Garance Dore was once told she was getting too old to have a child when she reached the age of 40.
The French blogger, who is now 42, opened up about her fertility struggles in a touching essay published on Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter on Friday.
She described how she and her fiance, jazz musician Chris Norton, tried for months to conceive a baby during a harrowing process that robbed her of her happiness and mental well-being.
Sharing: Garance Dore (pictured left earlier this month in New York right with fiance Chris Norton) opened up about her fertility struggles in a touching essay published on Friday
Garance began toying with the idea of becoming a parent when she was 37 years old. At the time, the blogger, who lived in New York for years before moving to LA earlier this year, was dating her fellow fashion blogger Scott Schuman.
‘I was with a man I loved, but my new desire for kids didn’t seem to find its space in our couple. Too many travels, too big an age difference, too many cultural differences,’ she wrote about Scott, who is now 49.
The blogger briefly thought about having a baby on her own, but she quickly met Chris, who at the time was 39 and, like Garance, had no children.
While it was too early in the relationship to start talking about babies, Garance started thinking about her ‘biological clock’.
‘At 20, my grandma started telling me it was time to have a child. At 30, my mom went at it. Don’t wait too much, it will be too late!!! Still not ready, but OK, listening. Add to that friends, doctors, and society’s pressure,’ she recounted.
Ultimately, though, Chris was the one who brought up the idea of children, jokingly at first.
Then, the pair got engaged two years ago, and a few months later, set out to try to become parents.
Garance, who was almost 41, went to see her OB-GYN, who promptly delivered alarming comments.
Story: Now 42, Garance explained how she an Chris (pictured with her) tried for months to conceive a child during a harrowing process that robbed her of her happiness
‘Your levels of this are WAY TOO LOW,’ Garance wrote, recounting the doctor’s remarks.
‘Your levels of that are WAY TOO HIGH. OMG, LOOK AT THESE FIBROIDS. At your age, I recommend an intrauterine insemination next month because we don’t HAVE A MINUTE TO LOSE. NOT A MINUTE!!! At your age.’
The ‘at your age’ comment stuck with Garance, who followed her doctor’s advice and had the intrauterine insemination.
This means doctors closely monitored the state of her eggs, and at the most suitable moment, her partner’s sperm was placed inside her and she received her first dose of hormones.
My period would become the sign of the failure of my body, the failure of my femininity
But the procedure was unsuccessful, and as their attempts to conceive kept failing, Garance became disheartened every time she got her period.
‘From then on, my period would become the sign of the failure of my body, the failure of my femininity, the failure of my life,’ she wrote.
One day, her OB-GYN brought up IVF during a phone conversation, as well as a surgery to remove Garance’s fibroids, but something didn’t feel quite right for the blogger, who went to see another doctor.
Instead of surgery, that doctor told her to take hormones and steroids and to keep hoping.
That was, Garance recounted, ‘the perfect chemical cocktail to make an already fragile woman completely crazy’.
‘For those long months, I stopped living,’ she added. ‘I downloaded self-help books faster than it takes to say om. I stopped coffee, stopped alcohol, stopped eating, stopped going out, stopped traveling, stopped having fun. I started taking every color of vitamin there is, started putting my feet up after sex, and was very studious about reaching orgasm (yep, that too is recommended).’
Trying: After moving to LA in January, Garance had an IVF, but later learned the process had been unsuccessful and didn’t result in a pregnancy
Turning a new leaf: At one point, the blogger (pictured with Chris and their dog Lulu) decided to stop desperately trying to get pregnant as it was making her miserable
The process took a toll on her mental state and caused ‘terrible fights’ with her fiance. Soon, the blogger found herself wracked with guilt and crying every day.
To make matters worse, her doctor called her a few months later pointing out that she would soon reach the age of 42 and implying it might be her last chance to get an IVF.
‘After 42, clinics won’t want you, because they don’t want to make their statistics drop, you understand?’ she wrote, recounting the doctor’s words.
In January, Garance and Chris moved to LA. That month, she also had the IVF.
‘At that point, I was just a zombie, obeying whatever whoever with a little bit of knowledge told me,’ she wrote.
Despite her internal turmoils, the blogger still put on a brave face and joked as she learned to give herself five injections a day and handled vast quantities of medication.
But after the IVF results came in, Garance learned the procedure hadn’t worked and wouldn’t, in fact, enable her and Chris to become parents.
That was when she reached her breaking point.
‘Nothing had prepared me for this. Nothing had prepared me for a year on toxic hormones, toxic talks, and toxic thoughts. A year of losing my mind, my joy, my love,’ she wrote.
Past: Garance began toying with the idea of becoming a parent when she was 37 years old. At the time, she was dating her fellow fashion blogger Scott Schuman (pictured with her)
That day, a friend gave her the phone number of a psychic, whom Garance called, because she felt the need to talk.
During their exchange, the psychic told her: ‘Physically, absolutely nothing is preventing you from having a child.’
Upon hearing those words, Garance felt like her soul ‘suddenly woke up’.
‘I decided to stop everything — including psychics — and try to learn to listen to myself,’ she recounted. ‘No more hormones, no more doctors. Just love and trust and patience.’
My story has helped me to understand the enormous amount of pressure that is put on women to be mothers
When she broke the news to Chris, he told her he loved her regardless of whether they were able to have children, and wanted her to start taking care of herself again.
The blogger pointed out that she wasn’t going to end her essay with a surprise pregnancy announcement, and instead stressed how liberating it has been for her to be happy with her life as it is now.
‘My story has helped me to understand the enormous amount of pressure that is put on women to be mothers, a pressure that I had completely internalized and that I question today,’ she wrote.
‘This idea of having a full life, of having it all. As if our lives couldn’t be complete without children. The pressure, too, to use every possible means to have a child, because today if you want a baby, you’re going to get one. If you don’t, well, that means you didn’t try enough.
‘This has to stop.’
Garance pointed out that women are ‘complete’ even without their dream job, or a glamorous wedding, or a baby.
‘My happy ending, I have it,’ she added. ‘I owe it to that child we might never have.’