14073811819_5826fc4314_zHello Lovelies,

No triggers today. Well, unless you disagree with my points and they make you pissed off and you suffer from rage blackouts… Then it may be triggering for the rage blackouts…

I’m an infertile woman. I have been diagnosed with Diminished Ovarian Reserve, a disease that is listed under the heading of infertility… And now I’m pregnant. Where does that leave me? If I Google it (because, what HAVEN’T I Googled in the last 3 years) it comes up as pregnant AFTER infertility.

What horse shit.

I would say I’m pregnant after infertility TREATMENT, because that’s true. But after infertility? I don’t buy it. That implies that once pregnancy is achieved infertility vanishes. I see this as wildly inaccurate and harmful to both those going through a hard won pregnancy as well as those who have not achieved pregnancy in the community. Hear me out.

Why saying “Pregnant After Infertility” is horse shit:

1) It makes an unnecessary line in the sand that those who achieve pregnancy no longer belong to the community. This is harmful to those who are not pregnant, as well as those who are, because it means that those friends who have successful treatments will somehow no longer be able to support the rest of the community. It creates an awkwardness that is unnecessary. There’ll already be plenty of feelings around that friends pregnancy without having to add into the mix that they are no longer infertile. If that person is no longer infertile then they don’t understand the emotions you are going through. They don’t understand the toll that treatments take. They don’t understand how it’s impossible to just get on with life and just be. They don’t understand how hard it is to resolve these feelings. But, wait a minute, they DO. Obviously, as they have spent likely months and years walking that path. It is not erased by a positive pregnancy test. Just as their diagnosis isn’t either. They can and do still want to support the community. They want to be kind and helpful and they really still remember. I promise. In the last 5 months… I have not fucking forgotten.

2) It assumes you are not part of the repeat pregnancy loss crowd. Some people wind up with a diagnosis of infertility because they have had multiple pregnancies but have not yet had a successful live birth. A diagnosis of repeat pregnancy loss MAKES the individual infertile. For this group, achieving a positive pregnancy test is laced with all sorts of negative emotions and it certainly does NOT remove their diagnosis. Their difficulty sustaining a pregnancy is the very thing that makes them infertile so it cannot be that they lose that title and that support by simply getting a positive pee stick. Fucking shit luck for them, right? Wrong. Still infertile.

3) It makes you feel like your pregnancy will be normal. And it very well may be fucking textbook, but it probably won’t feel like it. After struggling through treatments and failed round, after failed round, you may basically have PTSD about the fact that there is a baby inside you. You will over-analyze pretty much everything, especially in the early days. You thought that level of crazy was reserved for the TWW? Wrong. Lucky you, early pregnancy becomes a series of unending two week waits. Wait to test. Wait for beta. Wait for viability ultrasound. Wait to see a regular non-RE dr. Good luck. AND no wine to help you through. There is chocolate though. Eat that shit up. This is NOT how a pregnancy achieved through a drunken night of fun feels. Most fertiles, once they are over the shock, are simply pregnant. No contingencies. Yeah, but your infertile. It’s different. Because you’re still infertile!

4) It assumes you no longer NEED the infertility community. *Break so I can throw a tantrum* Ok… so if I’m no longer infertile, because there’s a baby in my belly, then I no longer need all my infertile pals… got it. Let’s just ignore for a moment that you have developed deep meaningful bonds with these friends and that they get you on a level that is difficult to understand unless you’ve been through Mordor with someone. Ignoring that, this is telling me that I will be able to call up my also pregnant (after one drunk night) friend and ask if she thinks my beta is high enough. What do you mean she’ll look at me like an alien? Ok, then surely I can call her up and freak about how fast my rate of possible miscarriage is dropping and how crucial the 12 week NT ultrasound is… right? No?! Then who the fuck am I supposed to stress out with? Yeah, you’ve been trying a long time. Yeah, you needed to involve science and probably spent more than a little time learning WAY too much about your body. This does not go away. Fertile friends will mostly look at you like a freak. Or patronizingly tell you that it’s not good to stress out. Great… where have I heard THAT before?! Oh right, on my 3 year trek to get here. Where the fuck is my Twitter feed? I NEED YOU.

5) It assumes that not only will you feel like a typical pregnant fertile, but that you’ll be viewed that way by the outside world. Pshh. Right, because it’s totally normal fertile pregnant problems to be asked if your baby will look different from being created in a test tube. Or if your baby is more likely to have defects because they were created in a test tube. Or will you need to have a caesarian, or an epidural, or a special dr. Like maybe after IVF it’s important to be constantly monitored in a hospital because holy shit YOUR PREGNANCY IS WEIRD AND DIFFERENT. But nope… I’m fertile now. No one will even notice. I’ll feel normal (see #4) and everyone else will totally see it as normal, too. Except they fucking don’t. It took till I was out of the first trimester for the stupid questions to stop coming. But I shouldn’t blame my friends and family. They are just reacting to the fact that I am still seen as infertile. So let’s cut the shit.

