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Nicci’s Story: How the devastation caused by infertility can have a silver lining

Nicci Fletcher3am on the morning of my 40th birthday and I was in SCREAMING AGONY. If this was what 40 was like, I demanded a refund! Especially as my husband Andrew and I didn’t realise that our world was turning upside down and inside out. A few months later we discovered that the pain was caused by Stage 4 endometriosis and meant that our chances of conceiving naturally were practically ZERO. We were in total shock. I’d had no symptoms until that morning and even got pregnant a few years earlier following a split condom. We thought my eggs only had to smell sperm and I’d be eating for two.

Unfortunately, after eight years of trying to conceive, four endo related surgeries and one catastrophic IVF cycle we got to the stage of knowing that I wasn’t going to have children. How did that affect us? Disastrously; although we didn’t realise it at the time. We thought “OK we’ve not been able to have children. Guess we simply have to get on with life then!”. We didn’t realise that infertility is a form of bereavement or that it is a bereavement that often gets worse over time.

Then a couple of years ago I hit rock bottom, although I still didn’t realise my depression was about unresolved infertility. That happened when I had Eureka moment #1. I started connecting with other infertile women and I thought “hang on a minute I feel like that too!”. Within the group I started writing supportive comments to other members and received very positive feedback about my words.

Eureka moment #2: I’m a writer so perhaps I should write about the reality of infertility. The resulting blog was a success: I was writing about things other people struggled to express. So, my journey towards acceptance had started, although it hasn’t all been positive: I did have a huge “wobble” about a year ago. However, I’ve now come through that and have decided to be more proactive in my journey towards acceptance.

Eureka moment #3: my transformational strategy for moving from “just about OK” to “Thriving” with a capital T. I’ve realised that time is not a great healer for infertility bereavement and needs a bit of helping hand sometimes. In my case this involved purchasing loads of on-line courses covering a huge range of subjects that I believe will help me. Courses such as dealing with depression, stress and anger, building emotional resilience, meditation and hypnosis, CBT, EFT, Reiki and NLP.

As I travel further along my journey towards acceptance, I will use my new knowledge to help others. I’m already doing that in a limited way through my blog and in the books that I am currently writing. However, there is so much more that I can do.

Eureka moment #4: I’ve recently discovered that not only can I write about infertility, I can talk about it too. When I combine this new “skill” with the fact that I was an IT trainer for 15 years, the logical conclusion is to create a series of on-line training courses about accepting infertility. I’ve already created two courses which I hope to launch in the early autumn. There are about another ten courses that are at the early planning stage.

My vision is to create a wide range of resources that will help people redefine their dreams. Although it’s a challenge, it is possible to create a purposeful life even if that life doesn’t include the children that we desperately wanted. I’m in the process of doing this and can tell you that having a purpose in life, something that you can really commit to, does help. I’ve got more energy and motivation. I’m able to focus on what I HAVE got and what makes me happy rather than dwelling on the pain caused by what I don’t have. I’m still a work-in-progress, so I still have days when I just want to crawl into a hole and cry: however, these are getting less frequent. The darkness isn’t as dark. As for the good days, they hang around for longer. I may not be dancing around on Cloud 9: that’s something I aspire to. Yet I am happier, more content with my life and that’s progress.

Eureka moment #5: my infertility doesn’t have to be for nothing. Some good can come out of it. If I can use my experiences, my love of writing and my training abilities to help other people on their journey towards acceptance then that must be something to celebrate!

Nicci Fletcher is a writer and a trainer. To find out more about her work, visit her website at: www.thevoiceofinfertility.com. You can also follow her on twitter: @yourinfertility

Would you like to share your story? Send it to: [email protected]

Comments

  1. Nicci, thanks very much for sharing your story and for inspiring all the women out there, who just like you, are slowly finding their voice and accepting that not all paths are meant to include children. It is good to read that you have made a conscious decision to focus on the things that are already in your life, as opposed to choosing to focus on what is missing. That is true for everything else in life and speaks to us all.

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