She conceived twins through. One of them was aborted at 30 weeks for anomalies.
She conceived again through IVF. And her marriage fell apart. And she aborted twins.
My experiences have opened my eyes to the unacknowledged devastation IVF can wreak. No one talks about how the pursuit of fertility can bring negative consequences: you are expected to set your eye on the goal and just keep going until you get there. And when it has worked for you, no one will countenance you talking about how long or difficult the process was. Every discussion tends to be rounded off by someone saying, ‘At least you’ve got your little boy,’ as if what you went through is cancelled out by the end result.
Of course, mothers say that, however awful the pregnancy or birth, having a baby makes it all worthwhile. Society (including doctors, nurses and health visitors) tends to prevent women who have suffered any motherhood ‘loss’ (including the inability to conceive) from acknowledging it and thus working through it.
A friend of mine who has one IVF son and another conceived naturally, as well as having lost a twin pregnancy, says:
‘I still feel traumatised by fertility treatment and I don’t think that will ever go, even though I have my family. People, including my mother, tell me I should be grateful. But infertility leaves its mark, like when you move a sofa and there are still dents in the carpet long after the furniture has gone.’
This makes me wonder how many women out there regret their IVF.
How many women out there are scarred by the procedure?
And how many women feel the burden of knowing they have frozen babies who will never be born because there are only so many times you can be pregnant?
I wonder if there are women out there who, having had IVF, put up a good front but are suffering from their experiences.
Perhaps this should be another angle to the Silent No More campaign.