I’m going to tell you something that you might not hear, and may not want to: you are ALLOWED to stop. Stop the treatments; stop charting, stop monitoring every single sign and symptom of either pregnancy, ovulation, or your coming period.
You can quit reading long into the night, searching for a way to either get pregnant or keep the pregnancy. You’re allowed to get off the infertility boards, those intangible groups filled with all sorts of acronyms and people continually sprinkling ‘baby dust.’
All those books on fertility? The medical journals and religious tomes cluttering up your bedside table? You’re allowed to throw those in the recycle bin. You can get rid of the box of pregnancy tests or OPKs stashed under your bathroom sink, the BBT thermometer in your drawer.
You don’t have to search out various practitioners, try all sorts of non-medical treatments, fill up on supplements instead of food.
You’re allowed to be done.
Let that sink in for a second.
I wish I would have heard that from someone, over tea as I cried my heart out on either one of our sofas, years ago. If someone could have told me that I could stop and not feel guilty about it, about pursuing another child — a sibling for our daughter — I would have been in a much better place.
Instead, I was, kindly and with the best intentions, told not to give up, to keep pursuing at all costs! I was told it would happen, that it was only a matter of time. I needed just to try this, or give up that! Maybe do such-and-such for a while, check out some new possibility or other.
Their intentions were amazing. Positive. Supportive.
But I still wish I could have heard it from at least one person’s lips.
Related: On Calling it Quits
Last year at this time, my husband and I made this terrible decision to stop. Full stop. No more trying, no more charting. No more talking to doctors about hormones, or cycles, or whatever else to do with fertility. Done with a capital ‘D.’
At first, it was strange. Really?! After thinking of time in terms of the intimate cycles of my body rather than in hours and seconds, and for more than a decade, I was going to have to knock all of it off? Yep. My thought patterns always went to what my body was doing, rather than what I was doing in it.
I’m not going to lie; it took a LONG time to stop what I had been doing for so many years. It didn’t end all at once. The first few months were still full of me monitoring me.
Then, slowly, peace began to creep in. There were whole days that I was completely content, then weeks. I saw my little girl as a completion, not as one of a possible set, which is where most of my energy had been focused.
I tried to live my life fully embracing what I had and not living for what I wish I had.
I am not saying that you need to EVER get to this point; I’m saying that it’s a valid option. If you want to pursue to the ends of the earth, you are allowed —Encouraged! We will support you and cheer you on! But, if you are weary, exhausted with all that you have been through, and too tired and heartsore to go on…
If you are just waiting for someone to tell you, let me be that person: You don’t need to feel any guilt, any shame that you “couldn’t keep on.”
You are not a failure. You are human. And you are enough.
Photo by Jan Phoenix on Unsplash
Jill Kawchak is the proud mama to one truly amazing daughter, the wife of a good man, and a companion of a very troublesome Labrador retriever. Her days are spent homeschooling from the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Cochrane, Alberta, where her daughter constantly begs to go exploring. She had always wanted to be a mother and started TTC just after her wedding in 2006. Jill has been diagnosed with PCOS, and was told motherhood would be a difficult goal to attain, but after 3.5 years of infertility with one early loss, the clouds parted, and the sunshine that was a little girl with blue eyes and brown curls broke through. However, in the years since her daughter arrived, there have been another 4 early losses. After *much* debate, angst and tears, Jill and her husband, Mark, have decided to end their fertility journey and are now focused on ‘what comes next’. She writes to keep sane, and support those who are also experiencing infertility and baby loss.