30 March 2020

The Fertility Journey: Becoming Two People

Talking about our fertility struggles isn't something that's always come easily, and even know there are moments from this journey that I find really hard to talk about and express. But I also think it's so important to share it. There are so many people out there going through similar struggles, yet no one knows. And as part of the loneliest time in your life, I feel it's important to shout about it make sure others don't feel as isolated in their struggle as we did with ours.

I have done a video talking and summarising our journey here, but in this post, I wanted to pull out one of the biggest things for me throughout the entire experience, and something I don't really feel anyone has spoken about. It's difficult to explain, and it's difficult to understand - but this became me for the best part of two years.

You become two people

This happened around about the time my best friend told me she was pregnant - she happened the be the fourth person since we'd be trying (five months) to break the news to us. It was at this time I split into two people. And I'd like to point at this point - both of these people are 100% genuine, even if it seems a little hard to believe.

The first person is your public self. This is the person who is completely genuinely excited for someone when they tell you they're pregnant. It's a massive moment in someone's life, and this person understands that just because it's not happening for you, doesn't mean everyone else's life stops too. This person also loves being a part of the journey - hearing all the pregnancy tales, feeling kicks, buying presents and (apparently completely lacking in self-preservation) offers to plan all the baby showers. This person also loves cuddling and playing with the new babies and wants to steal them away.

The second person is your private self. This person didn't come out to a lot of people other than my husband. My Mum and my best friend may have seen glances but not to its full extent. This person withdraws after the initial excitement of finding out someone is pregnant, they get jealous and resentful. This person has to mentally prepare themselves every time they visit a baby, they put their shields up and pretend it doesn't break their heart every time they have a cuddle or every time they see their parents loving life as grandparents - but not to your baby. This person wants to sit in the corner at baby showers and drink wine from the bottle. Many bottles. It's this person that worried my husband every time he saw it.

It's hard to explain this split to anyone who hasn't felt it, and even now I struggle with talking about it because I don't want to upset anyone. But they were both there, they still are to some extent, and it was mentally, and emotionally draining.

I would sit and talk to my Mum about my nephew, quite happily, and then as soon as she was gone it was like I just sagged, this new feeling was there and that was it - I was then down and withdrawn. It's a weird balance, and not one I'd like to repeat any time soon.

I would offer to plan baby showers and love every second of planning them, and then the day would come. My walls would have to go up and I'd go through a couple hours of balancing these two people continually. It was after my best friends baby shower that my husband said I was torturing myself. But I don't think he ever really understood either - I didn't feel like I was because I loved planning it and being able to do that for the people I cared about.

It was a really weird cycle - because I'd feel happy for someone, then jealous and resentful, and then feel like a horrible person for feeling that way, and ashamed that I did. Which then made it worse. I hated this second person, I hated how they made me feel towards situations and people that I loved. It wasn't until I spoke to someone, almost two years into trying, that was also having issues that I found out this was completely normal. She described feeling the same way and I broke down in tears when she did because I just felt so relieved.

This was normal. I wasn't a horrible friend, or sister, or aunt. I was going through fertility issues, which was a shit time, and I was allowed to feel this way. I was normal.

And that's why I wanted to write a whole post on this. If you're going through this then please know if you feel this way, if you have this pesky second person, it is completely normal. You're not a horrible person, you're just going through a tough time and it's expected.

For those who know someone going through it - please just keep this in mind. They will tell you they're okay and they're happy to talk about it etc, and they really, genuinely are. But just keep in mind this second person - they won't ever tell you about them or how bad it is. So just remember that. I wish I'd spoken up sometimes and said actually can we not talk about them, or actually can we have time without baby - it was always offered to me but I always said no I'm fine. As I said - person one has no self-preservation.

There's more videos and posts coming on our journey - but if you ever want to talk please come and message me over on Instagram here. I just hope this is helpful for someone and can help in any small way.

All my love, Lisa x


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