Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dreams are shattered

I am doing better than yesterday but I still wish that I was as optimistic and hopeful as I was 2 days ago. The hope is creeping back up though. Justin talks about a baby more now so he must be more hopeful than he usually is. After my work issues and phone issues yesterday Justin and I had a complete meltdown (ok, i had a meltdown) but we got in a huge fight and then in turn got a better understanding of where each of us are coming from. Infertility is SO rough on a marriage. Here is something I read about IF today:

Infertilty is not simply a medical problem. It is a devastating psychological problem, one involving strong feelings of guilt, anger, shame, powerlessness, anxiety, isolation and alienation.

Dreams are shattered. The expectation of being productive and creating a family is very powerful for most couples and few are able to face the growing awareness of a problem without becoming angry at self or other. But that is only the beginning. Once the couple enters the medical system, they typically experience themselves treated like objects of study, not humans in pain. Their sex life becomes a scientific experiment, no longer an expression of love. It also becomes an act that is always going to be judged as a success or a failure, not as an intimate act. It is anything but intimate, since it must be done by a set of rules established by physicians and, like children, they must report in to get their grade. Only the stakes are so much higher.

It may involve husbands giving painful injections to their wives or racing to a hospital with semen. It means women being plied with hormones that make them feel like someone else. It consumes all aspects of their lives. Each month centers on one question - are you pregnant? The wife's body becomes a laboratory. Semen and eggs are studied, stored, and experimented with in the hopes of generating a conception. Even conceiving doesn't stop the trauma. Now comes the fear of not carrying to term, since miscarriage is often an outcome. Of the 80% of couples with an infertility problem who seek medical assistance, only 55% ultimately bear a child. Another 35% will adopt. Oh yes! Let's dispel one myth right here. Only 4% of couples who adopt go on to become pregnant. Somehow we have come to believe this is a common occurrence, which it is not. By the way, of that 55% who do conceive, only 60% of those couples can directly attribute the conception to the medical intervention. So, in effect, only about one in three couples with infertility problems who seek medical help actually get pregnant as a result of that help.

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