Every month is a waiting game.
Everything was done right. It can’t be that hard. It isn’t rocket science. Right? It should not be that complicated.
But, isn’t it supposed to be simple? The basic function of the sperm is to merge with the egg and create life. Yet, a reported 10% of women suffer from infertility. Let’s put that into perspective. The population of Missouri is roughly 6 million people. Add one hundred thousand more individuals and that is the 10% of woman who suffer from the inability to carry a child to full term.
A newlywed couple lays in bed, surrounded by the bliss of love and forever. Their laughs are embraced with talks of tomorrow’s future. Their future is designed with a home filled with chaos of toys piling up, screams echoing down the halls, and food splattered walls.
At first, trying to build a family was fun. The excitement of making love was increased with the possibility of another new beginning. As her cycle approaches, anxiety fills her veins. She can’t wait. Test are made to detect pregnancy early. They grab you in. Their advertisement is somehow turned into a promise. Her mind begins to tease her. Take this test. You’re pregnant. There’s no need to wait for your period to appear. Her husband proudly buys the test. He avoids driving pass the speed limit, but is anxious to swoop her in his arms and start this journey.
The husband knows he should give his wife privacy in the restroom, but secretly wants to be in there with her. To be a part of every step. However, he paces outside, quietly, wrapped in his own thoughts.
Her hands tremble with nerves as she reads the instructions and opens the package of the pregnancy test. Then, she quietly laughs and thinks to herself, “Why am I reading the instructions? You simply pee on a stick!” But she continues to read the instructions because every right step will decrease the chance of a negative result. Everything must be done correctly. She places the cap back on and gently lays the test flat on the bathroom counter top. Exhales and leaves the bathroom. She finds her husband, grabs his hand, squeezes it, and smiles.
They try to pass the short 3 minutes, but all they can do is hold each others’ hand and laugh randomly. Their pulse is increasing with every step to the bathroom. She opens the door and tries to avoid looking at the test directly because she must wait until the test is in her hands to look at the results. She can feel it. This is the moment they have been waiting for. She reaches down to grab the test and glances at the results. She doesn’t believe what she sees. The results aren’t right because it was only a glance. She must not have looked at it closely. She holds the test in her hand right under her gaze, and turns to her husband. She forces a smile and tells him that it is negative. He comforts her with words that state that it may be too early, that there are days before her period is due. She finds comfort in his words.
Days pass and they both try not to remember the negative of the test but remember that it was just too early. She begins to have symptoms. Her breast are sore and tender. She has small twinges of pain in her abdomen. Her pants are a bit snug from being bloated. She is emotional and more tired than usual. It doesn’t matter that she’s had the symptoms before her periods in the past. These symptoms are different because they are trying to conceive. These symptoms are pregnancy related, not related to the signs of starting her cycle. She wakes up to start her morning. She makes way to the restroom to start her morning routine. Then she feels it. It has begun. Her heart sinks into her stomach.
The wife must tell her husband that she is not pregnant. He hears what she is telling him and sorrow fills his heart, but shows only signs of comfort for his hurting wife. They both agree that this is normal. It takes time to conceive. That other couples struggle for months, but in the end, it will happen.
Over time, the woman learns about ovulation, temperature tracking, baby making positions, learns what foods will help increase fertility, and takes required vitamins. Google and WebMD become her best friend and devil’s advocate. The couple put on a brave face every month and have faith that their bodies are capable of conceiving a child.
Their story continues with excitement of promising signs that are squashed by monthly cycles. They suffer alone but continue to fight for a child of their own that is promised by society’s dreams of white picket fenced homes and child in tow.
Couples aren’t supposed to struggle to conceive a child. Yet, months after months, couples are greeted with another pregnancy test that has a negative result. A woman is supposed to bear a child and a man is supposed to pass down his lineage. Couples dreams are fulfilled with pregnancies that are dashed away before her belly starts to grow. Jealously fills hearts as friends announce their pregnancies.
The struggles with conceiving a child are heartbreaking and taboo. Families suffer in silent. They reach out to medical professions for comfort while yearning to talk to a friend. It’s a personal journey that does not need to hide in shame.