Tell us about your infertility journey
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.
Does your decision to live childless affect your role in IFAASA?
I am very fortunate to be sharing a membership in IFAASA with some very wise and understanding people. My decision, although sad to some, was met with respect and understanding. It also opened a door for a demographic in infertility, being people who are not childless by choice, to have a voice and be represented in the organisation.
What type of understanding and support did you receive?
In order to answer that I think I need to take a step or two back. 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 colleagues in IFAASA 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.
What made you decide to join IFAASA?
It all started with a conversation I was having with a friend about whether infertility is in fact growing in our age, or if it is just receiving more attention as people become more aware and open about it. I found myself frustrated by the lack of statistics and knowledge available locally to debunk or support any of the theories we came up with that day, and I toyed around with the idea of establishing an organisation which, amongst other things, could encourage or even fund more research into infertility. Shortly afterwards, I was presented with the opportunity to join IFAASA, which tied perfectly into my ideas. It is one of my goals for IFAASA that, as we grow, so will our scope and eventually my research dream will take off.
Do you have any advice for someone 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.