Infertility—The Heartache is Worth It!
Guest Blogger: Talya Jankovits
Something I will never forget that my wonderful RN at the Huntington Reproductive Center shared with me is that tests have proven that the stress level of infertility is the same as that of a terminal disease. Nothing felt more terminal, stressful, or painful than trying to conceive my daughter. I spent over two years trying, underwent over a dozen various treatments and spent over $35,000 dollars to bring my daughter into the world; and while every day had left me feeling broken, empty and helpless, I do not regret one moment of it.
Infertility somehow escapes the sensitivity and awareness of society, leaving struggling women and couples to not only deal with the internal and physical stresses of trying to conceive but battling external stressors as well. I went through my treatments quietly, although not very graciously. I kept my dirty little secret from family and friends. I could barely handle the knowledge of my infertility on my own; the idea of others sharing in it as well was unthinkable. My doctor and nurses encouraged me to join support groups and still, I resisted. It wasn’t until after my daughter was born, until after I realized how many other couples I knew were also struggling, that I discovered the importance of voice—the incredible healing through talking with other couples facing similar complications. After being secret so long, I realize the importance of sharing my struggles.
Most of my insight came after my daughter was born. I hardly handled my infertility with grace or ease. I would be the first to tell any person struggling to conceive that it’s okay to handle it however feels best; it’s important to be judgment free, mostly of yourself. To be betrayed by your body, by your biological purpose of procreation, is indescribable; but the kicker—after finally conceiving my daughter through IVF, I realized something I never thought would be—that I would do it all over again for her.
It feels impossible to stay grounded or normal when undergoing treatments or battling the bedroom month after month; but the best insight I can share is that it’s all worth it. It’s not for nothing; it’s not forever; the options are plenty. It’s a fight, and the best fight. You are already maternal and motherly, already working and sacrificing and giving up your emotional and physical comfort to help bring into the world a person—the most substantial contribution someone can make to the world. It’s okay to get upset, to cry, to throw things, to say no to your best friend’s baby shower, so long as you don’t give up or lose focus.
Stay open and honest with your spouse or partner; research all your options and handle each day as it feels right to you. No one can tell someone how to feel or how not to feel. Treatments or not, secrecy or openness—there’s no right or wrong way to handle it; there is only the goal. No matter how that baby comes to you—through natural conception, through treatments, through a surrogate, an egg donor, or even an adoption agency—that baby was meant to be yours and once you are holding that baby, the pain and want and emptiness will make sense. I am the mother I am today; I am able to love and care and parent as I do because of my fertility challenges. In all sincerity, I wouldn’t change it. I would keep my path to motherhood exactly the same. I am a better mother for it.
When my husband and I look at our daughter, we look over at each other and we both know we would have done another four years of treatments, spent twice the money, because in retrospect, every tear shed for her, every penny spent, every heartache and treatment was absolutely worth it.
About the Author
Talya Jankovits became a proud mother to a beautiful little girl with the help of an extraordinary team of fertility specialists. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Antioch University and is currently in the final stages of writing a novel. She has been published in The Citron Review, 52/250, Thunderclap Magazine, and Annotation Nation.