*Trigger Warning: This post may give you all of the feels. That’s actually the point. I encourage you to read it even though it briefly mentions my relationship with my son. Be well*
The other morning I had a moment with my son. We were playing on the floor, as you do with a 5 month old, when I leaned over and smooched his cheek and neck. He let out this perfect giggle, so I did it to the other side. Back and forth the kissing went until we were both in hysterics. As I sat back on my heels, Bean Sprout and I grinning at each other, I thought… This. This is what I almost missed out on. This is what I worried I’d never experience.
This is what infertility steals.
As I hugged my baby up to my chest, my heart ached for the thousands of other Canadians who are going through their infertility struggle right now. The thousands of couples that are choking down pizza and ice cream because the bleeding started. Trying to tell themselves it will all be ok. Trying to find any shred of hope left to make them feel better.
This is what people don’t talk about.
1 in 6 Canadian couples. Hiding behind smiles. Swallowing back the bile at another negative test. Going about their business trying to pretend that they aren’t bruised. Trying to pretend that it isn’t killing them. Trying to find something, anything, that will feel like my son’s kisses. Just to find the will to keep trying. Just to find the way to remortgage their dream home, one more time. Selling that dream to pay for other dreams, dreams they can scarcely mention.
This is the depth of their pain.
And it needs to stop. Because it’s time. We need to start seeing these couples. We need to start helping them. Canada is a country where medical treatment is supposed to be “universally covered”. But it’s not. It’s far from it when all the infertility treatments I had to undergo, in order to get here, were out-of-pocket. It’s not fair to look these people in the eyes and say, “I’m sorry, it didn’t work. Can you afford one more try?”
Maybe that’s the problem. No one is looking them in the eyes at all. All negative test results are relayed via phone. All the law makers, that have voted against infertility coverage, didn’t have to look the legions of couples in their tear stained faces and tell them each, no. Most people don’t notice the infertile people in their lives. Most can’t see these treatments as anything but a WANT. That’s bullshit.
Did I want my baby? Yes, more than anything. Did I want to receive infertility treatment? Yes, I signed up for it. But ONLY because it was the medically necessary treatment that would help me to overcome my diagnosis of infertility. Infertility means that my reproductive organs didn’t work the way they were designed to and I was unable to conceive a baby on my own. IVF/ICSI was the medically prescribed treatment to overcome my infertility. It was not a carnival ride. It was hard work and physically/emotionally draining. But the treatment took. I was able to become pregnant with the Bean Sprout.
I want that for all the infertile couples across this great country! I hope that if you are infertile there is a treatment that will help you overcome your diagnosis (not necessarily IVF) to become pregnant. My wish for you is that the government will recognize that it’s time: to acknowledge these diseases, to understand that having a baby isn’t a want like a new kitchen or hot tub, to see that treatment is prohibitively expensive and should be covered.
Because, the other morning I had a moment with my son. And it’s time you got the opportunity to have those moments too.
All my love,