Cassie Silver is one of those 1 in 8 who is struggling to conceive naturally. While some go down the negative spiral of ‘Why me’ and blaming lots on the universe she has chosen to put a positive spin on her experience and share hers plus many others journeys through her podcast: ‘What To Expect When You’re Injecting‘.
I haven’t created a human yet, but the journey has made me a better one.
“I’m grateful this is happening to me”, are words I never thought I would say when it comes to reflecting on my journey so far in trying to conceive. Why would anyone want to go through the pain, grief and uncertainty that comes with IVF? Is it the need for attention as the woman putting her body and soul through so much? Or the quest for validation that I am working harder that other to become a mother? The truth is, I wouldn’t change the cards I have been dealt because it’s the journey so far has completely changed my outlook on life. I had the fairy-tale picture in my mind when I married my best friend years ago and came off the pill. I started talking about baby names, character traits and even forecasted what horoscope they would be and aligned the moon and starts perfectly. Just like my type A personality, I had planned to fall pregnant after my 30th birthday, soon after our wedding. Fast forward a few years and we’ve had multiple IVF and FET cycles without any success. So- in a nutshell. While we haven’t made a human yet, it’s made me a better one.
Living with PCOS, a high follicle count, the inability to ovulate, blocked tubes and my husband’s poor sperm motility means IVF is our best chance to have a family. I have been no stranger to the world of swaps, smears and stirrups; suffering from abnormal cells and having many laparoscopy procedures since I was 18 years old. But, unlike any challenge or milestone I have faced in life, making a family is the only hurdle I have no control over and feel I am failing at. I have spent more than a decade working in the Australian mediaindustry as a television journalist, producer, presenter and now the owner of a successful production business. I am no stranger to the spotlight as a media identity in Perth and I’ve always made I my mission to life an authentic life. I have interviewed incredible individuals and travelled the world as a journalist, sharing their stories of success and struggle. While I have always been transparent, I never thought I would be sharing my own. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I fight for it even harder; I am a high achiever, I mean we collected 29 eggs at our last collection!
What started as a bruised ego is now a bruised belly, but Iwouldn’t change the cards I have been dealt. This journey has already made me a better friend, daughter, sister, colleague and wife. Ultimately, this is going to make me a better mother. A mother with a deep understanding of the value of empathy and the awareness of other people’s shit instead of suffocating in my own. I have cried through the park on my runs and walks as I fly by prams and mother’s groups feeling alone and lost. But it’s been the ability to change my internal language patterns and recognise self-sabotaging behaviour that’s made all the difference. Instead of wanting to run headfirst into prams and yell “F U”, I look at them and smile and say “that will be me very soon”. Yes, many strangers think I am a little creepy, but I am the only one who can control my emotions attached to infertility. I used to wish there was a different button to click other than “like” as people posted their baby announcements on social media. Maybe a “just a thumbs up” emoji will suffice my level of happiness for this Facebook acquaintance. Once again, there exciting news shouldn’t create a reaction of jealousy or anger, it should fuel hopefulness. I have run out of responses to comments like “everything happens for a reason” or “maybe a holiday will do you both some good.” For anyone who hasn’t experienced infertility, sometimes silence is the best support. One thing I’ve learnt, is I may feel lonely- but I am not alone. Whether it’s an early miscarriage, unsuccessful implantation or the embryo didn’t survive thawing, I have experienced the loss and grief which comes from all of them and I’ve learnt not to measure it.
I have more patience for people in general and take time to listen to their problems instead of finding solutions. Someone wise once told me, “when you’re heard, you start to heal” and I truly believe in the magic behind the phrase. My marriage is stronger than it was when we decided to come off the pill and give natural conception a good crack. We both understand eachothers love language and appreciate what we have more than what we don’t. We have had the Carrie and Big from Sex & The City chat about, “will it just be us two?” and are we ok with that? I now have more honest and open conversations with my family instead of being a hero and projecting a persona of success. Going through IVF and running my own business has taught me the value of balance and priorities, I learnt how to say NO. My friendships have a focus on quality not quantity, a bit like my outlook now at egg collection. I have removed people from my life I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to do a few years ago and created new connections instead. Not only has my rollercoaster ride through infertility been a chance to overcome a horrific fear of needles, but it’s also allowed me to evaluate how I see my own self-worth and esteem as a woman. I have gratitude’s written on my bathroom wall which remind me every day that my body is doing incredible things, the process is incredible, I am worthy, and my journey is remarkable. There is nothing wrong with being your own cheerleader and it gives you a new meaning behind the word empathy too. It’s redefined my definition of failure and allowed me to use my media skills in a completely new light as the host of new podcast “What ToExpect When You’re Injecting”. I wanted to marry my skills and struggle together by producing an authentic and uncensored podcast, “What To Expect When You’re Injecting”, a candid and personal discussion on IVF and infertility. This project is allowing me to turn pain into purpose and fill my life with contribution and connection. So, for those on the journey, try to find the silver lining in it; somewhere, somehow. IVF has made me a better person, and while many would never wish is upon anyone, this is the only time I can truly believe in the saying “everything happens for a reason”, regardless of loss, heartache and pain. While some may say I’ll be able to translate the gratitude I have right now into motherhood; the truth is, I may never be a mother, so for now my greatest achievement is to be a good human regardless of if I make my own or not.
Check out @injecting_to_be_expecting
Written by @cassiesilver
What To Expect When You’re Injecting is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.