Let’s talk about infertility and pregnancy loss

Kathy Krugeradoption, IVF, motherhood, perspective46 Comments

baby booties_edited-1

We’re talking about it, at least a lot more than we used to.

When I was struggling with infertility (I’m still infertile, but it’s a moot point these days), I felt so isolated. I isolated myself.

Of course I knew I wasn’t alone – I’d meet plenty of women at the fertility clinic, faces that I’d barely scan and could only recognize as if in a nightmare – I didn’t dare recognize myself.

Our infertility journey began eons ago, in the early days of the internet, before blogs and long before FB was even heard of.

As time wore on and I ticked off the cycles of failure and loss (and counted needles, so many needles) I found a yahoo email group and forum (remember those?).  But by this stage I’d cut myself off from talking to anyone. I’d lurk, but suffer in silence, and I selfishly didn’t offer my support to strangers who were travelling the path I trod for so many years.

Only at the end did I come out of the infertility closet, so to speak, to talk about things openly with people other than family and close friends – I even got involved in organizing an event and media to support infertility awareness.

Then our long and winding journey became one of adoption and I tried to put infertility behind me. There was a new online support group to join and I ended up becoming involved on a national committee for a while, promoting adoption awareness and fundraising for orphans.  I became absorbed in the busyness (and normality) of parenting. I breathed.

When I started blogging I didn’t know how much I’d reflect on our experiences of infertility and pregnancy loss – I’d already written a memoir that languishes in the bottom drawer, although I have shared some excerpts here. I don’t know if it is still my story (or the one I want to tell). I don’t know what to share. I don’t want to bore people like a broken record. Blessed with two beautiful adoptive kids I question my right to write at all.

Yet our struggle has shaped me and I was always going to draw upon it in my writing. It’s my duty to do it. My gift maybe?

What I didn’t know was how many others would be brave enough to write about their experiences of infertility and pregnancy loss. So. Much. Loss.

I certainly don’t feel alone anymore.

I do feel in awe of the strength of so many bloggers who’ve shared their stories. Lauren my heart breaks for you and your poor stillborn babies and all the losses of your infertility journey. Sonia, how you endured repeated pregnancy loss in the midst of so much physical pain is beyond me. Kelly, four miscarriages in a row is a burden no-one should have to bear. Aroha, Aleney, Eva, Jody the list of us goes on.

I think I have unique experience (each of us does, even if my story is more complex than most) to provide insight into the gamut of emotions that accompany infertility and pregnancy loss (and adoption as the story goes).

I have the gift of perspective too, from the long time that has passed, the losses and the gains that have come my way, as they do in life.

While a huge number of bloggers chart the day-to-day drama and heartache of infertility and IVF and far too many words have been written, yet failed to convey the enormity of soooo much loss, I’ve stayed mostly silent, wordless, reflective.

I came late to the blogging party and who knew but an American blogger called Melissa with a site called Stirrup Queens (appropriate for the IVF rollercoaster) maintains a blog-roll in which 3196 blogs are linked up, believe it or not, in 52 categories (covering infertility and all its variations, pregnancy loss and its litany of sorrow, adoption in its frustrating complexity, and post-all-that parenting and surviving or not).

What could I possibly add?

Yet almost 18 years after our journey began, coming up to 16 years since the loss of my only pregnancy, I can’t help but want to write, to connect. We’re approaching the 10th anniversary of adopting our daughter, and still there are things I want, need to say.

But mostly I want to connect, to share our insights, heal with each other. And so I want to set up a monthly link-up on Infertility & Pregnancy Loss. I’d love the link-up to be a place for solidarity, hope and wisdom gained. I’d love it to be space for perspective, even when the grief never really goes away.

There may be many other words out there in the blogosphere, but this can be our shared space, once a month, to remember. (I’d like to start on 18 August, the anniversary of my ectopic pregnancy loss – link up a post, new or old, perhaps share a story of a friend or family member, with permission, and let’s be there for each other and those that read and draw comfort).

Meanwhile linking up with Essentially Jess for another lovely IBOT (and realising I’ll have to work out how to actually DO a link-up).

Cheers

Sign block smallPS – love your feedback on my new (and still evolving) blog design. Check out my home page for the fancy, schmancy slider I managed to create (should mention I also managed to crash my site altogether at one stage!). Let me know if it loads slow. X

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Kathy KrugerLet’s talk about infertility and pregnancy loss

46 Comments on “Let’s talk about infertility and pregnancy loss”

  1. Toni @ Finding Myself Young

    I love the new blog design!

    I’ve written about my infertility quite a few times so I’d love to link up with you. Fortunately I never experienced a pregnancy loss (although if I wasn’t being monitored I would of due to thyroid issues) and I’m lucky that the one time I did get pregnant I got my baby girl. It still plays on my mind though when thinking about if and/or when we’ll be able to have another baby.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Toni I would love to have you on the link-up. I think there is a misconception (no pun intended) that infertility is usually an age factor thing (well it probably is) but I had just turned 28 when we started trying and I know you are young. I’m glad though, or time would have run out for us to pursue the adoption path after IVF treatment.

