Sharing our stories always feels fragile. It always feels scary and it always feels uncertain. But I’m reminded every time I do it, why I do it. Because life is messy as hell and when we share our mess instead of just Instagram curated highlights, that vulnerability breeds connection.
After the last blog post where I talked about starting to think about my fertility and deciding to start the process to freeze my eggs, I had more responses than I’ve had to any other blog post. It resonated with so many people on so many different levels.
From hearing stories of women who froze their eggs and have since had successful pregnancies, to women who wished they had frozen their eggs, and those who are in the midst of the process or thinking about it, it has been eye opening and hugely comforting for me. But before I’d shared the last post I never knew most of those. Full transparency, I also had a couple of offers to inseminate my eggs but, as I thought I made clear, that’s no the goal. But thanks guys….
While I wasn’t necessarily planning on sharing the whole process of freezing my eggs, the response to the last post was overwhelming and although I’m not promising to give you a blow by blow of every injection, I have decided to share a little more of the details but more so the thought process that goes along with it. So here I am.
I’ve had my first round of blood tests, completed all the initial paperwork (do you know your Mother’s fertility history?!) and had the consultation with the doctor. The part that hasn’t fully registered with me yet is the physical requirements, the medical side of things. Because the emotional toll has been far greater than I had anticipated.
The craziest thing is that I went to an information night at the fertility clinic back in 2017 about egg freezing. I can’t honestly remember what my motivation was then but I know what my resistance was – cost. How could I justify spending ~$10,000 on a procedure I didn’t know I needed. If I could tell my younger self one thing then it would have been “rob a bank to get the money, you will not regret it later”. Because who in their early thirties is honestly thinking about freezing their eggs. And, for that matter, not a lot of people in their early thirties can afford to do it either.
So instead, as women, we can find ourselves in our late thirties worried that we’ve already maybe missed the boat and still needing to fork out $10k. Was there a lecture on being a woman that I missed, or a presentation about planning for your future. It’s like one day we’re all young and virile and the next I could be considering a geriatric pregnancy. Isn’t being a woman great?!?
The hardest part to accept is that this decision is wrought out of the concern that I may physically lose the ability to bear a child using my eggs. This is on the assumption that I had the ability in the first place which as I think most of us know, as we’ve watched friends and loved ones go through fertility struggles, isn’t always a guarantee. But before now I’ve never had to consider resolutely having options removed from me before due to ageing. I could go back to school if I wanted. Pick up a new hobby. Start a new career. At any age. But this biological clock is no joke, and when I really think about it, it’s just me and my ageing staring each other in the face.
Add to that the fact that having these concerns and making these decisions alone, for me at least, drives home the seeming lunacy of the situation. I’m freezing my eggs in case I get into a relationship with someone I may want to have children with and I might jointly decide to procreate with. That’s a lot of bloody if’s. And so the ethereal nature of saving my eggs for this supposedly so-perfect-I-want-to-have-kids-with-him relationship just feels a little intangible.
After all, I’ve always felt like it was the partnership, the teamwork, the unit of a relationship that I missed, that I would like in my life. I can do life by myself. I’m doing life by myself. But I would absolutely choose a healthy, grounding, nurturing partnership over the solo life. It hasn’t been, at least thus far, the kids that have been missing. Understandably, this process feels like some real nice salt in the wound of – well, you have neither so why don’t you save your maybe children for your maybe relationship.
WOW. My inner thoughts are brutal. That just came out of my head and onto this page as I was typing and I don’t think I’ve ever let that thought fully form before because it’s so heinous.
But that right there, that’s the fear. “your maybe children for your maybe relationship.”
And in this moment, I need to remind myself, that neither of those things make me any more or less valuable – being in a relationship, nor being a mother. Neither takes anything away from who I am without them. And there’s a need to once again call on the faith that everything happens exactly how it’s meant to.
Life is messy, it’s complicated, and it doesn’t always make sense at the time it happens. Sitting in messines isn’t something I’m super good at. I like clean lines. I like the black and white. I like assurances. If I’ve learnt one thing though, it’s that there are no assurances in life.
So I focus on the tangible. Next up are ultrasounds, and figuring out scheduling the procedure and the prep around upcoming work trips. While I continue to try to just sit in the now, accepting the ambivalence of where I am. Although I have reluctantly become used to that discomfort.
All the while knowing that if by sharing this part of my story, this new struggle, allows others a space to share or feel seen, or even just makes someone consider their fertility and their future more seriously than they maybe have before then, once again, it’s already served a purpose. Let’s talk about it.
And if you ask my closest male friends, they’re getting the details about my appointments, about the process, about what my physical and emotional needs are going to be during it all because we not only need to normalise talking about it amongst women, but men should understand the challenges we face.
Life is messy and I’m not about to hide it.
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