The reason my topic of discussion will relate to almost everyone in the audience is that all people fall into one of the two groups: either you have kids, or you do not have them. As we begin, let me introduce you to some people. I think you know them.
Ali and Sana got married. They were very happy and starting a family was something they were looking forward to. However, since marriage itself was a big change, they wanted to give themselves some time before they embraced parenthood. Hardly a month or two passed, they started getting questions about a certain kind of happy news. They found such questions invasive. Most of the question were directed at Sana. It made her feel uneasy and guilty. Ali was unhappy because his wife was unhappy. Stress kept building up in their lives as each month nothing happened. They were stuck in a vicious cycle. On the insistence of family and well-meaning friends, they went to see a doctor. The doctor told them how stress was a poison in such things and how it was affecting their chances of embracing parenthood any time soon.
Ariz loved how focused and driven Fatima was in anything that she took upon herself. From the kind of hobbies she picked, to the sense of community service she had, she gave everything her hundred percent. She was not only fully devoted to her work and career, but went the extra mile to see that her family was well taken care of. Fatima loved how Ariz supported her in everything she wanted to pursue. They were planners and wanted to plan a stable life together before they had children. That was why, it was a surprise to them how soon Fatima fell pregnant after marriage. They were scared, but happy too. They shared the happy news with their family only to witness their dismay at being so careless. Some friends went so far as to point out how crazy the whole idea of an unplanned parenthood was. It caused Ariz and Fatima much grief.
When I talk about these couples, do they sound familiar? We all have known such a couple as these two in our circle. Regardless of whether it concerns us or not, we love to remark and discuss, don’t we? Let me lay down a very ground rule for you.
A normal healthy couple can take up to a year to conceive. It is not okay to ask a couple about when they plan on having children. It doesn’t matter if you are a family member of a close friend. Those who will really care will think twice before bringing up such questions. If you are confused about whether or not it is your position to ask, then most probably you isn’t. In most cases, a couple who is facing trouble in having children will open up to you themselves if they consider you close enough. Stressing a couple with your questions will only be counterproductive.
If you were someone who was easily blessed then you cannot imagine the emotions it takes for such a couple to keep their hope alive. While most couples visit a doctor only to find they have already been blessed, a couple who is facing fertility issues has a completely different set of problems. People do not know how many evenings such a couple spends in a doctor’s office, trying to figure out what is going wrong. Month after month of failure eventually pushes them into despair. It is tougher on the mother obviously. The countless scans, the medicines that sometimes give her sharp stabbing pains, sometimes bloating, the constant mood swings and so much more. People might comment on her rapidly gaining weight, not knowing the medicines that have run a havoc in her body. They might laugh at her bald spots too. What they do not know are perhaps the repeated miscarriages that caused them in the first place.
The woman whom you chose for your idle drawing room discussion today would give anything to be innocent again. How she would give anything to unlearn the mechanics of how a baby comes to be because it makes it so stressful for her. If you were someone who was easily blessed, chances are you never had to think of these things. What did you know about your cycle? About your fertile window? Did you know what ‘ovulation’ is? Were you able to draw your anatomy concerning this whole proess with your eyes closed? Were you able to count all the important female hormones on your fingers including which hormone does what? How about you tell me on average how many days does a fertilized egg take to travel down your uterus? Alhumdullilah, you never had to know. Your miracle was delivered to you with ease from Allah. The first time you went for an ultrasound scan was probably the same day you heard your baby’s heartbeat also. It all happened for you without you knowing a single thing. Then my friend, what made you think it was something you accomplished on your own? What made you think of the woman who couldn’t reproduce (yet), a failure in any way? Do you see where I’m going with this?
I want to tell all women going through fertility issues of any kind, to set strict boundaries. Be vocal about them but in a kind way. You are fully entitled to that. I hope you do not forget your partner in your grief. They are definitely hurting also but they won’t express it. Keep the communication flowing freely between the both you. Knowing that you both are on the same page and in this together will be a great emotional support in these trying times.
I hope you know that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Every failure, every pain and every needle prick is either bringing you closer to your dream or making you the person you are destined to be. I hope you realize that perfection lies with Allah alone and in every struggle; there is a much greater wisdom that we do not understand today. Do not let your faith dwindle and forget even for a second that you are loved by Him. Let that help you stay more positive.
In the end, I want you to know that as you keep trying, many people are rooting for you. Do not hesitate to seek help when it is required. Motherhood is never easy. Do not let the hormones and the needles intimidate you. Even a natural pregnancy is difficult. Your struggle shows your miracle is going to be sweeter. God has a reward for every pain we see.