The young woman sitting in front of me was sobbing as if her heart would break. We'd done an IVF cycle for her, which had gone perfectly, but it had failed, and she was at her wit's end. She was an extremely successful woman, who had done remarkably well for herself. She had done an MBA from Harvard; was working in an investment bank, and was on the fast track career path to becoming CEO very quickly. She was now 32, and she wanted to have a baby. She expected that because her periods were regular and she was fit and healthy, this would happen quickly. However, when she found she wasn't pregnant after 4 months of trying, she started doing her fertility tests, and then found to her dismay that her husband had a zero sperm count. This is why she had come to us for IVF treatment, but when her IVF cycle failed, she went to pieces.
I couldn't understand why she couldn't cope. After all, she'd dealt with much larger problems as a banker, because she had handled deals worth millions. She was very bright and she knew that IVF didn't have a 100% success rate. All she needed to do was try again, so I was surprised that she hadn't prepared herself for a possible failure , and was coping with it so badly. Was it that she was just used to having her cake and eating it too, which is why she couldn't handle failure well ? Or that because her cycle had gone perfectly, she had automatically assumed she would get pregnant ?
She said, "Doc, it's not so much the failure of the IVF cycle, it's just the social pressure which I can't stand. People have always been jealous and resentful of my success. I have always done exceptionally well, and lots of people don't like that, especially when you're a woman. It's very hard to get support either from friends, who are a little bit envious of how well you're doing; or colleagues at work, who are quite happy to stab you in the back. Who do I confide in ? What makes it even worse is that family members jump to the conclusion that I don't want to have a baby; that I'm so hell-bent on pursuing a successful career that becoming a mother is not important to me , and that I am being selfish because I don't want to be bound down by the responsibilities of bringing up a child.
This is completely false - I desperately want to have a baby, and I am sure I'll make a great mom ! What makes this suffering even worse is that I really have no one whom I can talk to. I am forced to bottle up all my angst and tears. I love my husband, but it's very hard to talk to him about this , because he gets extremely distressed when he sees my pain. He holds himself responsible for my suffering , because he knows that it's his medical problem that is depriving me of having my baby . This is a very touchy topic, and I don't want to discuss it with him, because it'll just make him feel worse. This means I have to suffer all these taunts and barbs all alone, which is becoming extremely hard. He can't protect me, because he doesn't want to get involved in what he feels are minor emotional issues, which will blow over if we ignore them. This makes me feel abandoned, because I get really upset when he does not stand up for me ! This is why I'm breaking down."
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