We aren’t sure if this is the end of the (in)fertility road for us. We are at a standstill. Our last IVF cycle (3rd cycle) in December/January ended in a chemical pregnancy. As we were making our way through that cycle, I told myself that it would be our final cycle. Regardless of the outcome, I imagined I would have this overwhelming feeling of peace and closure. In hindsight, I realize I was setting myself up for failure.
It’s three months later, and I am still waiting for that feeling of closure. It hasn’t happened. Not even close. Instead I’m left with a lot of unresolved, conflicting feelings. Will I ever feel like our family is truly complete? Shouldn’t I be happy I have one healthy child? How do I move on with my life? Am I giving up if I abandon treatment? Is it financially feasible to push for another cycle? Is it emotionally/physically feasible to push for another cycle?
I am currently in therapy trying to make heads or tails of all of these questions. I am learning that infertility is very much a grieving process. Beyond just grieving for the way you thought you’d conceive children, you are grieving for the life you thought you’d have. Grieving for the time lost and heartache experienced with fertility treatments. I know there are certain aspects of infertility that I need to accept, but why is it so hard?
I wanted to share a few issues that I am dealing with at the moment.
There will be no natural pregnancies.
My condition (endometriosis) doesn’t allow me to go off of birth control for too long before it starts wreaking havoc. So the ability to try naturally is off the table in our case. This frustrates me to no end, because it feels like a loss of control. Even though I know that our chances of a natural conception are slim, it seems like every time I turn around, someone tells me not to give up because they know someone infertile who conceived. We will not be that couple. This is something I have to accept and let go of. Currently, I have had to go back on birth control and it makes me sad!
My daughter may be an only child.
I feel like I am letting my daughter down if I can’t give her a brother or sister. Up until now, I haven’t been able to accept that my daughter could very well be an only child. I have not allowed myself to consider the positives of being an only child. Rather, I have chosen to dwell on what I view are the negatives and punish myself. Sounds good for my mental health, right? Any time I find myself feeling joy in our family of three, my mind circles back to what could be if we had more children.
I may not have the family life I envisioned.
I grew up with two brothers, and having siblings was a big part of my childhood. I always assumed I would have three kids. It’s been hard for me to accept that this childhood dream probably won’t happen for me. Fast forward to a few months ago when we did IVF and had one PGS normal embryo. We found out that embryo was a girl. I couldn’t help but envision a life with two little girls. It felt like it was just within my grasp, and then I had a chemical pregnancy. The dream suddenly felt very far away and, once again, impossible.
The bottomline is that infertility is hard. I’m working on acceptance and gratitude. I continue to feel very grateful for my life with my amazing daughter. Yet, I still grapple with the unresolved feelings of wanting to get pregnant again, wanting a sibling for K, and honestly, wanting that feeling that my family is complete. I don’t want to always wonder if I did enough or tried hard enough. It’s confusing and frustrating, but I have to make peace with where we are now.