Rachel ' Interview 25

Age at interview: 48
Age at diagnosis: 41
Brief Outline: Rachel and her husband adopted two girls after deciding to stop treatment.
Background: Rachel is a pre-school special needs teacher. She lives with her husband (John ' 26) and two adopted daughters. Ethnic background' White British.

More about me...

Rachel and her husband John met and married when Rachel was in her late thirties. So when they wanted to start a family and nothing happened in a few months, they went to the GP. They were referred for tests at their local hospital, which revealed a growth on one of her ovaries that could have been causing a hormone imbalance.  After an operation to remove the cyst, she tried Clomid. But this was not successful, so they then asked to be referred for IVF treatment. There was a very long wait. In the meantime they found out about a fertility treatment, being run in a city some miles away, which offered non-invasive treatment, based on monitoring blood hormone levels. They started this treatment but after months of blood tests and heartbreak, it looked as though Rachel was going in to early menopause. So she and her husband decided to stop treatment. After a break they started to apply for adoption, and at the time of the interview had had their adopted daughters living with them for nine months.

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Rachel gave up treatment and went on to adopt two girls. She found her infertility a real knock...

So, it was an awful year, and at one point, I think I got ill as well, and I think the whole being ill part of it, was probably a physical manifestation of the emotional stuff that I was going through. And, and it is like this thing when you sit on a bus, and everybody seems to be getting on with their life, and you have got this thing inside you that says, you know, I am desperately unhappy, and you know, everybody else is getting on with their lives, and you don’t, I didn’t want to socialise, I didn’t want to go out with, you know, people really, because like they go out with groups from work, and I wouldn’t do that, and I really did pull away from people to quite a big extent. 
It knocks your confidence as well. That is the other issue. You don’t feel confident. Because it actually [sighs] it changed my view of myself, as a woman. Because I can’t conceive and I don’t feel complete because of that and I think that is a really big issue. I mean some people choose not to have children. But I never got the, you know, I never actually got the chance. I wanted to do the birth, I wanted to be able to give birth and I have been denied that, and I think for me, I found that really hard. Plus I like, you know, I like little babies, but I wanted our little baby. And so that year was very much tied up a lot with that, with me grieving for that which I didn’t have.
And one or two of my friends who were pregnant, actually didn’t tell me they were pregnant, because they knew that I would get really, really upset. And then I would find out that they had had the baby and then I would know. 
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Rachel describes the day of the adoption panel as very traumatic. Once they were approved she...

But going through panel, it is very traumatic in the sense that you go into a room and there is all these people sat round and they ask you questions about why you want to adopt and why did we want to adopt a sibling group? Because we always said that, because I would have quite liked three but we said, two or three, we were assessed for two or three. 
And so they ask you why you want a sibling group, you know, why do you want to adopt?
“Why at your stage of life, when you could be out, you know, enjoying yourselves?” And I said, “Well we have done all that.” And really things like, you know, going off on exotic holidays and all that sort of stuff, it’s not compensation for not having a family. And, you know, I felt and I think that [husband] did, that something was missing in our lives. You know, there is this child centred space that we just didn’t have, and for someone who has worked with children for over twenty years, you know, that was, I found very difficult was going to work and being with, being with children, and it actually had a tremendous strain on me to the point where I decided to leave, and I left before… we had gone to panel, and I left following that. Once we had been approved at panel, even though I knew that we might have quite a wait for the children, because I knew that I couldn’t keep going back into work every day, it was tearing me apart seeing all these children. And specifically with the kind of job that I had got, where there were children, who were, you know, coming from very difficult family backgrounds and things, and you know, knowing that I couldn’t do anything other than put support in for that, and it was really, really difficult. 
So that was why I gave up work, because I just felt I just couldn’t do it, because emotionally it was just tearing me apart. And after I had done that I actually felt a lot better about things. And my energy started to come back as well, because I was feeling very tired and that sort of thing, because the whole thing makes you tired, both mentally and physically. And it does put a tremendous strain on a relationship. It really does. 
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