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Positive, But Not the Kind You Want: The Emotions of COVID & Fertility

February 24th, 2022 | 5 min. read

By Lisa Rosenthal

We're all so tired of hearing about the COVID-19 pandemic (and having to live through it). But there is one thing that doesn't get acknowledged enough: the similarities between COVID testing and pregnancy testing, and all of the emotions those two little pink lines can bring up for someone who has struggled with infertility.

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The Painful Connection Between

Pregnancy Tests & COVID Tests 

It was all I ever dreamed of: two pink, vertical lines.  

Literally, for six and a half long years of trying to conceive, both with and without medical help, I dreamed of those two pink lines materializing, first appearing faintly, then getting stronger and darker.  

Throughout countless IUIs, three IVF cycles, and over a year of trying to conceive at home, it’s all I wanted to see - those two precious pink lines...

My infertility journey ended over 25 years ago. Imagine how surprised I was to feel full-on rage when I saw two pink, vertical lines appear on a COVID test recently.   

That anger brought me tumbling back to how I'd felt decades earlier while trying to conceive. How many pregnancy tests did I buy and take? How many negatives did I cry over?  

I don’t remember now and I didn’t keep count. It was one of the few things that I didn’t count: how many times I failed to become pregnant. You may call it something different than failure (and I even suggest to patients that they do), but all of us know that it feels like failure.

It feels like getting your guts ripped out, month after month. Because one more time, after putting your all into it, you see no pink lines. You're not pregnant. Again.


Tired of trying to get pregnant? You're not alone.

How to Manage Infertility Exhaustion


Facing COVID with Confusing Emotions

With almost no symptoms, imagine my shock watching two pink lines appear on that tiny little test. They popped up immediately, and it felt surreal. There was no waiting period. It happened so fast. I watched as the test developed in front of my eyes, even though the instructions said not to, and those two bright, pink lines appeared.  

Rage, as pink and bright and present as those two stupid lines, flowed through me. I haven’t felt that kind of rage about my own infertility for probably 15 years. I was shocked.  

I was trembling.

I was angry.

I felt like I was in a time warp.  

COVID? Yes. Pregnancy? No.  

Memories flooded back of each time I got my unwanted period, of seemingly perfect fertility treatment cycles that ended without a pregnancy or baby, of hearing another friend's cheery pregnancy announcement.

I remembered the feeling of seeing months and months continue to pass with no progress, and the visceral memory of all the IVF shots and fertility procedures that weren’t just uncomfortable, but painful. It all came rushing back. 

How Infertility Changes You Forever

Stupid pink lines. Stupid COVID. Stupid infertility.  

I remembered those feelings of inadequacy so clearly. I remembered trying so hard to pull myself up and out of the grey fog funk I descended into because of infertility. I remembered trying to feel grateful but falling short, and feeling unable to love myself as I was. Those things never really leave you. 


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These were not welcome memories, but it was clear they were still with me, embedded in my very DNA. Not as repressed feelings or unprocessed emotions, but as a part of my past that still emerges occasionally in my present. It all feels just as real as when I was going through it. 

This is why I'm so passionate about my work as a Patient Advocate who supports fertility patients every single day. Though I'm no longer trying to conceive, I still get it. I still feel it all.

I just didn’t know how many of those feelings remained until I saw those two longed for, hoped for and deeply desired pink lines appear. 

More Infertility Resources

Looking for more support and information to help you navigate your fertility journey? Explore the articles below or visit our Learning Center, watch our Ask Monica series, or reach out to me directly for free one-on-one fertility support at lrosenthal@rmact.com.

 

Lisa Rosenthal

With 35+ years experience in the fertility field, as well as navigating her own infertility, Lisa has dedicated her life to advocating for and supporting those struggling to grow their families. Her work includes serving as Illume Fertility's Patient Advocate, Strategic Content Lead, and founder of Fertile Yoga, as well as advocating for those with infertility at RESOLVE, Resolve New England, and other organizations.

More Fertility Resources