Over the last few months I have been more vocal regarding my infertility than I have been over the last two and a half years, and honestly there’s only one reason as to why – I no longer feel ashamed… Okay that’s a lie I still feel ashamed, I just feel less ashamed. When I really think about it though, I find myself asking ‘why should I feel ashamed?’ and the simple answer is – I shouldn’t. For the last two and a half years I have well and truly beaten myself up over my diagnosis. I’ve asked whether it was my fault or anything I could’ve prevented. I’ve hated my body for ‘failing’ me. I’ve become scared of making it worse. I’ve found myself avoiding questions regarding my body and fertility. Mostly though I’ve felt ashamed because my body can’t do the sole thing we’re put on the planet to do. Reproduce.
I’m not going to lie to you, an infertility diagnosis hurts and that’s putting it lightly. It’s one of those things that doesn’t ever really sink in. Some day’s you’re fine, others you aren’t. For a long time I found myself avoiding people I knew with children and I continued that way for a good eight months before I realised that that was no way to live my life. Unfortunately for me I have always been incredibly maternal and known from a young age that I wanted to have a lot of children one day (think the Von Trapp’s or the family from the old Bisto advert) and to be told otherwise is like having your heart ripped from your chest multiple times. However, I have come to realise lately that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. It isn’t my fault and there is nothing I could’ve done to prevent it.
My reason for being so vocal recently is because I’ve found that it’s such a taboo subject, people hear the word ‘infertility’ and automatically clam up, look at you like you’ve uttered the dirtiest word in the World, or people suddenly have no idea what to say to you. I personally feel that it’s time we stopped treating it as a taboo subject and started speaking freely about it without any judgement. I will be completely honest and say that when I see pregnancy announcements or pictures of friends children, I get this weird mix of sadness, jealously, and happiness. I will be completely over the moon for which ever friend it is, yet ever so slightly sad and jealous that they have something that I will never have, and I’m aware of how pathetic that sounds.
Thankfully though I was lucky enough to meet Giovanna Fletcher at her book signing a few weeks ago, she has recently come forward with the fact she has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome like me. There is one thing she said to me that will always, always stick in my mind – “Please believe me when I tell you that despite how you may be thinking or feel right now your body is not failing you” and I cannot even begin to describe how much I needed to hear that, and honesty she’s right. In that moment I truly realised that I shouldn’t allow myself to be feeling ashamed of myself. So… Hi I’m Ellan and I have fertility issues. I have PCOS and despite the fact that I used to years ago I now no longer ovulate. At the end of the day these are just words, infertility does not define me.
I shouldn’t feel scared of telling anyone over fear of being judged and I shouldn’t feel like I’m less of a woman because of it, because at the end of the day I’m still me. I understand that any insensitive comments that are made aren’t meant intentionally, they’re made due to lack of knowledge and understanding. However, I want to change that. 1 in 10 women suffer from fertility issues of some kind, and if we go by the idea that half the worlds population of 8 billion, are female that means that roughly 40000000 women worldwide have some form of fertility problem. So why don’t we talk about it more?
I don’t want to feel ashamed anymore. I want to be open and honest. Infertility is honestly the loneliest thing I have ever gone through, without then having the added isolation of when you decided to tell someone and they back away rapidly. I’m done with feeling that way. So from now on I will be speaking louder and more honestly than ever before, with the aim of helping people like me feel less alone while also helping others understand what we’re thinking and going through without feeling awkward about it.