Skip to main content

TRYING: A Journey of Infertility and Endometriosis

Writing by Haylee Penfold

The journey starts off so exciting. Having that first conversation with your partner about wanting to start a family together is like nothing else. I daydreamed constantly about how great of a father my fiance would make, even just the thought would warm my cheeks and heart.

In the beginning, baby making was fun and exciting because there is a whole new layer of love and passion. How beautiful it is that two people sharing a moment of connection and love could create a human that shares both of your qualities… and it’s meant to be that easy right?

It was drilled into us in high school that having sex without a condom will absolutely result in pregnancy. That’s one of the main reasons I thought it would be easy. The truth is, it has been anything but.

Firstly, I had to come off hormonal birth control. The body goes through this roller-coaster of emotions as the hormones kick back into gear and this only added to my already existing mental health issues which made me feel like I was stuck on a wild ride. And to add to that, there was this kind of motion sickness after being on the up and down of birth control pills for more than half my life.

It was frightening, even when I did get over the weeks of mood swings. I was frightened that I didn’t know myself without birth control.  Not in a way that stops you in your tracks, but deeper within myself. In a way, the result has been positive as my body and mind feels more like my own.

I started to track my cycle, and at first we took it pretty casually. My partner and I had just got engaged and we were in our own little love bubble. We were having sex almost every third day, so if it happened to fall on the day I ovulated, then, great. I bought my first box of preconception vitamins and although the price was higher than I expected, I still had a skip in my step taking them to the counter.

Three months went by, the love bubble had slightly deflated and the googling started. What foods should I eat? Is there a best time to have sex during the day? I purchased ovulation tests and would do them in the morning. My fiance caught on quite quickly that when the smiley face would appear on the counter, he was getting lucky that night.

The week of my period was something I started to dread however – it’s a cruel trick that early pregnancy symptoms are so similar to premenstrual symptoms. Were my boobs sore because a box of tampons was needed or should I buy a pregnancy test instead?

The blood in my underwear that came each month quickly became something that would bring me to tears, it would feel like a failure on my behalf. We knew it was going to be hard – with stage four endometriosis taking over my insides – conceiving was always going to be a challenge. What I didn’t expect was this anger, this burning disappointment in my body –  about my body.

Women are told we are built for child bearing but it isn’t always as easy as they make it out to be. I know that many couples go through similar challenges when it comes to conception but hearing about “happy accidents” from couples who weren’t even trying still stings.

Six months passed and I started to avoid social media. It was so hard to be happy for people I’d see announcing their own pregnancies. Somehow their smiling faces felt like an insult, a direct attack on my own inability to fall pregnant. The people around us, the people that knew we were trying, felt like they were waiting for an announcement and yet we had nothing to show for the months that had passed.

I have moments where I wonder our little family of three (me, my fiance, and our dog) is enough. If my failures persisted, would his heart be able to cope with the gap of a child never filled? I remember asking him with tears falling one after another. He kissed both of my cheeks and told me “yes” over and over.

We are now in our second year of trying. And it is still so hard. I hear stories of women trying for 5 and 6 years and I am in awe of their strength, will I make it that far? The sight of kids on playgrounds, the sounds of their laughter now tugs on my heart instead of filling it with joy. The thought of what might never be, is intrusive and hard to shake.

I’ve started holding my nieces a little tighter, and tearing up when they wrap their little fingers around my own. The nurturing in me is so natural, cuddling my nieces and the way they fit so close to my heart. What if this is the closest I get?

But, what if it’s just ahead of us?

The hope that we will finally see the two lines on the pregnancy test drives me forward.

So, for now at least, I’ll keep trying.

Haylee Penfold

Haylee Penfold, she/her, is a twenty something, chronic illness advocate who is passionate about all things sex education and pleasure positivity. Will also bring up Harry Styles in any context she can.

Leave a Reply