Hi! My name is Flora Sinha. I am an Indian American, and I currently live in California. I am an Internal Medicine physician and had battled secondary infertility. We have a four year old daughter, Gia, who is the light of mine and my husband’s life. She keeps us busy, laughing, and blessed. Recently I made my Instagram account public to share my infertility journey with the public. So many couples go through this, and I hope to be someone they can relate to.
Infertility in South Asian cultures needs to be destigmatized – there is so much pressure to be “hush-hush” about it. Women are forced to keep any signs of a struggle a secret. Even in the beginning when I would be on social media, I would only share the highlight reel of my life. I would get comments saying “Wow, you life looks so perfect” and that was a jarring statement for me. Especially as a mother, perfection is not something that I want my daughter to ever feel like she has to live up to. When we allow our children to feel like they have to live up to “perfection”, we are telling them to reach for the unattainable. I didn’t want to be THAT role model, so when I was ready, I began to share.
Infertility in South Asian cultures needs to be destigmatized – there is so much pressure to be “hush-hush” about it. Women are forced to keep any signs of a struggle a secret.
Because Gia was conceived naturally and easily, the pressures of being a working mom and post-partum depression, I delayed trying for another child longer than planned. The red flags went up when we weren’t pregnant after trying for a year. We eventually went to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (a fertility specialist) and discovered that although everything was normal for the most part, there might be one anatomical mishap that might be keeping me from being pregnant.
It was then we decided to undergo In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). This started with freezing my eggs which was an outpatient procedure that required days off of work and bedrest/limitations in activity. To start my IVF cycle I began oral, vaginal and injectable medications, going to the doctor every 3 days for blood draws and ultrasound to check my hormone levels and uterine lining in order to prep for implantation of the embryo. This required me to constantly change my schedule, move patients around, cancel clinic days.
My first IVF cycle was not successful. Although my doctor and her team were great, the whole experience was traumatizing. I felt isolated, guilty, doubtful. It was too painful to open up about (except for my husband and close friends/family). I was so overwhelmed and very confused with how I was feeling. I couldn’t verbalize all of my emotions.
My first IVF cycle was not successful. Although my doctor and her team were great, the whole experience was traumatizing. I felt isolated, guilty, doubtful.
In the middle of all of this, I still had to be present for my daughter, my husband, my office staff, and my patients. Don’t get me wrong I had wonderful support from my husband and my close friends. My friends, especially knew exactly what to say and do to make me feel better. What I loved about my friends was that they were present and there, which was exactly what I needed.
My doctor was just as shocked at the unsuccessful cycle and urged us to do an endometrial biopsy for an endometrial receptivity assay (ERA). This would give us more information on whether or not we should change the timing of our embryo transfer to increase our probability of getting pregnant. So I did dummy cycle… everything was the same except at the end, instead of another embryo transfer, my doctor did a biopsy. This required more of the same juggling and waiting as before. Thankfully, the ERA did show something we could fix with the next cycle. So we move forward with another round.
It was comforting to connect with other women about their own struggles with infertility.
This time, I starting writing. My piece got published on a blog I had been following for a while called TheFertilityTribe.com. I started to make more public statements and gave live updates on my Instagram account. It was cathartic which made it easier to go through this time around. It was comforting to connect with other women about their own struggles with infertility. I was really proud of allowing myself to be vulnerable because I wanted to battle this façade of “perfection” and hopefully inspire others along the way. I know how “perfect” social media accounts make me feel and I didn’t want to do that to anyone else. I have a little girl, and I want to make sure I am honest with myself, my audience, and with her.
This time as I go through my cycle, the community that I have found on this platform along with my friends and family, is what has kept me grounded.
This time as I go through my cycle, the community that I have found on this platform along with my friends and family, is what has kept me grounded. The thing is, even though no two women’s infertility journey’s are the same, the ups, downs, joys, and devastations are the same regardless of where and why you are in the process. The rollercoaster of emotions, guilt, and isolation are the same. But when you have women, whether they are on social media or in your personal life, to lean on, it makes it slightly easier to get through. I hope that my sharing my struggles will help other women out there as well.