“Planning” and Infertility

March 26, 2013

If you’ve suffered from infertility I’m betting when someone tells you they want to “plan” a baby around a certain date it’s hard to keep your eyeballs straight.

In college, one of my professors was pregnant. I asked her how far along she was and she said she had “lost count” but that she was due about a month after school let out.

Looking back it still boggles my mind that some people don’t realize how lucky they are to be so in charge of their life. So sure it’s all going to work out perfectly.

That’s just one example of how infertility robs you of choice. Robs you of planning. Robs you of control.

It’s like you are a slave to infertility. You so badly want to run away from it. And although you hate to bow into submission to it, there’s no running because facing it is the only way to overcome it.

For me this has only been compounded by my pregnancy complications and premature babies. I struggle with feelings of selfishness and guilt for even thinking of trying for another baby…if that’s even a choice. And although I try to live my life free of caring what other people think, I just know people would be talking if I ever decide to have more.

“Oh she’s pregnant again? Oh boy, here we go again.”

Sometimes that pressure is too much to bear.

I hate that person has to be me. I hate that I have to worry about getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and watching my baby struggle when born too early.

And most of all I hate knowing I’ll never get to decide how many kids I have.

I hate that when I tell people I’ll always have preemie babies they say, “Oh yeah, then you should definitely be done.”

Easy to say when you have a van full of healthy full term kids.

And I absolutely hate when people tell me to “just adopt” as if that puts all the choices into my hands. What people often don’t realize is that with adoption there are just as many unknowns as infertility.

You could pay fees to adoption agencies only to not be chosen by a birth mother. Then you could finally be matched with a birth mother only for her to change her mind at birth. You could finally be placed with the baby only for the mother to change her mind in the allotted time.

There’s loss and there’s pain in adoption too.

Soon after I had my daughter at 26 weeks I had an online friend who had three preemies and three second trimester losses. I just could not understand why she kept having children when she went through so much pain and loss to get them here.

Now I understand why. It doesn’t make logical sense sometimes, especially to others. That innate desire to be a mother to not just one, not just two, but to how many you desired is so engrained it’s hard to turn off sometimes.

Many women who suffer from infertility think a baby will cure their desperation to have a baby. You’d think the sleepless nights and the days spent at home instead of out with friends would tame that desire, but it doesn’t. If anything it makes it stronger.

You’d think that once you are finally holding your baby that pregnancy announcements wouldn’t sting anymore, but they still do.

For the last couple of years, I’ve stalked a blog of a woman who tried everything in her power to get pregnant: meds, IUIs, IVFs, miscarriages. She even tried adoption. She had potential matches a couple of times only for it to not work out. Eventually she used a gestational carrier who recently gave birth to her twins. Even though she has her twins she grieves the loss of not only being pregnant but that this may be the last time she has a baby to wake up to at night. She even went back to her doctor to see if getting pregnant still was completely off the table.

That’s not an easy feeling for many people to understand. Logically it seems insane as if she isn’t grateful for the two she does have. But it’s so much more than the end result of a baby. There’s so much loss. Not just a physical loss, but an emotional loss too. What do you call a loss that isn’t even a loss to a lot of people?

How has infertility affected the plans that you had for your life? How has infertility been an emotional loss in your life?

  • Ashley

    I have been at war with my uterus for the past 4 years. From suffering a miscarriage, having two preemies, secondary infertility, and now parenting after trauma I have learned that the only way to heal is to face grief head on and not apologize if it makes people feel uncomfortable. My hope is that one day infertility and loss can become more open to everyday conversations and become a less taboo subject. You can find me at my blog.

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