on her own battle with 23 IVF attempts and the struggle to fall pregnant.

According to my emotional healer, I should focus on the positives in the mass of tears, that I must be hormonal to be emotional. Instead I think I’m irrational and jealous -but her version sounds more optimistic, right?

Emotional healer? Yes, you read correctly. I’ve sought help from 12 practitioners across Eastern and Western medicine. None have made a promise which is reassuring. And no one has “fixed me” either, despite me being the case they all want to crack.

So who exactly have I seen? I’ve seen a GP, two gynaecologists, two Chinese doctors, a naturopath, an endocrinologist, two osteopaths, a ‘fertillatist’, a kinesiologist and a spiritual healer. After what feels like a thousand bloods tests, they have suggested: hypothalamic amenorrhea, polycystic ovary syndrome, adrenal tumours, adrenal failure, and finally, a brain that just doesn’t tell my body to produce hormones the way it should.

For what seems a life time, but is in fact over three years, I’ve been mentally wearing myself thin. Almost as thin as my non-existent endometrial wall.

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My greatest frustrations lie in two places.

Firstly, the assholes who don't deserve to have children or don't want children at all can still fall pregnant.

Secondly - and it sounds so selfish I almost can't type it - but please just let me be skinny or let me pregnant.

I eat better than anyone I know. I exercise to nourish my body not deplete it, and for the 12 months that hypothalamic amenorrhea was settled upon as my 'problem', I made sure exercise was for strength and mind, not weight loss. Yet somehow, the universe hasn't punished me enough in my infertility. No, no - it's kicked me while I'm down by adding 16 kilograms to the situation, and making those kilograms impossible to lose.

I am three years into a battle I'm not sure I can win.

I've spent upwards of $17,000 on treatment, and that doesn't include the taxpayer money for all the tests under Medicare.

Considering I'm yet to try IVF... $17,000 may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Money aside, my mental health is deteriorating rapidly. Ask me if I am going insane, and I don't think I'll need to answer you. You'll see it in my tears.

People say it's not rocket science. Have unprotected sex and bang.

I'm proof that it isn’t always that simple.

What has your battle with infertility been like? Share your experiences with us below...

If you or a loved one is struggling, Mamamia urges you to contact BeyondBlue here.