My “other side” of infertility

I want to tell my story of infertility. I think I’m on the other side, but then I’m not sure.

I grew up always assuming I’d be a mom, and I desired this relationship very much. I think there is no greater gift than children. I went to a home daycare when I was a child, and then later worked at that same daycare. I was always comfortable with children. It just seemed natural, and destined. Like I was being groomed and prepared for this role.

Fast forward to college, master’s degree, first job, second job, new man, fiancé, marriage, first home, and so on. After a year of marriage, we decided to stop preventing, and then after a few months, we decided there’s more to this conception thing than not preventing, so we got a little more strategic in our pursuit of conceiving. Then, after another year, we decided to visit with doctors to determine if there was more going on. It turned out we both have physical issues that hinder conception. So, we tried one treatment method. That didn’t work, which was ok, because there was more we could do. We could go the invasive, expensive treatment route. Our insurance was going to help, and we had the financial means to do so. Because this was the first time our work insurance had ever covered fertility treatments, I thought this was God saying, this is my plan for you. It seemed destined. And, so we hoped. We hoped for children. We hoped to realize the future we’d both always assumed.

And then…the first round, we got chemically pregnant, but it didn’t last. And then, with each subsequent treatment, nothing. Our hope was dashed and darkness circled. We did two full rounds of IVF, three embryo transfer procedures, with no results. I thought, where are these stories? I didn’t know any woman who didn’t have children, or knew she couldn’t. I didn’t know anyone who’d undergone fertility treatments and didn’t have children.  But, I couldn’t help but think, we can’t be the only ones who’ve done all this, paid all this money, gone through this very physically taxing regimen and ended up here. We…just…can’t. I found myself in the deepest valley I’ve ever experienced in my life.

I was shaken to the very core of my beliefs and worldview of my womanhood and my temporary role in this world. I honestly never envisioned a future for myself that didn’t include children.  And, at some point, I found just one story of a woman who’d gone through the full gamut of fertility treatment and never did become a mother. Reading her story was my turning point. That one story showed me that it would be ok, even though we could afford another round of treatment, to stop treatment. That I was ok as I was. That my life with my husband was enough as it was, in that moment. This is why I wanted to share my story.

If you feel alone right now in the valley of infertility, you are not alone. You are enough as you are, in your life. I want you to know that if you’re ready and need to, that it’s ok to stop and get off the treatment roller coaster. I’ve learned that for me there is a future with no children and it will be a good future.

dear amazing you

The bravest choice we ever made was to stop treatment. To accept our life as it is and to embrace our life together.  Now, I began this essay by saying, I think I’m on the other side. But, it’s not over. There’s no clear line. We have one frozen embryo left, and we still try naturally, so I can’t say we’re really done. And, I still mourn that future I always thought I’d have. But, those days are fewer and fewer and less frequent.  Just know that you are not alone on your journey. I ask you to remember that it is a journey and there will be another day, and another after that. And, eventually, you’ll find yourself on the “other side” of this, and maybe you’ll have your own miracle, and maybe you’ll have some other wonderful future that you never envisioned, but that is just the future you were always meant to have.

You are not alone, and you will come through this.

You are not alone.

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