The Remarkable Unpredictability of Infertility
The unpredictability of infertility. Say that three times fast. Not so easy.
Here's a blog, slightly edited, that was published one year ago. Strangely similar day.
The Unpredictability of Infertility
It’s been way too long since I’ve done a weather blog. (Probably a year!)
And to my credit, I’ve avoided the incredibly tiresome, obvious blog.
About it being November 2015 and touting our current warmth, compared to the snowy Novembers of recent past. You already know all about it. Lots of snow and storms in the past.
But not this November. This one’s been warm. Unseasonably warm. Balmy even. At least so far.
It’s unpredictable, the weather. That’s the point.
And the forecasts that we receive, are prophecies. On target and exact.
And sometimes not. It’s really not about the forecasts though. After all, several years ago, we knew we were getting snow, even when we didn’t quite believe it and we got it. And this November, there’s been no hint of snow (except for those few drifting flakes a week or so ago) and no mention of it either in the weather reports. It’s not really about the weather forecasts. Maybe it is about global warming. Maybe it’s just the weather and its changeability.
So is infertility.
Unpredictability of Infertility Causes Imbalance
The unpredictability causes imbalance.
It makes us feel that we can’t depend on anything. We can’t depend on things going one way or the other. We hope that that the prediction will actually turn out the way we were counting on.
But we know it’s just a weather forecast.
And that depending on the way the currents are riding and from which direction, that forecast could be spot on, or merely a whimsical thought destined towards obscurity.
Our hormone levels could rise steadily on a curve, exactly the way that amount of medication is designed to make happen. Or not.
Our follicles could grow, day by day, with no sudden increased growth patterns. Or not.
Our uterine lining could become the perfect place for implantation to occur, with the exact measurements we all hope for. Or not.
There is a reason that we feel crazy when we are in the midst of a fertility treatment cycle. And this is it. It’s unpredictable.
And deeper down?
It’s not only that the fertility cycle experience is unpredictable; it’s that the outcome is as well.
We Don't Know if Fertility Treatment Will Work
We don’t know if fertility treatment will work. If we will end up nine months from now, baby in arms, celebrating a birth. We don’t know if we will achieve what we are hoping for, or mourning embryos that did not implant and continue to divide. We don’t know if we will become pregnant and if we do that the pregnancy will go on to thrive or end disastrously early.
These are our fears.
Baldly put, I admit. But there they are. These are the fears that haunt us. Even when things are going well.
These are the fears that peek out when we ask our nervous questions, desperately seeking reassurance that cannot be given. These are the fears that motivate why we seem discontent even when everything is going along swimmingly. These are the fears that prick our consciousness when the news is the best possible news.
Infertility teaches us unpredictability.
And it also teaches us that there is no guarantee.
An Infertility Guarantee?
And with all our hopes, dreams, time, money, effort, we would love a guarantee. Here’s what I imagine would comfort any person trying to conceive:
“Within three years of commencing fertility treatment, after many ups and downs, numerous starts and stops, countless missteps, you will be pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby.”
Who out there wouldn’t put in their time? Who wouldn’t put in their time with a relative sense of ease and relief?
Who out there wouldn’t be able to manage the hurdles, the ups and downs, with equanimity, because they would know for sure, that at the end of the thunderstorm, there would be a rainbow, and at the end of the rainbow, there would be the pot of gold? That at the end of the three years, it would be their baby announcements sent in the mail, their ultrasound pictures to ooh and ah over and their arms and hearts full?
Who wouldn’t take the deal?
And who out there doesn’t get why the fear is there? When even in the best of situations, the failure rate is higher than we would like and the stakes are so high?
Tomorrow, the other side. Where fear can lead you, by the hand. Our fear can be our way out, of that, there is no question.
Guaranteed, we can find a way out of our fear.
About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.