  2. minsmash

    Kathy, I too have been down the IVF path. I tried for 5 years to conceive. I had one miscarriage. I had irregular periods. My husband was checked and all seemed fine. We were classified as ‘unidentified infertility’. We were close to putting our names on the Australian adoption list (o/s seemed too complicated at the time) and steeled ourselves for a very long wait. In the meantime, we tried a variety of medical interventions, last of which was IVF. The kind of IVF we did was called PROST (Pro Nuclear Stage Transfer). The whole process made me very ill. However, it worked…and I became pregnant with twins. The pregnancy was scary. I had threatened miscarriage and was on bed rest from 14 weeks. I was terrified of losing them the whole time. They (twin boys) were born at 36 weeks by caesarean. Some time later, with my plumbing all fixed and more regular, I fell pregnant naturally with my daughter. So – yes I have been lucky to have had two pregnancies and three children but I had a glimpse of the life of infertility and IVF and watching all my friends have babies and I will never forget how all that feels. I’m so happy for you that your dream of becoming a mother has come true via adoption. On another note – your blog design looks awesome. Love it! xo

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thank you so much Min – I think we are pretty similar in age – we did some of the early cycles of ICSI (which stands for, you know I can’t even remember without referring to it now – but basically it is injecting the sperm directly into the eggs they harvest). I had some ovarian hyperstimulation in one cycle, which made me really ill. We did 9 IVF cycles in all, after some earlier IUI (artificial insemination) treatment. As I said, it feels like so long ago, sometimes I feel like a fraud even talking about it now – MOVE ON WOMAN I THINK. But in stopping to reflect on our good fortune after pain we can help others. Hope you will link up your thoughts. X

  3. Christie

    Kathy, you write so beautifully. I am sorry to hear of your difficult journey, but am very interested in reading your future retrospective posts about what has happened. Having just endured a dark period that is now starting to clear, I appreciate the clarity and sensitivity you can have about your past self. It is very soothing and a lovely thing to record for a future challenging time in any aspect of your life.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thank you so much Christie – I’m so glad we connected. I hope things are settling for you as it is still early days for your ‘new’ life going forward. I am so lucky and I would like to give back in some way through the perspective I have. X

  4. coloursofsunset

    On the absolute verge of tears through all this, and could just let it all go in an instant, but I’ve cried a million tears already. I’m done with crying. I will always grieve, but crying does me no good any more. I am thankful to you for opening up and sharing, and to all the other women I’ve met and read along the way, because any problem, no matter how big or small, feels like it is a lesser burden when shared, and to have people who TRULY understand exactly how you feel….there is no therapy, no other solution that can help more than that common bond can. xoxo

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Aroha – I want to hug you right now – and sorry to make you cry again. It is there, that rawness underneath everything and you and I can help other people who haven’t got to the point we have in our lives. X

  5. Pinky Poinker

    A link up is a beautiful and brilliant idea. Congratulations on your candid post. I loved it. Your website is looking out of this world! Can I say I’m jealous?

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Emma – hope you can link up and share your wisdom – you have had so many ups and downs since. Thanks for the feedback on the blog – I’m happy with it as long as it isn’t too slow to load.

  6. EssentiallyJess

    I think when’re we life hands you a story like this, (and I don’t mean to belittle you by calling it that at all), you need to tell it. You have something you can offer others here. I, for one, would love to understand more. I’ve been very blessed that I have no first hand knowledge of these things, but I would love to learn more, to more accurately display compassion to those in need, and hopefully not add to their load. Xxx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      You are such a beautiful soul Jess, always trying to understand and help people. It does make a huge difference when you are struggling and you are right that with lots of perspective and love in my life I’m in a position to share and help. Thanks for your support. X

  7. Christina Mathewson

    Thank you for sharing. I have been blessed with 7 lovely children of my own. However during my last pregnancy I was carrying twins and we lost one of the babies early on. I have struggled with that over and over. I’m the lady that prays that I’m carrying twins every time I fell pregnant, and then I finally did and we lost one. And had an extremely high risk pregnancy that came very close to costing me my life. I did lose my uterus at the end of that pregnancy to Percreta. While has been an HUGE struggle for me. I had the idea that I would still have another 10 + baby making years, and hoped to fill with more children. But because I have the 7 I often feel like I should just be grateful, and don’t really have a right to morn the baby we lost, and the future babies we can’t have. There are so many things that can be used to separate us, and stop us helping each other through the pain.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks for visiting Christina. I certainly know how you feel in terms of feeling like you don’t have the right to mourn, when of course you do. I have his ‘debt of gratitude’ for adopting our beautiful kids that makes me feel like I shouldn’t grieve our lost baby, let alone the fact that I never had the opportunity to give birth. Hope you’ll consider linking up.

