This is a continuation of the article "Dealing with childlessness and infertility issues (1)". If you missed the first part, please click here to read the part one of Maya's story.
#4. Ignore internal and external worries are real
My best friend that I was going through the fertility treatment together with just passed on not too long ago at the young age of 39, and here I am, 38 years old and very worried for my life. I got married before my 21st birthday, and my friend married in her late twenties. She fought the battle, tried her possible best and now she is no more due to complications from a minor surgery. This shook me to my bone marrow. A popular saying among Nigerians, “this life no balance,” meaning life is not fair, kept running through my mind.
Internal and external worries can throw you off balance in this journey. And just like I have said, you need to maintain your inner peace. Don’t get your heart racing and skipping its rhythmic beats for nothing, really. Another very good friend of mine with four kids, two boys and two girls, said to me: “see, Maya, you can have a fulfilled life without children. I have four kids, but I don’t know what will become of them when I am no more. Also, there is no guarantee that I will outlive them. Then what happens?”
My husband’s colleague, who lost his first baby (conceived natural) as a stillbirth, and waited seven years before they could conceive again through (IVF this time), encouraged us to fight off internal worries within us, our family circle (siblings and in-laws), and externals such as neighbours and the rest of the society.
Again, these worries are real and can be very difficult to shift aside. This is so, especially when you keep seeing and experiencing different things each day. A lady few streets away from mine who waited nine years before conceiving through IVF and birthed her baby through a caesarean session (CS) also passed on due to complications from the surgery. I would blame this one more on her doctor, who made a mistake during the surgery.
When you read and know real-life events such as these ones I have stated here, you cannot but worry. But then you ask yourself if worry can solve anything or prevent events from occurring, and the answer is “NO”, so please, get a cup of your favourite beverage and enjoy your life, moment by moment. I have gone through enough, worried enough, and now I have decided to have as much fun as possible and enjoy myself. So my mantra now is, “it will happen when it will happen and if it doesn’t, so be it!” live a little and stop worrying much.
Another family friend of ours became so worrisome and careful in order to know where her problem is coming from. She has even stopped attending some events to avoid meeting some people or coming in contact with things that will upset her both physically and spiritually.
Worry is a killer, and so I have learnt. So desist from it and just live your life.
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#5. Stay committed to finding a solution
One of the issues my husband and I had earlier was that we weren’t committed to finding a solution to our problem early enough. During the first seven or eight years of our marriage, we kept moving from one prayer house to the other, coupled with enough fasting, prayers and seed-sowing (sacrificial giving). Don’t get me wrong, please. Those things are great, but I have learnt that some things are within the realms of humans. At least knowing our problem would have helped us channel our prayers better. We would have started early to find a solution rather than wait eight years down the road.
Staying committed to finding a solution involves seeing a fertility doctor as soon as a few months into trying to conceive, and it is not happening naturally. Early diagnosis leads to a greater chance of ending the infertility journey early.
Buy and take your prescribed medications judiciously. Follow your doctors’ instructions and advice.
Don’t take this infertility issue lightly. Please don’t compare yourself with other people whose it is happening naturally. Avoid staying too long in self-pity and indirectly depriving yourself of the possible changes you would have made.
As a spouse, I strongly advise that you both work together as a team and find the solution you are looking for together. It won’t work if one person is committed and the other is not. You will stall working this way.
Be a formidable force and stay committed to finding a solution.
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#6. Change your lifestyle and take care of your health
Childlessness or infertility is a very sensitive issue that requires paying a huge price to get out of. If you are the type that smokes or drinks alcohol a lot, you will be most likely asked by your doctor to quit the habit. It will be required of you to change your lifestyle and take good care of your health.
Eat well, sleep well, exercise, and continue your daily activities but avoid stress. Your doctor will do a great job with the advice. What matters is that you are stable in your body, soul and spirit.
Take some time and invest in yourself. Just try and be in sound health. Eat healthily. Opt for natural or organic foods and avoid processed foods and junk.
As a subscriber and follower of Dazzling Insights, I got to know sometime last year about a book called “Countdown” in one of their articles. Having read that book, which I am also recommending to you now, you will see where we are headed. And that will also encourage you to change your lifestyle and also take your health seriously.
"Adoption is also a workable alternative. It is our last option if all the above fails within three years of execution. We intend to raise our children while we still have some energy left."
#7. Explore other options – don’t be scared
Having waited for seventeen years and counting, we are looking forward to exploring other options. So, my encouragement here for you is not to be scared of anything.
I didn’t mention our diagnosis all this while. I had issues with fibroid, which has been removed through surgery. Later, the doctor discovered a natural growth of tissues which he believed were hindering me from conceiving naturally. My conception will have to be through IVF, and this we have tried severally. On the other hand, my husband has a low sperm count, which has lingered for a while. After taking his medications, the sperm count comes up, and we try every now and then. We haven’t been successful. It has been an upheaval experience for us.
We made up our minds to explore other options. The options we are considering are: (1) Get a surrogate mother, (2) Consider having a sperm donor within our family or outside (3) Marrying a second wife for my husband. Yes, I know this may sound strange to some families, but these are the options on our table. Since my husband’s sperm count increases when he takes medications, I, the woman, am considering him marrying a second wife. My husband said I would be the one to find the lady myself should we decide on that option. In African culture, it is not a taboo, and I am cool with it.
Adoption is also a workable alternative. It is our last option if all the above fails within three years of execution. We intend to raise our children while we still have some energy left.
Infertility and childlessness are not what you wish your enemy. On the contrary, it is a situation that drains one inside and outside. You just have to intentionally keep sane.
This is my story, and I hope it inspires you to know that you are not alone in this struggle. While waiting to have children, dazzle, live your life to the fullest and maintain your sanity. Kisses and hugs from Maya. I love you all.