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
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