One thing people with no experience of trying unsuccessfully to conceive really don’t get is how overwhelming infertility can be – and how utterly impossible it can be to forget about it for a few hours, let alone a few days or weeks. Wanting to have children is such a basic human instinct that it’s often hard to explain why you want to do it – for most of us, it’s just part of what we expect to do as people, and that’s why it’s so incredibly difficult when we find we can’t.
I’m sure most of us have been told by a well-meaning friend or relative at some point along the way that perhaps we ought to try forgetting about it for a bit, going on holiday, having a break and getting life back into perspective. If we’d just relax, we’d probably get pregnant right away.
What other people can’t fathom is that infertility isn’t something we choose to think about, it’s something we can’t help thinking about – and even when you try not to, there are the constant reminders all around you. It’s impossible to go out for a day and not see a pregnant woman, a young baby or a happy family. You can’t switch on the television or open a magazine without finding pictures that will remind you of what you don’t have. Even without all the external reminders, there’s the gnawing sadness inside that haunts you – a woman I interviewed for one of my books summed it up for me when she said that sometimes she would wake up on a sunny morning and for a moment she would be happy and think what a lovely day it was, before suddenly the negative thoughts about not being able to have a baby would come crashing in and all the happiness would fade away.
It’s simply not realistic to expect yourself to “just forget all about it…”, but you can be kind to yourself, make time for things you enjoy and try to treat yourself and your partner. Focusing on the good things and trying to enjoy life can’t make infertility disappear, but it can make it easier to live with.