On Fertility, Or The Lack Thereof.

I’ve been writing this post in my head for years. It’s been written on my stomach and on my arms. It’s been written in between the black, blue and yellow marks left on my stomach by dozens of hormone injections. It’s been written on my arms amongst the bruises left by multiple unsuccessful attempts to draw blood.

For three long years I attempted to get pregnant, and to carry that pregnancy to term. My whole life I barely knew any children, I was never that interested. But there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to have them. I come from a very strong nuclear family, one I knew I wanted to replicate. At 36 I met my now husband. Two months later we were engaged. Three months after that we were married, and I was eight weeks pregnant.

We had a beautiful, happy wedding, most of which I spent slightly shellshocked that I was actually (finally) getting married.  Four days later I miscarried. This was to be the first of 4 miscarriages. As I write these words I pray to my god that that number is final.

For three years my life revolved around my reproductive system, or lack thereof. We did so many rounds of IVF I eventually stopped counting. Each month I injected myself with rising levels of hormones; by the end of the round I could barely find enough space in between bruises on my stomach to stick in yet another needle. My brain was mush. It was overflowing with hormones and felt like it was floating in formaldehyde. I was Jekyll and Hyde. You did not want to be my husband.

What I gradually learned is that going through IVF is not a yes/no equation of success or failure. Every single round is a long, drawn out, heartbreaking process. There are half a dozen fault points, each of which can bring the round to a screeching halt, delivering what feels like a huge “FAIL” sign straight to your barren door. Every ultrasound, every blood test, every invasive procedure, poses the option to fail. Each gives you a small heart attack. Every ultrasound which is not a fail feels like a win. Until the next one, two days later. You wonder if you’ll even get to the next step in the process, never mind an actual pregnancy, which feels unachievably far.

Fertility treatments ravage your body, your soul, and sometimes your relationships. During my years of IVF I founded a startup, raised funding and got the business off the ground. But I still couldn’t do what almost every other female on the planet could, regardless of their intelligence or ability. It made me want to punch a hole through the wall. To scream my lungs out. Sometimes it made me want to go underwater for long, long periods of time.

My story has a happy ending. My son turned two last week. Being his mom has been a revelation. The depth and breadth of feeling that his existence has introduced me to leaves me breathless, daily. He has pulled aside curtains to worlds I didn’t know existed. Some days I’m too tired to think or feel. But most days I am amazed by the fortune bestowed upon me to have this little human in my life.

Needless to say, I can only experience my own parenthood. So I can’t say, and wouldn’t say, whether the hell I went through to have a child makes my joy greater than someone else’s. But what I can say is this: knowing myself, I know that my journey makes me appreciate this incredible gift exponentially more than if it had gone as smoothly as it does for most of humanity. It makes me not take my child for granted, ever. It makes me stare at him in wonder and it makes me ridiculously emotional at completely inappropriate moments. And it makes me more thankful that I ever thought I could be.

 


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  • Tamar Yaniv Klorman

  • Carol Perry

    When you become a parent you start a journey which you have no control over. A journey that will take you to the lowest lows and the highest heights. Tamar, you showed us that this journey can start even before conception.


    • Tamar Yaniv

      Aint that the truth!


  • Susan Lindner

    Your story is heartbreakingly beautiful. And not because you got the child you wanted, but because you survived it. Your strength is also a reminder to that little boy about how much his parents wanted him. It’s a reminder to your husband of your capacity endure all things for love. But my take away in reading this, is as a reminder of your incredible resilience, even when the desire is there to sit on the ocean floor –with or without scuba gear.

    The bruises are gone, but they made a personal, internal map of your ability to carry strength, discard shame and move forward– arms overflowing with the little boy and that soft check against yours that says everything is possible.


    • Tamar Yaniv

      As usual, you made me cry. I always wish I could live up to how you see me.


  • Tani

    Thank u for sharing ur story I am going thru my second round of ivf right now on the train on the way to an ultrasound appt ive been writing my story in my head too and hope I will have the strength to share it one day. I have a 3 year old who we conceived fairly easily and going thru this definitely makes me appreciate him so much more I hope u continue to enjoy everyday with ur son 😉


    • Tamar Yaniv

      Thank you Tani – fingers crossed for you!


  • Ella Mathews (ex-Crazy Stork Lady)

    Incredibly powerful stuff. You had me in tears reading it Tamar. I’m so glad things worked out for you in the end and I have so much respect for you for sharing such a harrowing and traumatic experience with the world. I hope it gives other people going through similar fertility struggles some consolation as well as helping people outside all that better understand what’s involved, not just physically but mentally.


    • Tamar Yaniv

      Thank you Ella, I sincerely hope so.


  • Ella Jacoby Bashan

    So beautiful and courageous, just like you


    • Tamar Yaniv

      You’re too kind. Toda my dear.

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