I have been working for many years with women looking for a baby, my role is to help them understand menstrual cycles but not only. Because when month after month you answer the doubts and questions you write to you, a bond is inevitably established and my task also becomes that of a virtual friend who offers a shoulder to cry on and who tries to keep morale high when every month the negative arrives inexorably, despite everything …
The sharing of joys and the denial of pain
In the extremely social age we live in, we are inclined to showcase the good things in our life. Engagement, marriage, travel, new clothes, attending a concert but also more personal things like a positive pregnancy test or showing off a growing baby bump. A series of negative tests often hide behind a positive pregnancy test, perhaps of the same person and dozens and dozens of negatives of those who belong to his circle of friends. Negative pregnancy tests no one ever talks about.
No one posts the desperation of a negative test except in specific groups and forums where they know they can be understood. But outside that environment, in a certain sense protected, the woman lives with an enormous burden forced to smile despite an immense sadness in the heart.
She struggles to smile even when someone asks her the question:
“And when do you think you have a child?”
As Adele Lapertosa writes, in her “The child possible”
[…] know that it is absolutely normal if your first reaction is that of a loss of confidence, not only in yourself and in your body that does not “respond as it should”, but also that primary and infantile confidence that makes you trust in the existence of an order natural and universal, to which we all belong. We were born to procreate and reproduce, like all other living beings, and instead our body disappoints. We feel “less women” or “men”. As if all your value was now placed in this inability, in having few damaged eggs or spermatozoa. An infertile body is a body that cracks gender identity, especially female,
What a negative pregnancy test hides
A negative test hides a world of disappointments. You feel guilty, it feels wrong. You are afraid of not having intercourse at the right time or in the right way, thus also losing the pleasure of the relationship itself. The partner is to blame if he is too tired one evening during the fertile period.
You can’t be happy if your couple of friends let you know about their pregnancy, and you suffer even more if the sweet expectation for them came unexpectedly or without much effort. You have a blade that sinks into a bloody wound but you don’t want to show it.
Instead it would be important to express your feelings, share your suffering with your partner, talk about it with your closest friends or family. Diagnosing a fertility problem is comparable to the pain of bereavement, because it is a loss (that of reproductive capacity) to be processed.
This elaboration takes time but it is obvious that a disappointment month after month or after each unsuccessful assisted fertilization cycle does not allow you to have the material time to overcome a frustration that gradually increases inexorably.
The result is that pregnancy becomes an obsession, you can struggle to concentrate on work in daily activities because being able to become a mother or father is now your fixed thought.
Every month hope is reborn during ovulation or with the transfer of an embryo, only to fall into despair when the “evil” ones arrive.
We get to the point of starting pregnancy tests a week before the arrival of the “redheads”, we take apart the test to see if the second line can be seen against the light. The photo of the test just made is published in the forums or in the closed group, to keep confidentiality towards those who know us, hoping that someone will see a positive that is not there.
The test is repeated the next day, it is checked after a minute, five, ten, hoping that the line appears. Maybe you go and get it out of the trash hours later, because you never know ..
And this happened months ago and continues to repeat itself, inexorably. It is hoped that the good news will come with spring then with the summer holidays, perhaps for the birthday or for Christmas or with the beginning of the new year. Daydream the moment you see those two lines color, when you tell the future dad, the family… and this it hurts even more when waiting is disillusioned.
Try not to think about it, because they tell you that fixed thought does not help, and you force yourself to smile, while the heart is crying inside.
And instead we advise you to cry, to let off steam, to scream, to throw out your pain. We will not tell you that everything will be fine, we hope so, but we cannot know. We remind you, however, that you are not alone, that the road may be long but that the flame of hope must always remain alight.
Who lives next to a couple with fertility problems he must absolutely not minimize the problem. It is very wrong to face the question with “don’t think about it” or “you’ll see it comes” or a hasty “everything will be fine”. Because it couldn’t be all right. And why thinking about it or not thinking about it can make no difference. No unsolicited advice but empathy.
When the situation becomes unbearable, remember that it is essential to ask for help from a professional who will help you to deal with the problem in the best possible way.
References and insights:
Adele Lapertosa: The child Possible. Guide to assisted fertilization. The Scientific Thought Publisher.
Marina Nicholas. 3 steps to happiness. Antonio Vallardi publisher
Eleonora Mazzoni. The defective ones. Einaudi Editore
Kyra Phillips & Jamie Grifo. The Whole Fertility Plan. Ed Harlequin.