This post is part of my series for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018! The series includes articles, poems, and photo essays by many guest authors about mental health and related issues. For more information, click here!
When you decide as a couple to try for a baby, you assume everything will just happen. After all, you’ve spent so long trying NOT to get pregnant, that it seems almost inevitable that now you’re not being so careful, it’ll happen in no time.
Well sadly for 1 in 7 couples, it’s not always that easy.
My girlfriend and I decided that after 3 and a half years together, it was time to try for a baby. We’d got the house, the jobs, the next step was a family. We stopped using any contraception, and so began our journey of trying to create a family.
After 6 months we started to realise things weren’t quite right. After all, we’d had nothing in that time. We’d done all of the research, we knew when was the best time to conceive, but for some reason it wasn’t happening for us. We’d said that after a year we’d visit the doctors, and that’s eventually what happened.
So far, anxiety hadn’t been an issue, but anything medical is a trigger for me, and I find things very difficult to deal with, so I knew things were going to be challenging when we began dealing with the hospital, I just didn’t realise how challenging, though I was coping quite well.
After discovering that there was nothing wrong with either of us, we began our treatment. However much to our delight, my girlfriend found she was pregnant after 14 months of trying. We were completely over the moon, and couldn’t believe what had happened. It’s as if our prayers had been answered. However sadly after 5 days, we began losing our baby, and had to go to the hospital to have it confirmed. It was here I experienced a panic attack, and from then my anxiety kicked in and changed my whole life around again for the following 6 months or so. It was a really tough time, watching my girlfriend go through one of the hardest things in her life, both physically and mentally and while the support was available for her, I felt I had no one – I had to put on a brave face and just keep going.
We were told after a miscarriage we’d have to wait, so wait we did – another 6 months, yet still nothing happened. Time soon flew by, and we were back for a consultation and approved for treatment. Each consultation was crippling, I was anxious through every one, but it’s surprising just how determined you can be when you want something so bad.
Our treatment is now ongoing. The first has been difficult, coping with hospital appointment after hospital appointment, however the nurses at the clinic have been amazing with us, particularly me, in making the whole journey comfortable.
The other problem with this whole thing is just how much this can change you as a couple. It consumed us. It was our every thought, every conversation – each month we’d discuss it, plan, told when we could do things and when we couldn’t. Recently, we’ve taken a small step back. For me mentally it’s important because my anxiety was beginning to spiral, and I had to take control. We’ve been spending a lot of time just focusing on us, to make sure we remain open and honest about how we’re feeling.
Our next step is IVF, and to be honest I’m terrified. I don’t know what to expect, all I know is it’s quite difficult to deal with and can take its toll on my girlfriend’s body. Well, unfortunately these are the cards we’ve been dealt. It’s something we both want so much, so this is all a sacrifice we have to take.
Will I get anxious? Probably. Will I survive? Most definitely.