  8. mummywifeme

    Kathy this is a wonderful idea. When I did a leadership course years ago now I had to write about my goals, my heart’s purpose, what I wanted to do with my life etc. In my workbook, I wrote that I wanted to/felt the need to share my IVF experience with people in the hope that my story and/or experiences could help others get through it. This is a great way of doing it if I am brave enough. I will certainly help promote it for you.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      It would be lovely for you to share – no pressure of course, and I’d love for you to promote it. I am amazed at how many people have been through infertility/IVF/pregnancy loss and I think that it is natural when we are lucky enough to have children after these experiences to want to put this part of our lives behind us. But I do think what we can offer is something precious for others in the thick of the pain. XX

  9. Zanni Arnot

    The new design looks great Kathy! I think it’s so important that you are talking about infertility. The internet age has certainly opened up our awareness, and given people opportunity to express their stories. After all storytelling is what binds us xx

  10. laurenm83

    Such a beautiful idea Kathy, infertility and pregnancy loss are such isolating journeys. When we started IVF just over five years ago I searched for information and real life stories that I could relate to. Then when our twins passed away I again searched and yearned to connect with others who had been through similar experiences. Thank you xx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I’m so glad you are going to join in Lauren – I really reckon you are an inspiration overcoming what you have been through. It will be good to be ‘in it together’. X

  11. Caz @ Home Heart Haven

    Beautifully put Kathy. August is always a hard month for me as in 2008 I lost a little man @19weeks5days (so not ‘counted’ statistically as a birth) who was due 20 August. I’ll definitely read along but not sure about writing more about my story yet.
    I had already thought to myself that your blog was looking gorgeous. Love the header pics! xx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Caz – and I’m really sorry to hear about the loss of your baby boy. It is an individual choice about writing – I’ve found it therapeutic, but a lot of time has elapsed. I wrote a lot of raw stuff when we were in the thick of the pain that I wouldn’t want to share now. Thanks for the blog feedback. X

  12. Stephanie

    What a great idea Kathy. As someone with infertility I have written my story in my mind hundreds of time, but still yet to share the emotions of it all. Look forward to reading others stories in Aug!

  13. Druimé N

    I hope you do eventually write your memoir Kathy. Yes you have been blessed with beautiful adopted children but what you have been through is part of your personal history and a history that many others will connect with. What a journey you have been on to find your two gorgeous kids I know when they are older they will love to know your story. As for your link up such a great and important idea. I am sure it will take off.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Druime – I have actually written lots of memoir words, just not sure they are the right ones! I do think those of us who’ve been through infertility and/or pregnancy loss can offer a lot to others suffering through now so I hope people link up and share so it can spread to those who need it.

  14. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    I read this on Wed and sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. But I ADORE this idea. While I have never had fertility issues, being the sensitive soul that I am, I can’t fathom it, which is why I love all those who battle through it and come out the other end. You. Are. Amazing. Never forget that xxx

  15. BOYEATSWORLD

    I still feel raw from our years of infertility and pregnancy loss even though we were eventually blessed with our beautiful bubs. I still think of my lost little ones almost every day, almost a decade down the track. It’s been a long time since I wrote about all this but I love the idea of a link-up. I’m with Em, you’re amazing!

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Alicia – I appreciate your support and hope that all you lovely ‘fertile and fortunate’ Mums can spread the word to friends and family struggling. X

  16. Debbish

    It’s a difficult issue and I think those not affected find it hard to understand. I have always been single so waited until I was in my 40s to try to get pregnant (I’d assumed I’d meet ‘Mr Right’. I gave up at 41 and went it alone.) And wasn’t successful. You’re right about it being isolating. I found it really hard seeing other pregnant women / families and hearing stories about children. I whinged to one of my best friends about it and got a response from her that she was ‘disturbed’ about my attitude.

    That comment has always really stayed with me because it meant I had to stop sharing that sort of stuff and I felt very alone. It’s been about 3 years now since I pulled the plug on IVF. I was 43 at the time and initially I wasn’t sure how I’d ever get through my life knowing I wasn’t going to be a mother etc.

    Three years on I realise that you do survive. But it’s still hard.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      It certainly is an isolating experience and I think people just need to show empathy towards each other – sorry for your friend’s unsympathetic reaction. IVF is a hard road, especially in your forties with such low chances of success. We went through IVF between when I was 29-34 and we still didn’t have success even though the odds suggested we should have. And all through that period it was hard dealing with pregnant friends etc. I’m also 46 and I went through a period of final mourning, I guess you could call it around 42-43, that I wouldn’t ever give birth to a child, even though we are so lucky to have our two kids through adoption. It’s complicated.

  17. Sonia Life Love Hiccups

    Thank you Kathy for being so brave as to share your story. Your pain and your struggle will help others in ways you cant even comprehend. That is such a selfless gift for you to give to those who do not have the courage to speak up about their own pain as they will find so much comfort in knowing that they are not alone. I’m proud of you hun for showing your scars and I hope you have found so much healing in doing so for yourself xx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Sonia – I hope we get a few people linking up to share the healing with. I’m going to do the first link-up on Monday 18th August – I’ll tag you on social media if you don’t mind sharing and of course I’d love you to share something of your experiences with pregnancy loss – now you are on a roll with your series of posts, I hope you are feeling the love and the catharsis. You are very brave.

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