I’ve noticed that most people (who have an online presence) that struggle with infertility can be categorized as bitter. In fact there’s a blog I read named just that: Yet Another Bitter Infertile. It’s really hard to stay positive and full of hope when each attempt you make dashes your dreams, and the statistics give you a less than ideal chance of achieving your goal of becoming a parent. I’m working hard at not becoming just another bitter infertile woman, but let me tell you– it is hard.
It’s hard because you are constantly unsure of what to think and how to feel, and whether or not your thoughts and feelings are okay. Here are just a few situations that make my brain and heart go all wonky:
1. When a friend tells you she’s pregnant (Especially when it’s 6 friends announcing it in the year you pursue IVF). I want so badly to be happy for them, and I know I am. They deserve it, and they will be awesome parents. But my initial reaction feels something like my heart sinking to the pit of my stomach. It feels wrong to feel this way, but I can’t stop it. I reason with myself to remind myself that I have so many great things going for me. But for now, it’s not a baby.
2. When your family starts to tell you maybe not having kids wouldn’t be that bad. This came as a surprise to me. My mom has been hounding me for a grandchild for a good 4 years now. She knows everything about our struggles, though I’m not sure she totally understands. Just recently she started mentioning couples she knows who couldn’t have kids, and didn’t. How they express they still have wonderful and complete lives. On one hand I get that my mom is trying to help me feel okay with what may be our future, but on the other I feel like everyone is just losing hope.
3. When everyone around you tells you to relax. I know, I know. Once I relax, my eggs will somehow reverse age, and my uterus will be a perfect home for baby. right…But then, maybe if I did relax a little more I would get pregnant? I don’t know, I’ve never been one to be stress free. Maybe that’s the problem? Oh, god!
4. When you have to decide how far you’ll go. Will you do IVF? ICSI? What about Donor Eggs? How about a surrogate? What about adopting an embryo? How about adopting from a foreign country? What if you adopted from foster care? How about being foster parents? Would you want your child to be half your partner and half a stranger? It’s amazing how your views change after being in this for long enough. At first it’s, “No, I’d never do IVF.” Then it’s, “Oh no way I’d do donor eggs.” Until, you hear you might just need them. It’s a constant battle with limits you set for yourself and the desire to become a parent. How much do you want this?
5. When people stop asking you about your family plans. I love that I don’t have to answer questions about when we’ll have babies. No more explanations, we all understand what’s happening here. But then it also feels like you’ve been written off and everyone knows you can’t have kids and you’re all by yourself in a special box.
6. When people ask you about your family plans. It’s like, “Haven’t you heard, we can’t have kids!” But part of me also feels like, “Yes! I’m still in the age group where people think we should be having kids.”
You see, in each of these situations it’s so much easier to turn off the internal struggle and just be angry and bitter. It’s an easy emotion to go to. We all know how to be angry. My goal is to keep sorting it out, and not become your typical bitter infertile. Be patient with me.