One in six couples will deal with infertility, and the journey doesn’t always end in a baby. Some struggle for a short time, some struggle for years, and some will never succeed in having a child. Yet all of these journeys are worth it, says the Winnipeg author of Chasing Baby: An Infertility Adventure.
“You don’t dream of this as a kid. You just deal with it,” says Morwenna Trevenen. “Whatever you need to do is valid and real. You may feel you are not heard or seen, but you are not alone. Be proud of how strong you are.”
This first book by the real estate agent and former actor and decorator shares her own deeply personal experience. Like many people, she assumed pregnancy and parenthood would just happen once she and her husband decided to pursue it. “We tried, and failed, for seven years,” she says. “We tried to adopt (and failed) for five years.”
While they were working to secure an adoption, they were also undergoing fertility treatments with many hormonal and emotional ups and downs. “We tried all routes to parenthood and then, when we were ready to be done with all of it, my in-laws paid for a round of IVF [in vitro fertilization],” says Trevenen.
“That was a very generous gift, worth about $24,000. And if it didn’t work, we could say we had left no stone unturned.”
In all, Trevenen’s infertility “adventure” cost about $40,000, a price that puts such efforts well out of reach for many couples, especially given there is no guarantee they will succeed. As well, the process included nearly unbelievable moments of being poked and prodded, and turned into a roller coaster of hope and disappointment, with the couple feeling intense grief with every failure and loss.
“I am a very emotional and sensitive person,” says Trevenen. “This is my experience. It’s pretty raw. Writing it was terrifying and freeing. I am an open book, but for many people, their struggle is incredibly private. You feel broken. You don’t want pitying looks and unsolicited advice. I would like to educate people not to do that.”
Yet the author manages to maintain a lightness of tone. “When you step outside of yourself, you can see how ridiculous and humorous some situations really are. You have to laugh,” she says.
The book began with a blog her husband, a teacher, urged her to write. In putting herself and her story out there on the Internet, Trevenen would learn how many others, even people she knew for some time, had endured or were enduring similar struggles. She ended the blog and her story when her round of IVF was done, because it was about the process regardless of the final outcome.
Trevenen hopes her journey helps others.
“I hope that anyone experiencing infertility reads my book, so they feel less lonely and broken,” she says.
“I hope that others read it too, for insight into what we go through, to think twice before they ask inappropriate questions about having children without knowing what a person’s story is. You don’t know if you are sending someone home in tears.”