By Chantelle Booysen-Fourie

Pregnancy is a private issue. Not being able to conceive, even more so. Or that is what I thought when I came face to face with it the first time. People do not want to say the wrong things, they want to emphasise. Or the issue is just so hurtful and complex. So they just don’t talk about it, generally. And then you do have those that just make assessments of you and who you are and then comment “the only thing that is important to you is your career, that’s why you haven’t been trying to fall pregnant”. Or, “your life will never be as full as it can be if you do not have a kid, it just has more meaning when you have a child”.


Are there women in my family who did not have kids of their own? Yes. Did some of them have miscarriages? Yes. Do I know why? No. Did I know who to go ask for help when infertility happened to me? No. I had a friend that worked with me, saw her journey and picked up what it is about, kind of. But until you go through it, you cannot fully comprehend it.

So here it goes, I am not keeping my story of infertility “private” for many reasons. One is because of the way “baby-making” can make you feel especially when it never happens. The way not falling pregnant impacts your life, can make things feel like they are dying, little by little. BUT read on because I want you to take the hope that comes from my story and make it your own.

The infertility cycle and baby-making dream (when it does not happen) looks like this:
Another month and your period arrives. Death.
Another friend who is pregnant and a baby shower. Death.
A miscarriage and no more baby in your womb. Death.
The look in your partner’s eyes when they try to motivate you. Death.
Trying to make sense of your life as a woman, without kids. Death.
What is the legacy you will leave, can you even leave one with no kids? Death.

The cycle is one of failing, and death, failing and death. And a little bit of losing your mind in-between. And making sense of how you fit in. What is it that you are supposed to do now? Now that the picture you had in your head is not the picture in your reality – marriage, kids, bliss. What now?

Note that I said it is a FEELING that infertility produces. One of death, one of endings, and terrible sadness. Here is my story. 2003 I was diagnosed for the first time with endometriosis. I had a laparotomy. In the years until 2009 I had 2/3 more laparoscopies. I did the entire baby planning thing, bought the car, redecorated a room, and got ready for the baby phase.  2006 was the only time I ever fell pregnant and I also miscarried. My wheels came off but that is a story for another day. In this time several fertility treatment processes. I did the Clomids, the BRT’s, the homeopathic meds, all of it, except invitro. The money was just not there. See, fertility treatment is EXPENSIVE. It is GUT WRENCHING. In 2009 I Got divorced, in the same month I survived septicemia, but was told they will remove my uterus. A miracle happened and I kept it. In 2011 I married my now husband and his son, and came to terms with having a child (not a child of my blood, but he is in my heart) in my space. In 2013 for the first time I had the guts to go back to fertility treatment, only to be diagnosed with “rectal vaginal disease”, a rare endometriosis with complications of its own.

I was filled with a sadness that only I knew about. I spent hours crying in the shower, or anywhere no-one could see me, because something happened. Either my stepson asked why I do not have a baby. Or I saw someone with their little bundle of joy and it tore my heart to pieces.

And then the absolutely devastating process of hoping to fall pregnant OR living a life of purpose regardless starts again. Does it mean I do not have faith? Does my giving up fertility treatments or on the “baby-making dream” speak of faithlessness, quitting? This thought pattern can kill you. Because what IF I am going to be THAT woman. You know, the one who has no kids. What if I will be her? What then? How will my life look? “No, wait, you have to keep believing you will fall pregnant”. Here we go, spiral, spiral, spiral.

Until one morning in 2014. I went to church and the same sadness was hanging over me. And whilst we were doing a prayer I felt all this sadness lift and God speak to me – He told me that whilst I am spending so much time being sad about the only “little” thing I cannot do – there is a world of opportunity around me, vast numbers of people that I can impact, with what I do have. That the power that vests in me to use what I have to make a living, to live a powerful life, FAR outweighs what I do not have.

And that is when a rebirth happened for me. If I was going to be THAT woman, by God I would be the best one I can be. I would live a purposeful life with no kids of my own. BUT I will do what I can. By God I will not die and die and die but I will live. For my stepson, and other kids who are in my space, like my Godchildren Tiana and Zante, My brothers’ daughter Ayla, I would be the best auntie they have.

Infertility if not a death sentence. It is about Choosing, like with anything in life. Choosing to be happy. Choosing to be powerful and impactful. Choosing to leave a legacy, choosing to be useful. You cannot be these things when you are sad all the time.

What do I see these days when someone is pregnant? I see life. I see promise. And I get ecstatic for them. It is a blessing to have kids. I still believe that. But it is also a blessing to be put on an alternative path and then to “kick ass” on that path too. If things do not work out the way you planned, then redirect your sails. But sail your ship.

Have I given up on falling pregnant? No. But will I let it overpower my whole life? No. If I am going to be the woman with no kids of my own I will bloom where I am planted. I will give what I have. I will live with purpose. I will tell my story so others can see the wonderful hope and miracle that comes with a life when you do not have kids too. ANY life you live is blessed. Infertility has taught me that. You can live. If you are a woman, you ARE A WOMAN and your ability to have kids can never take this away from you.

My choice is to make a difference, even if it is only one person ever, my life WILL speak of hope, dreams, and fulfilment of those dreams. Infertility can give you life, it can take you to wonderful new places, it can teach you things other people will never learn. And I am so amazingly blessed and happy about this, even if it took me 10 years to get here. You can dream and you can accomplish, all at the same time. The outcome of your life is set by you; you choose to be happy in spite of. What if I do ever fall pregnant? Wonderful. But if I never fall pregnant? Wonderful too:).

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