Once an infertile person achieves pregnancy they are still infertile.

They identify as infertile! It doesn’t just magically get expunged from their medical record. It doesn’t erase from their memory the horrors they have suffered to achieve pregnancy.It doesn’t mean my past 3 years were just a bad dream that never really occured. It doesn’t mean that the other pregnant friends or mothers in the play group will understand them. It is not like a light switch. Infertile to fertile.

This might be because I am referring to your diagnosis when I say all this. Having the diagnosis of a disease that makes you infertile is something that can profoundly change your life and the way you interact with certain aspects of it. I am not meaning to suggest that your fertility hasn’t increased! Obviously it did so you could get pregnant in the first place. But that is very different from removing your diagnosis. Your diagnosis stays. Period. So do most of the infertile feels.

I think there is probably a slow shift that happens as an infertile person’s pregnancy progresses. They start it out feeling exactly the same as they did last month when the pregnancy test was negative. They literally feel no different. Except you could add in shocked beyond fucking shocked. Then as they pass milestones they start to feel more sure of their progress, to what extent will depend on each couples personal history, and they might start to feel less attached to their infertile identity. Then once the baby is born and is healthy that couple may start to identify with that diagnosis even less. Moving on to parenthood never to look back. Maybe you can have parenthood AFTER infertility. Maybe… I’ll weigh in on that when I get there.

But I suspect not always.

What if that couple wants more children? Yup, still infertile. Back to the grind they most likely go. So, when I type in pregnant and infertile and all the hits Google pulls up for me are about being pregnant AFTER infertility my head just wants to explode. Because it’s horse shit.

Then again, it’s not like Dr. Google has ever steered me wrong before, right? 😉

Love you guys!
The still infertile AND pregnant… Chicken

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22 thoughts on “Pregnant AND Infertile

  • July 23, 2015 at 2:10 pm
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    Beautiful job summarizing what so many others feel after achieving “success.” I’m certain many will relate to this post!

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    • July 23, 2015 at 4:22 pm
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      Jen,
      Thanks! I hope so. Responses so far have been positive.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • July 23, 2015 at 5:44 pm
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    I’d add women who are experiencing recurrent miscarriages or unable to conceive AFTER having a child/children to your list. Hear me out… Just because a woman has, at one point in her life, been able to conceive and that results in a baby doesn’t mean she can’t experience the suffering of infertility/recurrent miscarriages at a different point in her life when she wants to have another baby. She needs the community just as badly because I believe she belongs in the community. And, I think the community needs her too, that she has a lot to offer the community. As someone who fits that bill, it’s sometimes a precarious place I find myself in. I’ve had embryo donors refuse me because I “already have a child”. I’ve had people tell me I can’t really know what it’s like to suffer infertility because I already have a child. But I can tell you I desire a child more than anything, and that I’ve experienced multiple miscarriages pursuing that desire, and that I’m in pain from my lack of success. I can tell you that my already having had a child in no way guarantees my having another one. That my ability to conceive and carry a baby to term previously doesn’t mean I’m able to do it again. I can tell you those things came as a surprise to me. 😉 PS. Your number 3 is so spot on for me! I just had the longest TWW after my TWW/BFP. Sadly, my 4WW has ended in yet another miscarriage. But you sure do get it. 😉

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    • July 23, 2015 at 6:07 pm
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      Suzanne – I wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote. The community often looks down upon those who already have a child or children. So many, and I mean SO MANY suffer in silence.

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      • July 23, 2015 at 6:37 pm
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        Thank you! Thank you! I’m so vulnerable, in the midst of a miscarriage of my beloved donated embryos and so grateful for ‘the community’.

