By Cindy Jansen van Rensburg
I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility in 2011, after having tried to fall pregnant for three years already. After two IUI’s, a laparotomy and an IVF, we decided to pursue living childless as an option. And of course, as Murphy would have it, that was when I fell pregnant naturally. Sadly we lost the baby at 12 weeks, and about 8 months later our marriage also crumbled and we are now divorced.
When I was diagnosed with infertility, I felt very lonely and misunderstood. It took a while to find people who understood the struggle and the journey, and who respected the decisions you have to make along the way. I was blessed to have met people, both online and in person, who became my support structure in this aspect of my life. Once I made the decision to live childless, it was as if I had to start from scratch again. Many people in my shoes feared the decision, and didn’t understand how my mind had shifted, and how I managed to find peace in that decision. My loved ones though, embraced the process and acknowledged it as yet another family building option. After all, what makes up a family, is entirely up to the members in that particular family, not to any norm that society may set.
My advice for anyone who has recently been diagnosed with infertility?
Reach out. Join forums. Find like minded individuals who will fill your journey with love, support and understanding, instead of well-intended but often hurtful and unsolicited platitudes. I have found the infertility community to be warm, caring and helpful. There will be a lot of little things along your journey which only someone who has been there themselves, can advise you on or warn you about. You do not have to face it alone, or uninformed, for that matter.