"My experience with IVF is a very personal part of my life." Am I the only one who is making this up?


"My experience with IVF is a very personal part of my life." Am I the only one who is making this up?


My ninth pregnancy resulted in the birth of my daughter, who is now one year old. I had one abortion, seven miscarriages, and, happily, one live birth.

Apart from my mother, sister, and partner, no one else is aware of this.

The members of my partner's family, close acquaintances, and coworkers all believe that I simply waited a bit longer than usual women before becoming pregnant. Easy.

A very brave face of IVF emerged during the most recent round of Victorian COVID limitations. Melanie Swieconek publicly posted and then went live to camera for several big national morning TV programs to openly discuss her suffering and struggles. It was a terrifying sight to see. I concur with the majority of people when I say that brave best describes Melanie.

But for me, it was also accompanied by a sense of "wow, the pressure's on." Did Melanie ever have success with IVF? I'm sure I'm not the only one who searched for this on Google.

Maybe I'm contributing to the issue? Possibly

Why doesn't my body do what it is meant to do? is a common question from women in the IVF community. By remaining silent, am I supporting these emotions of inferiority and shame?

Once you dip your toes, or your full body, as it were, into the IVF world, the boy is it a community. IVF warriors and sisters congregate on purpose-built message boards, private Facebook groups, and forums. There is even a certain vernacular that I am fluent in and the best of at that uses a lot of abbreviations. Looking for help throughout the second week of pregnancy; now 5DP5DT; BFN utilizing FMU; is there still a chance for a BFP? Sending BD to everyone.

To document their adventures, some women set up specifically designed IVF Instagram accounts with the appropriately punny hashtags #Ivfbeentrying, and #Ivfgotthis, and include in their bios their important IVF states: BFN in 2019, 3 BFNs in 2022, 3 frosties in 2022, and a scheduled DEIVF cycle in 2023.

I visit these boards frequently and occasionally post, but am I the only one that still feels awkward sharing my reproductive story with the public?

The phrase "each to their own" is frequently used before making a highly judgmental statement, much like how you may say, "I don't mean this in a b*tchy way," before making a highly insulting statement.

I mean this with all sincerity when I say, "To each his own." My gosh, if blogging, sharing, and receiving all the support you want from anywhere in the world helps, then, by all means, go for it.

However, if someone were to inquire, "Did you have any trouble getting pregnant?" (After 35 and being viewed as a geriatric mother, it seems that everyone from your MIL to your barista can ask this.) I smile and flat-out fib, saying "No not really. We were lucky." I still believe that sharing my story with my family, friends, and even my barista would be an offensive oversharing of a very, very private journey.

And this is a major reason why IVF is a very private aspect of my life and something I don't acknowledge or talk about having done. I don't want anyone to know about my troubles or to inquire about them. I would not be helped by any kind of well-meaning probing and having to talk to my doctors about my situation and the increasingly complex treatment regimes was exhausting enough.

I can think of two reasons to explain this to my partner, who would much prefer that we be open and honest about our struggles:

1. In line with the previous point, I don't want the added stress of having to inform well-intentioned family and friends of where we are in a cycle and what is coming up. I don't want to share my adventure so openly and give people the impression that they are entitled to updates since they are traveling with me. I'd hate to think that people were talking about my fertility without me present.

2. Even though predictions indicate that by 2023, one kid in every kindergarten class in Australia would have been conceived through IVF, a part of me wonders if my daughter should know about her medical history and conception journey. Because of course, it's not, I'm careful not to make her feel different or like having an IVF baby is anything to be ashamed about. But is it appropriate for me to discuss it? Do I want that information to be known to the public? Although I have done my study and know this to be false, there are still people out there who will comment on a so-called IVF baby's development and milestones by saying things like, "Oh interesting, often IVF babies have problems with their eyes/learning/height."

I thus lie.

I genuinely admire the ladies who fight so openly, but I will never be one of them. Even though my coworkers and friends are open about their IVF experiences, I'll never reveal to them that I am another IVF Warrior.

Am I the only one who has remained silent?

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