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        • July 23, 2015 at 6:47 pm
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          Suzanne,
          Hoping so much that you are finding the support you are needing right now. Losing a child is always so hard especially when you have fought so hard to get this far. You are so strong!
          XOXXO, The Chicken

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      • July 23, 2015 at 6:44 pm
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        Jen,
        Yes exactly. It is an area of infertility that is often overlooked or shrugged off in the community. It is unfortunate because as Suzanna said, she requires support too and really has a lot of experience to offer to others as well.
        XOXXO, The Chicken

        Reply
    • July 23, 2015 at 6:43 pm
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      Suzanne,
      Absolutely! Secondary infertility is just as painful. It is slightly different but not in any way that would cause you to not feel the pain. I am so sorry to hear of your miscarriage and am sending love and support your way. May you be blessed with that sticky bean you are striving for.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • July 24, 2015 at 1:46 am
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    You are so spot on. What really got to me is that after Y’s birth, people continually asked me whether I was going to have any more children. Well, how can I answer that? I AM INFERTILE. Such questions were also coming from people who knew I’d had IVF… After getting pregnant with number 2, following another 2 unsuccessful IVF cycles and one very luckily successful FET (and about £9k lighter) I now get people still assuming I conceived again naturally.
    I am so astonished at how limited public perception and understanding of infertility is, but I put it down to an intrinsic natural refusal for humans to accept to acknowledge that something might be permanent and final. After all it’s in human nature to be wanting a happy ending at all costs and people are uncomfortable with anything less than this.
    Will this ever change? Perhaps not. All I can do personally is change my approach to such situations and the day I will be able to face such comments with a shrug and a smile on my face I will know I have definitely beaten the infertility monster. Even though I will never be able to pop out babies on demand and without a care in the world. But I can live with that and my (hopefully soon to be) two little miracles xxx

    Reply
    • July 29, 2015 at 7:13 pm
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      Irene,
      It is mind boggling. I’m still pregnant with my first child after IVF, my first pregnancy actually, and the questions about siblings started coming the moment the test went positive. It boggles, the mind! Interesting idea to see it as humans naturally wanting to beleive things always get better, makes me less angry with those responses.
      Thank you for the comment! XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • July 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm
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    I love your description of “pregnant AND infertile” rather than “pregnant after infertility.” Never thought of it in that way but it makes perfect sense. The rest of the post is spot on. Would quote my favourite parts but I was nodding throughout the whole thing!

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    • July 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm
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      Also I am definitely parenting AND subfertile. 🙂 I have not left that piece behind. Some probably do but I wouldn’t know how to do it if I tried. Like you say everything about your worldview can be affected.

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      • July 29, 2015 at 8:16 pm
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        Turtle,
        I can’t say how this will go for me in the future, but it is a big part of who I am at this point in my journey.
        XOXXO, The Chicken

        Reply
    • July 29, 2015 at 8:15 pm
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      Turtle,
      Thanks! Appreciate your continued enthusiasm and support!
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • July 25, 2015 at 10:05 am
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    Great post! I wrote one a few weeks ago entitled “Still an Infertile Woman.” The emotions will always be there, even if we have “successfully” born children to term. We can never completely be part of the effortlessly fertile community. We will always remember.

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    • July 29, 2015 at 8:17 pm
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      Nicole,
      Awesome, I’m off to read yours.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply
  • July 31, 2015 at 3:20 pm
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    Wonderful post that I can so deeply identify with!! I am 17 weeks pregnant after IVF and feel stuck in between my friends from the infertility world and “normal” pregnant women. I am still very nervous and cautious and feel like many other pregnant women cannot possibly understand what I have been through/am going through. It’s an interesting place to be… I still keep in touch with many of my friends from the infertility world, but am very concerned about being sensitive to their feelings. Thanks for taking so openly about this important topic!

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    • July 31, 2015 at 6:09 pm
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      Lauren!
      Was wondering what happened to you when your blog went quit, happy to hear its good news! it’s especially hard to move forward with certainty after a miscarriage. I am so happy to hear that this pregnancy is going so well. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

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    • August 8, 2015 at 10:55 am
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      Logan!
      I didn’t know you read my blog! Honoured, honoured! Haha. Glad it resonated with you. I felt like it really needed to be said.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

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  • August 17, 2015 at 9:09 am
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    Thank you thank you thank you!
    I have two beautiful girls conceived via IVF, but for all the years I was struggling never reached out to find community. Now, being left without a uterus at all (I am the Ultimate Infertile) due to a scary-as-shit high risk condition in my last pregnancy, I’m finally processing the last five years of my life. Failed and successful fertility treatments, pregnancies that I refused to even really acknowledge until the second trimester, discussions of maternal mortality rates at the 20 week anatomy scan, premature delivery with 20+ doctors and nurses and not knowing if I would wake up to meet my baby… And friends who get pregnant after being off the pill for a month and then deliver in a field of daisies.
    What you write really resonates. Thank you.

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    • August 19, 2015 at 7:25 pm
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      Emily,
      You are most welcome!! Infertility is the kind of thing that tends to leave an indelible mark. Positive aspects and negative. So glad to hear you have two lovely ladies now, but yes, still infertile.
      XOXXO, The Chicken

      Reply

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