The desire to have a baby is one of tremendous force and great frustration. Once someone decides that they want a child, life becomes centered on that one idea. Have a baby.
That idea has taken my husband and I on an emotional, loving journey I could never have imagined. After 20 years together, I thought we had settled into our lives and would more or less ride the wave of maturity. Our decision to try for one more child quickly turned those thoughts upside down.
I could recount all of the painful moments, all of the disappointment, all of the fear. I’m not going to do that here because every single person (male or female) that has lived with infertility has their own list of heartbreaking moments. Comparing heartaches among us serves no purpose because there are simply too many to even consider. We all hurt in our own ways.
Our journey has not been all bad though. There are things that we have learned about ourselves as individuals and as a couple. Our genuine love for one another has been tested time and time again. If anything, we are now acutely aware of how much we are willing to sacrifice for each other. Over a year of constant compromise and excruciating emotional turmoil will do that to a marriage. It makes you examine the value of your relationship on every level. We learned that we really do want the other to be happy, at almost any cost.
As much as I don’t want to think about our pregnancy loss, I must admit that it was the turning point in this journey. The pain we shared reminded us both that we still genuinely care about each other. That when one of us is hurt we both feel the bruises. Those few days surrounding the miscarriage will never leave our memories and will always be a reminder of our shared dedication as well as our shared heartache.
We continued our journey fueled by that loss. Our resolve to keep trying only became stronger in knowing that I could still conceive, if not carry a child to term. We knew the odds were astronomical, but we kept going anyway. Having been almost successful was all that we needed to keep ourselves in the game.
The problem is that the game has to end. You have ask yourself if you are making the right decision at some point. Believing in miracles is a noble trait, but when does it become utterly pathetic to continue chasing rainbows and kissing bullfrogs? I think the answer to that is… when you realize that you have given every effort and there is simply nothing left to continue with.
I wish I could say that deciding to stop trying to conceive was black and white, easy and without second thought. Walking away from something that we have both been so passionate about has been extremely difficult.
There will still be pregnant women everywhere and beautiful babies born to undeserving women and men every day. The children’s boutiques will still be in the malls. Television shows will still glorify the natural ability to conceive. There will be baby showers and baby’s first steps. All those things are going to continue to happen all around us, and it will sting every time. Expecting to avoid all things baby related is unrealistic and self-centered. The world doesn’t stop simply because my ovaries and uterus did.
While our journey through infertility has been emotionally draining, it has also been enlightening. My husband and I have discovered who we are as a couple and what we are capable of handling. Those discoveries will guide us as we say goodbye to trying to conceive and move forward with achieving other goals.
I think we are both ready to experience more success and less consistent failure. The future does not include a new baby for us, but we know that there are other opportunities that we have put aside that we must consider. Letting go of an impossible dream will allow us to focus on things that we need to work on.
For those of you who have given up on trying to conceive (or are close to it): Do what your heart and mind tell you to. Living with infertility is a very difficult thing to do. Accepting infertility when you want nothing more than to have a child is one of the most painful life experiences you can have. Only you can decide if the time is right to move on or not. Take a break from it if you need to. Walk away if you need to. Or keep chasing your rainbow if you’re not ready to give up. You will know when you are completely ready to stop trying to conceive. Until then, do what you must to see it become a reality. Whatever you choose, be okay with it because you know it is what is best for you. Second guessing every decision can make you crazy. There are no guarantees in this, so everything is a gamble. Make the decisions regarding your fertility and make peace with them because hindsight is always 20/20 and there is no way to foretell the future outcome. Most of all…allow yourself to breathe, even if only for a moment. This is some truly hard stuff you are experiencing. Take care of yourself; heart, body, and mind.
Our efforts may not have ended in the results we had wanted, but we gave it all that we had within our abilities. I could sit and wish for things to have been different all day long. In the end, this is what we were given to work with. We did our best. We didn’t get our baby and we are deeply saddened by that. But, we are healing and we are hopeful for the things that lie ahead.
So ends this journey.