There is a very specific type of madness that comes with infertility.
I was reminded of it this week when I watched the heartbreaking viral video by Melanie Swieconek about the ban on IVF services in Victoria (which was reversed as of this morning) during this garbage fire of an Omicron outbreak.
I could hear it in her voice. The madness. The anguish. The desperation. I have heard it in my own voice when I screamed at my husband that we had to have sex because I might be ovulating while waving an ovulation chart in his face.
When you’re desperately trying to conceive, that screaming is called ‘foreplay’.
Listen: Mia Freedman discusses Melanie Swieconek’s video on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
And my heart goes out to every woman who is living it right now or who has ever lived it. There are a lot of us.
It can be hard to explain to a civilian what infertility feels like because a lot of it doesn’t make sense. You feel like a failure. As a woman. As a partner. As a human. You feel furious at the universe and at your body and at every woman who gets pregnant by accident. If only.
Every pregnant woman you see on the street makes you die a little bit inside. And every friend or relative or celebrity who announces their pregnancy pours a little bit of acid into your heart.
Even your partner cannot comprehend the depths of your despair and desperation. And your grief. And it’s the strangest form of grief because you are grieving someone who doesn’t yet exist. Who has never existed. Who only exists in your imagined future and you’re willing to crawl over broken glass to get to them but even that isn’t enough. Your willingness to endure pain and suffering and to make yourself physically and emotionally vulnerable in the most raw and primitive way is not enough. Because there are gatekeepers.