For most couples who see children as an important and inevitable part of their future, they assume that when they’re ready, pregnancy will come swiftly and easily. But for some couples, this isn’t the case.
Sometimes, getting pregnant isn’t simple, and neither is the trajectory that follows. It’s painful, hard, uncertain, and cruel. It’s a roller coaster of hope and hopelessness, filled with emotionally exhausting experiences involving hormone injections, periods that come when they’re not wanted, come late, or don’t come at all, and devastating news like, “I’m so sorry. I can’t find the heartbeat.”
In a Facebook post shared just over a week ago, a man named Dan Majesky has opened up about the raw heartbreak of trying, and failing, to conceive.
Dan and his wife Leah have been trying to conceive for over three years. They’re in their late 30s, and have been through more fertility treatments, negative pregnancy tests, and ups and downs than most people can possibly imagine.
Dan and Leah. Image via Facebook.
But with Dan's post receiving over 55,000 likes, hundreds of comments, and thousands of shares, it's clear that the story of Dan and Leah isn't just their story - it resonates with people all over the world who desperately want to be parents.
"Like all our plans, we didn’t start with a plan, but instead decided that if we got pregnant, that would be great," Dan begins. "And then we didn’t get pregnant."
"We started using apps and calendars to track this and that. Ovulation test sticks. Old wives’ tales of positions and timing," he continues. "But we didn’t get pregnant."
Dan takes us through doctors visits and hormones and intrauterine insemination. He writes, "Do doctors ever tell anybody, 'This is what is wrong, and this is how to fix it,' and then give them pills, and they’re fine? This is not my experience. My experience is: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯."
For Leah, taking hormone boosters to facilitate egg production took a toll on her mood. "Her job was to feel like her brain and soul were on fire," writes Dan. "My job was to try and not say anything dumb."
He recalls giving his "needle-phobic wife a shot in her thigh to set ovulation in process" - the struggle of which caused him to develop "a method where she would look away, close her eyes and cry, while crushing all the bones in my left hand, and I would count to three, and inject her with my right."
Dan and Leah. Image via Facebook.
Dan writes about sperm deposits and magazines he didn't want to touch. He writes about waiting, and the pang of guilt that hits you when you find yourself jealous of other peoples pregnancies.
"You see your friends getting pregnant, and you get a little sad. But you get mad at yourself because you want to feel happy for other people, and that’s not fair to them. And then the 17-year-old across the street gets pregnant, and you get a little sadder. And your cousins get pregnant, and you get a little sadder.
And you see people scream at their kids, and beat them in Kroger, and you just want to die because you would give anything to have a child throwing a tantrum in the cereal aisle.
You don’t want to hate people. You don’t. I think babies are beautiful. I think kids are awesome, but you can’t help the jealousy. The envy. The resentment. It really creeps up on you. And you search for positive things. And you talk on end about your capital-O Options.
And then you see people on the internet post screeds about how dare anyone assume that they would want to have kids because not having kids is the best – which is fine, have at it or don’t have at it, I really don’t care – but we want to be procreating, and we want what you could have, but are choosing not to use.
And we want to tell you, but people don’t talk about it. Because you don’t want to talk about it."
Then comes the moment when it feels like it was all worth it, says Dan. "And you get pregnant. You go in for a blood test, two weeks later, and they tell you that you’re pregnant. And you cry. Big fat tears of relief....And you relax."
But then Dan and Leah lost their baby. And the process started all over again. "But no one talks about it," writes Dan. "No one gets on Facebook and tells their friends. It’s specifically why you wait to tell anyone."
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The process goes on with more negative pregnancy tests and the words 'dwindling egg supply' hanging over their heads. There's more intrauterine insemination, and then finally, it happens. A positive pregnancy test.
"We’re pregnant. Not that we believed it at first, but we are. Three scans later, I’ve even heard the heartbeat, like a hummingbird, and it’s beautiful."
Leah and Dan are expecting a baby girl, due in November. And above all, they're incredibly grateful.
"I know plenty of people have gone through more than us. We are comparatively very lucky. Some people have never gotten pregnant...I hesitate to share this because I don’t want anyone to read this and feel what we felt, watching others’ dreams come true."
But watching Leah and Dan's dreams come true has inspired others, and given people a window into the very private experience of struggling to conceive - one that several others could profoundly relate to.
Dan and Leah's story is one of resilience, strength, support and hope. It's honest and complicated and even humorous at times (the experience of donating sperm is pretty bloody weird). Most of all, it's brave. People don't often share their stories of not being able to conceive because, quite frankly, they don't want to. But by opening up, this couple have reminded others that they're not alone in their painful journey.
You can read the post in full here.