When I got married, we never imagined it could happen to us.
Infertility is not something you plan for. It's not something you discuss in those early years of marriage. Maybe you talk about the number of kids you're going to have, what you might name your children or where you might raise your family- but no one says, "what if we can't have kids"?
You spend your early adult years trying NOT to get pregnant and then when the time is right in your life, it can't happen. No wishing, dreams or prayers can make your pain go away and you have to get help.
I think often about how those early struggles and ability to overcome adversity, ask for medical help and mourn the loss of a "dream" prepared us to be parents of a child with special needs. Much like that "Trip to Holland", you find yourself on the other side of your life's dreams, and you need to grieve the loss of that dream, still finding beauty in the landscape around you.
I will always use this time of year to reflect on how thankful I am that our first and second rounds of IVF were a huge success and that I didn't have to struggle for more than a year through that immense emptiness and pain. I couldn't imagine my life without my boys. A life without being a mother. But there was a price for that motherhood.
I'm so thankful that I've never felt the agony of a pregnancy loss, after undergoing fertility treatments- knowing that you have to find the strength and money to try again. Our dear friends are on this journey right now. I wonder how they are feeling this Thanksgiving?
I watched this sweet couple on the Today show- having shared there IVF retrieval and transfer LIVE on national television. They shared their joy as they told the world that they were newly pregnant. Much like Conceivable Dreams organization, this couple wanted to destigmatize the struggles of IVF. They told the reporter that they shared their story, so that other couples would know that they are not alone. In sharing this journey, they also felt free to embrace the help and support from families and friends who now know their dark secret. It's not easy to share, but it can be freeing.
What struck me in watching that segment is that this is one of the few health issues where we can relate to our American counterparts. We both have to take on the tremendous financial burden of paying for our fertility treatments. When will this change? Not for me, but for my friends, for my kids? If our government doesn't recognize infertility as a real medical issue, and help keep families healthy, will couples start to put away money for fertility costs, much like a down payment for their first house? With the staggering increases in infertility- this might become a reality.
Please follow @OHIP4IVF on Twiter or the hashtag #OHIP4IVF to support government funding for IVF. I support helping other couples become parents, without the financial burden that comes with infertility.
*Disclosure: I am honoured to share our story of IVF as a valued and compensated member of the Conceivable Dreams blog team.