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#HERStory – Episode 12: Never Called ‘Mum’

What Did She Do?

Accepted My Infertility, Lost My Marriage and Started My Life All Over Again

Never Called ‘Mum’: “Everything happens for a reason” at least that was what I was taught as a young girl. I am still trying to understand the reason life happened to me this way, but I am grateful for all the lessons I have learnt along the way. About 3 years ago, I seemed to have it all. I was an Assistant Partner at the Consulting Firm I was working in, I had just gotten married to my one true love, and we had so much plans for the future. Life was really beautiful. I remember thinking it was all too good to be true, and it was. Everything started to change about 2 years ago. My husband had been wearing a long face for weeks and after probing, he came out to me about his worries that I had not conceived yet. I still remember the chills that ran down my spine. I had never thought too much about it. Yes, we had been married for almost a year at the time, but I just did not think too much of it. I believed that when the time was right, I would get pregnant. All of a sudden, I felt a type of pressure I had never experienced before. I started to notice the innuendos from his mother, and the prayers from my father all pointing to the issue of having a baby. I began to realize that I was about to face one of the most trying times in my life.

How Did She Do it?

I Found Myself After Losing Everything

Never Called ‘Mum’: On the one-year anniversary of our marriage, I gave Felix the most beautiful Rolex watch, he sent flowers and chocolates to my office, cakes, he even took me out to dinner. After we made love that night, he uttered the words that sent me into a state of depression “I hope tonight, you would be able to give me the gift I truly want so much… our baby”. I realized that this was becoming a real issue I needed to address. I always wanted children, but I did not want it at 26. I was already younger than I thought I would be when I got married. Now, I was supposed to become a mother? It was not what I wanted at the time, but I was still not opposed to getting pregnant. Nonetheless, somehow, I was not getting pregnant and it was becoming a real problem for my new family. The week after that, I went to a fertility clinic to really find out what the issue was. “Sorry madam, but the test results show that you are sterile”, the doctor said after a full day of tests. I became sick. “How was I going to tell my husband?”, “What was going to happen to my marriage?”. I remember getting home that day and crying in the bathroom because there was nowhere else, I could hide my tears in. I told Felix what had happened that day and he said nothing. His only reaction was “It is well”. For the next few days, he was distant. I knew something was deeply wrong. I went to the clinic again to weigh my options and I was told about In vitro fertilization (IVF), Intrauterine insemination (IUI), Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), Assisted hatching, and surrogacy. The closest reality for me seemed to be surrogacy. After a week of awkward and painful silences and living in fear, I finally summoned the courage to tell Felix about the other options we had. “I do not want another woman’s baby. I don’t” he responded in an angry rage. I broke down in tears. Felix left home that night and never came back. After 3 days of worries and fear, I came home from work to find that Felix had thrown all my things outside and locked me out of the house. Beside my box of clothes were divorce papers from him. His reason? 'I deceived him into marriage when I knew I was barren'. I was broken. I did not know what to do or where to go. I went straight to my sister’s house and cried myself to sleep that night. I went straight into deep depression and was barely functioning anymore. I eventually resigned from my job and just took time off everything. I still had to show up at the different court meetings to follow through with the divorce. Seeing him at the court was like seeing a stranger. He barely even looked at me. I was deeply broken. When everything came to an end, I was just lost. I heard he got remarried almost immediately. I was shattered… Squatting with my kid sister in her one-room apartment, with a failed marriage and being barren. It was a low, low. There seemed to be no future for me anymore. I was suicidal. I couldn’t see the point of living. One afternoon, I was home alone and in my sister’s bed. She had gone away to work. I looked at myself in the mirror on the wall opposite the bed. It was a pathetic sight. I could not recognize myself, and then I broke down crying. Not because I had lost my husband and the love of my life, or that I was barren, but because I had lost myself in the process. After I dried my tears that afternoon, I swore to never allow myself to be in that position again. I decided to take out from my savings to rent my own apartment. Then, I went back to my former employers and got my old job back and buried myself in my work and continued to build my successful career. In months, I was back to myself, full of life, but wiser and stronger and not placing my happiness in things that could change, but only in myself.

A Moment That Tested Her

Finding Out I was Barren

Never Called ‘Mum’: The feeling of failure and loss. It was like in a span of a few weeks I lost everything that made me happy and accomplished as a woman. I was married to the man I loved with all my heart, I was rising in my career and hopeful for the future of my family. Then in days, everything came crashing down. The worst part was finding out I was never going to be able to have children of my own, and the fact that the love of my life had abandoned me because of this, leaving me all by myself in the moment I needed him the most. I felt so alone and so worthless, like I had failed as a woman and as a wife since I could not give birth. I don’t know how I would have survived it without my sister who was there by my side through it all.

Her Eureka Moment?

Realizing There was More to Life

Never Called ‘Mum’: For so long, I believed Felix was justified for leaving me, after all, I had ‘failed as a woman’ since I could not bear him children. It was until I saw myself lost and completely destroyed in that mirror that I realized there was more to me than being a wife or baring children. That my happiness was not dependent on those things. That even if life happened and said I was never going to be called ‘Mum’ or that the love of my life was going to leave me because I was barren, I was still going to be happy and live a fulfilled life, excel, and find joy in other aspects of my life. I cannot lie, there are days I still get broken and sad about these things, because I am human. But ever since I decided to place my happiness in myself and excel and enjoy all the other things that make me genuinely happy, I have found a lot of peace and happiness again. I may never be called ‘Mum’, but I know I would always be happy with the other things my creator has given me.

Infertility is a very sensitive issue for many women and in many families. If you or anyone is going through this trying situation you must remember that you are not alone and millions of women who experience this challenge come out of it, stronger, wiser and most importantly happier. Know your options and find people in your community who have walked in your shoes and found happiness on the other side. For a little more information on your options for overcoming infertility click here.


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