Divorced during fertility treatment: “I thought the only way to be a mother was with that man I had married and left me”
When to Maria Segunda Santamaria (51) They asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she always answered the same: to be a mother and have a lot of little children.
“My favorite entertainment was playing mom and I formed my family with dolls. Although it was with other childhood friends and with my younger sister, I also played alone and imagined situations of this nature: I put together a bag with clothes for the baby and other things. When we went on vacation with my family, I would choose a few toys to take with us and, among them, there were always dolls, clothes, bottles and handbags”, she recalls, from a distance.
The years went by but that girl’s desire, far from disappearing, increased more and more. Even more so when at the age of 30 he became a girlfriend and at 32 he married. From that moment on, an intense search began to form a family, but, nevertheless, the results were not as expected.
“When I found out that I had endometriosis it was a huge shock for me, I knew very well what it was about since a few years before my younger sister had also been diagnosed with that disease. At that time not much was known about the subject. In fact, they indicated treatments that are now obsolete, such as causing me to undergo a chemical menopause for at least six months, to prevent the disease from advancing, and in my case it did not work and one operation after another followed another. My mood was declining, my faith was not, never, but my body was beginning to take its toll on me from receiving so many chemicals and so many operations.”.
Together with her husband, she says, they did three low-complexity treatments, inseminations, and they did not work. Then, they began the race to raise money to be able to pay for the first in vitro treatment since at that time there was no National Fertility Law. However, they never came close to achieving pregnancy.
“I felt absolute frustration, anger and a lot of sadness. In addition, it generated crazy anxiety. I don’t have much record of having nice talks with my husband, those of love, of going forward together. I was very affected and over time I realized that it had become, at times, an obsession. I just wanted to be a mother, I was sure I was going to get pregnant with twins and months passed, years and that did not happen.
That disconnection with her husband, says María Segunda, led her to ask him that they had to talk since she felt that something was not right in the couple. “To my surprise, one day we started talking and that conversation lasted a few minutes, he told me he wanted to separate. A week later he left home and a few months later he asked me for a divorce. At first I experienced it with surprise, unable to accept this new reality. Absolute denial, rejection for him, for the surprising way he left my life, anger, rage and other emotions necessary to begin to hurt that marriage. I thought my world was falling apart because at that moment I thought that the only way to start a family was with that man with whom I had married and left me.
As a result of this unexpected situation, María Segunda began to feel sadness and reluctance for everything, absolute apathy, wanting to sleep all day. I felt that I was not a possibility at all. Soon after, the psychiatrist diagnosed him with depression. “I remember the day I was going back to my house by bus from the court where we signed the divorce after seeing my husband for the last time in my life, we never saw each other again. That day was a pain so deep, a sadness so deep, it was broken for the first time. I walked into my house and I didn’t know what to do, I literally couldn’t make even a simple decision like go to bed and cry or call someone, I didn’t know how to go on. The life project I had had already dissolved. It was a strong break, a before and after in my life”, he assures.
María Segunda went to a psychologist and also to a psychiatrist who prescribed antidepressants and anxiolytics and shortly after, she says, she began to feel relief. However, the click to leave depression behind, he says, was a trip he made to Brazil with his mother where he was able to talk and vent about everything that had been happening in his life in recent years.
Nothing that had happened during that time had managed to put an end to the great dream that María Segunda had had since she was a child. Quite the contrary, that desire became the meaning of her life, that little motor that drove her forward.
By then, she says, she had already started the procedures to do an in vitro treatment alone, as a single-parent family, and in this case it was already free, taking advantage of the Fertility Law. “Given my menopausal condition, I should go to both anonymous donors, that is, not only sperm but also eggs, it would be through in vitro treatment and I was going to be the one to gestate that embryo. This decision took me a while, a lot of therapy, a lot of talking about it with loved ones, seeking support and talking about my fears of getting pregnant alone, without a partner and at that age”, she confesses.
When she was told that the anonymous donors had already been found and a few days later the embryos were already waiting to be transferred to her uterus, she felt joy, anxiety and fear. All of that together.
“They transferred the first embryo to me, I asked for it to be just one, and a few days later I found out that it did not work, it was negative and then I almost did not continue, it was a strong downturn to receive the news. At that time there were not so many people who knew that I was already with the embryo transfer, I leaned a lot on my loving network, I talked about my frustration and my tiredness, I had been trying to be a mother for many years”.
However, as he still had two embryos left, he decided to go for the second and final attempt. And after so many years of waiting, fate was giving him an unequivocal sign that at 48 he was going to fulfill his great dream. “I went alone to get the lab result to confirm the pregnancy and on the other end of the phone there were many people waiting for me to send the message when I opened the envelope. When I read the positive, which are numbers, my vision blurred and I couldn’t see them. At that time I did not wear glasses so I had to ask a laboratory employee to read for me the numbers that indicated the positive Beta. I couldn’t stop crying, that was the moment my wish materialized, the greatest in the world, I was someone else, now I was a mom. I was sure that everything was going to be fine. I deserved it. I worked hard for this to happen, I worked hard on myself, I did all the necessary process, I put my body and soul, now it was done. God had rewarded me”, he gets emotional.
Within a few minutes, his cell phone had run out of battery as a result of all the messages, calls and pampering he received after sharing the beautiful and long-awaited news.
María Segunda says that she experienced her pregnancy with an energy that she had not felt at any other time in her life. I was happy waiting for the agreed date for the caesarean section, December 5, 2018, to see Esmeralda’s face for the first time.
“I chose my sister who lives in Brazil to accompany me to the delivery room. She traveled a few weeks before to Argentina and the two of us went there together. As in the great moments of my life, she was always holding my hand. As soon as Esme came out of me I felt a strange emotion, it was hard for me to understand that she was my daughter. I thought that the time was coming to mother, care for, love, educate, teach and learn, love even more, leave a legacy, watch over her, now comes the beauty, now comes the prize to enjoy.
María Segunda, who trained as Professional Ontological Coach, He says that his daughter, who is currently three years old, loves to play with dolls, play musical instruments, although for now she does not like to dance. In addition, she really enjoys painting with watercolors, temperas and pencils and reading each of her books.
As a mother, she says that she is very loving, kissing, that she hugs her, lifts her up, tells her all the time that she loves her and that she loves her and shows her photos of when she was in her belly, an activity that Esme loves.
“I could list a thousand things that Esme changed in my life, but I choose to say that she changed my status from a single woman to a woman who built her family. And there I die of love just listening to myself say it. I love and am proud of the family that we form with Esmeralda. We are two brave men who after many years of looking for each other, God guided us so that we could find each other”.