It ain’t all that bad

Day four of my first round of Clomid and happily I haven’t experienced any weird side effects, save for a couple of small bouts of nausea and a few tiny pains around my ovaries. But I am starting on a low dose, and it’s only been a couple of days – so it would perhaps be a little strange if I’d felt anything stronger.

It seems silly that this should be a relief; most people probably go into this sort of thing optimistically. I, to mangle the wit of Dennis Cometti, unfortunately tend to do the opposite and go in a bit misty-optically. Earlier this week, while enjoying the late-afternoon sun streaming through the waiting room windows at the acupuncturist, it occurred to me how much weight I’ve put on the moment of starting every kind intervention. Each new procedure or specialist has some how felt like another small failure of my femaleness. First I was upset at needing to see a doctor at all. Then a specialist. Then having tests – I felt ashamed to be sitting in the waiting room at Melbourne IVF before a simple blood test. Then surgery. Then having to go back to the specialist. Starting natural therapies – even though I genuinely enjoy and feel wonderful for having them. Then, starting the medication. Not to mention the start of every new period, and seeing friends or acquaintances fall pregnant or give birth during this time.

As each of these moments has arrived, I’ve felt another small failure. Even anticipating these moments I have felt shame and loss. Yet it occurred to me this week that I’ve been giving these moments far more significance than they deserve. By labelling them as “unnatural” and “intervention” I’ve made these tools “bad” and myself “broken” by association. Really, each of these is just a tiny addition or adjustment to my life, not some great cross to bear. There is much to be grateful for about modern medicine when you think about it. And yet I have chosen – subconsciously of course – to feel shame, a failure, less womanly. It’s interesting to think about how much of our identity as women (and even men) is wrapped up in our fertility, how society places such emphasis our ability and/or desire to reproduce. But that’s a topic for another day.

Right now I can focus on being more mindful of the attitudes I have towards this whole journey, and make conscious choices about the beliefs I hold within me. Those things are within my control.

Because ultimately, adding a tiny pill to my daily routine a couple of days each month ain’t all that bad.


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