Art by Anne Kemerink
Pooh, lots had to be done before I could start writing this story: from fanatic running in the early mornings to obsessively helping Ladybugs finding a good place to hibernate during winter, and from passionate lovemaking to monotonous peeling hundreds of apples and turning them into some sort of edible dish. I guess I just needed the physical motion to find courage to sit down and write. After losing five pregnancies, I feel time is ripe to capture what that does to me as a person, how it affects my life and changes the meaning of my very existence. I kept a diary before but that did not do the job for me, on days that I felt good there was not much to write about and on days that I felt down I only got more depressed by reading what I wrote before. In the end it did not reflect how I actually felt nor did it capture my changing view on life along the bumpy road to motherhood. So instead I will structure this narrative around different themes that I can write, rewrite and edit across moods swings and with diverse states of mind. These themes have emerged during the past years as recurring issues that I struggled with, matters that confronted me with being unwanted childless or topics that I started to see differently because of what I have experienced. Even though most themes focus on dealing with loss, sorrow and social exclusion, this story is not meant to seek compassion, it is just an honest attempt to document what it means to deal with infertility in our current society and what it takes to persevere. Life is unfair is so many ways that I do not want to claim a special position on the ladder of the unfortunates, between the sick and the poor, based on an unfulfilled desire. Also this narrative does not intent to record my medical history in great detail, at least for now it is enough to say that I went through three ectopic pregnancies and two miscarriages during the past five years and that since two years I am undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatment. And you, the reader, who are you? For the time being you are me and perhaps one day you are the one who is closest to me, the person with whom I walk this road together. If I am brave enough you might become those who unwearyingly stand on the side of the road encouraging me when the mountain seems too high to climb and comforting me when I have fallen down on my knees once more. Or who knows, one day you might be one of those who used to know me very well but life came in between us and drifted us apart. Ultimately, if I ever find the courage, some day you might even be a complete stranger reading this story of a woman walking her bumpy road to motherhood. Just keep in mind then that this is just my story and by no means do I claim to represent women undergoing similar (medical) processes. Ready?
My story includes several pages and you can click on 'next' on top of the pages to navigate to the following themes: me and the infertility taboo; me and everyday life; me and my body; me and the medical process; me and the people closest to me; me and the people around me; me and pregnant women; me and mothers.