Depression and Infertility - The Hardest Test I’ve Ever Taken: The Importance of Talking About Infertility - From the Couch Of - Tess

For roughly 6 days I fought to get out of bed.

It wasn’t a matter of snoozing the alarm, it was a matter of not setting an alarm in the first place because it felt like too much effort. Parts of my routine like working out, eating meals, and showering fell to the wayside and moving the spoon from my oatmeal to my mouth felt like a day’s work. I felt apathetic, worn, and at times hopeless. I was depressed.

Parts of my routine like working out, eating meals, and showering fell to the wayside and moving the spoon from my oatmeal to my mouth felt like a day’s work. I felt apathetic, worn, and at times hopeless.
I was depressed.

Depression and Infertility - The Hardest Test I’ve Ever Taken: The Importance of Talking About Infertility - From the Couch Of - TessI’ve never struggled with depression and I am grateful for that, and after those 6 days I have the upmost respect for those fighting such a challenging mental illness. My husband and mines journey with infertility has been anything but pleasurable. From surgery, to pills, to this month’s newest addition of an injection, I feel like my body, which I’ve certainly already done enough damage to is a war zone.

Trying to remain optimistic, because my thoughts are the one piece of the fertility equation that I do have control over, I took the injection and reminded myself, “hey, you’re okay, you’ve got this”. Fast forward to 2AM on the toilet, “hey, you definitely don’t have this”. Had I been offered the option between being physically ill for several days or experiencing a horrific bought of depression, I would have opted for nights spent in the bathroom instead of in bed.

Secluded to my bed in the middle of the afternoon I started punching my symptoms into Google (arguably the worst idea), turns out I wasn’t shocked by what I found, I was shocked by how little I found. In a moment where I felt completely hopeless and drained I made a mental note that when I started to feel like myself again I would do my part to try and create some awareness around a battle so many woman and families face.

Although I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan I have to believe other people living elsewhere have had similar experiences. I absolutely believe as a system and as human beings we can do a better job of not only providing education but support. After reaching out to the place that had provided the injection and leaving a message indicating I had no appetite, I felt apathetic and depressed, and I was deeply concerned for myself and had not been informed of any of the possible side effects, my call was returned 2 days later, I was told to “stay hydrated and follow up next week if I didn’t feel better”.

I absolutely believe as a system and as human beings we can do a better job of not only providing education but support.

In that moment, and over the last several days I have felt grateful for my own resiliency, and for the support of my friends and family. But what about those who are not as resilient, or do not have the support of dozens of individuals? I imagine being told to drink water, and call in a week would feel unexplainably insensitive and isolating.

For those women and families experiencing the ramifications of costly fertility treatments, debilitating side effects, and daily, weekly, and monthly struggle, you are not alone. My journey thus far has taught me a lot of things, but most importantly, how important I am. And perhaps that sounds selfish or egotistical but truthfully with so many things going in and out of my body I’ve come to realize the importance of truly checking in with myself.

Yes, I want a child, more than anything, but I also want to be and feel okay. The quality of your life and of my life matters and we all deserve to know on a deeper level that our well-being is important and valuable.

Roughly 6 months into my infertility journey and I’ve experienced more emotions than I knew I had the capacity for. I’ve felt hopeful, hopeless, energized and drained all in the same day. Nothing feels predictable in fact the only consistency I’ve found peace in during this journey is that I am not alone.