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Infertility and anger

Anger and infertility go together like a horse and carriage, love and marriage, like bad hair and Donald Trump. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. While there may be serene and blissful pregnancies the battle to conceive is anything but.

I don't think I was ever so cranky as when I was trying unsuccessfully to have a baby, culminating in the IVF (in-vitro fertilization) process. And giving IVF drugs to an already emotionally fraught woman is like waving a red flag at a mallee bull.

For the first time in his life, my two-metre tall husband was actually scared of me. I'm not sure what he thought I was capable of, but he didn't want to find out. Which is why, when we were halfway up the mountain on our weekend away and I yelled that we had to turn back as I'd forgotten my basal thermometer, he did. Without arguing. Just went a little pale before putting the indicator on and doing a swift U-turn.

In a past life, before trying to conceive, it would have been out of the question but this was now: I was mad and he was nervous.

Not that I ever shared what was going on in my head or anything. No, I kept the homicidal thoughts towards pregnant women, people who blew smoke in their children's faces and power walking pram groups to myself. Nor did I share any of the ideas I had about what should happen to people who abused their kids: Courtney Love, Jordan, and other abysmal celebrity mothers.

Then there was the small stuff—the "you left the light on", "you forgot to buy parmesan cheese", and so forth. It was quite fortunate by the time it came to IVF and no sex was required because there couldn't have been any with my moods, unless it was of the makeup variety. But you better get in quick, I just spotted a mold spot on the ceiling and it's making me furious.

Seriously though, why do we get so angry? And why do we get so down on ourselves for being that way? The answer to the second question probably lies with the fact that there is still some expectation, stemming from last century that women aren't supposed to get really angry. Bulldust!

All those 1950s magazines with the perennially happy homemakers, grinning while they ironed, beaming while they vacuumed, twinkling as they fetched their husband's scotch and slippers set some pretty warped notions of how we should be. Had there been IVF then, no doubt the woman would have been pictured there in backless gown and matching paper hat sunnily beaming her way through the egg pick-up, or smiling beatifically in wasp waisted dress as she injected herself with Puregon.

As for why we get so angry, well, aside from the sense of injustice that this is happening to us, and the lack of understanding and insensitivity we often experience from others, including loved ones, anger is a part of grief. A healthy part.

The grieving process comprises four parts: denial, anger, sadness, and acceptance. When we suffering infertility, which is something we struggle to deal with, we will experience these emotions before we can either resolve or learn to accept the situation. Anger has as much of a role as sadness, although different people experience each in different measures.

In accepting that anger is OK, you can start to tame the beast, not feel so out of control with it. This doesn't means trying to suppress it. It will reveal its ugly head again later anyway, usually when you're at an important work party with your husband.

There are things you can do to take the edge off it: yoga, various forms of exercise, boxing, counseling, just putting headphones on and going off for a walk.

And if it's your partner that bears the brunt of it, talk. Tell him that this is how you are right now and it's not about him. It's about the situation. Unfortunately for him you can't shout at your ovaries or your IVF doctor.

The other thing to know is that it will pass, either when you fall pregnant or when you have worked through the process and reached a new place to be in.

Unlike Donald Trump who is stuck with his hair forever, you won't be stuck with the anger.

About the Author:
Jodi Panayotov is the author of In Vitro Fertility Goddess, a non-fiction book about her fertility-obsessed absurd journey to motherhood. The book has been described as "Australia's answer to Bridget Jones" by ABC Radio National Breakfast Presenter Fran Kelly. To read some free excerpts and more articles by this author, go to www.invitrofertilitygoddess.com


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