How Infertility Kills Your Self-Esteem

How Infertility Kills Your Self-EsteemPeople are constantly telling me how strong and brave and inspiring I am for sharing my fertility struggles with the world — or, rather, with anyone who stumbles along my writing and those who’ve decided to follow along. I do feel strong some days. And even brave, too. But I mostly get inspired by others more than I feel inspiring.

Deciding to share my story was easy. I’ve always been an open book, often sharing more than perhaps I should. But, hey, that’s me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a pretty confident person. Sure, I have my insecurities. But over all, I know who I am and I live pretty easily with myself.

When I set out to get pregnant, I had absolutely no idea how much this process would affect me mostly because I didn’t know how many barriers we’d come up against.

For the most part, I try to remain positive. I try to tell myself that everything happens for a reason and that, in time, I will get pregnant. And I mostly believe that.

But this journey wears on you. It breaks you down.

Since I began my road to motherhood over 19 months ago, my mind and body have changed.

I’m not that fully optimistic person I always was. I look at things with a grain of salt now. I don’t let my hopes get too high. I don’t necessarily expect the worst, but I do expect “not the greatest,” and I definitely no longer expect the best.

Stay positive, stay positive, stay positive, they say.

That seriously is so much easier said than done.

You begin to feel broken with each negative pregnancy test. You begin to feel non-woman with each hormone injection. You begin to feel crazy with the mood swings. And you begin to feel gross with the inevitable weight gain just one of the awful side effects of IVF meds.

I can’t fit into my pants. They won’t button. I’ve never had an issue with my weight before, so this is all new for me. I’m embarrassed to say that I even sometimes wear my maternity jeans. I’ve put off buying pants that fit this new size of mine because I never expected to be this size for this long; I expected to be pregnant.

But I’m not pregnant.

But I’m wearing maternity jeans.

You can’t help but feel like a fat-ass when you wear maternity jeans and you’re not pregnant unless, of course, you’re wearing them because you just had a baby. That’s not my case, though. I’m not pregnant, and they’re the only pants I have that fit me.

I bought new pants the other day.

I faced the music and realized that I’m not getting pregnant easily, and that I need pants that fit me that aren’t maternity jeans.

So I put on my big girl panties (pun totally intended), and bought myself a pair of pants that fit.

My fertility woes have sucked my always-and-only positive outlook replacing it with what I like to call a more realistic view on life and it’s done this while adding pounds to my seemingly broken body.

Fertility journeys aren’t for the faint of heart. They will rip you up and spit you out like you’re dirt. And in the next breath, they will ask you to smile because you’ll never get pregnant with a bad attitude.

Infertility makes you feel crazy. Broken. And fat.

People who survive it always say, “It’ll all be worth it,” and I’m sure they’re right. I mean, that’s what all this is for, right?

But in the meantime, it kills you first.

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Photo: iStockphoto

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More From Aela on Babble:
No Sperm, No Embryos: Where We Go From Here
13 Things I’m Grateful for on My Fertility Journey
10 Things I Learned About Life When My Twins Died

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