ADAPTING TO MISSED CONCEPTIONS ON THE JOURNEY TO PARENTHOOD
When I turned 30, I had no concept that becoming a mother could become a “journey.” A wild night? hopefully. A few attempts? Sure. Several month? Ok, fine. But four years and a continued question mark about what will finally work for us? UNFATHOMABLE! I could never have imagined this, or planned for this. If someone told me I’d be 34 and gearing up to shoot hormones into my body, yet again, to shut down my reproductive system so that a donated embryo can be placed in my uterus, I wouldn’t have even been able to wrap my head around the thought to respond.
This “journey” has been far from linear. There is no road map, no step-by-step directions on what to do, where to go, or how to survive. Noah and I, and all of us stranded here on IF Island, have to wander around, figuring it out. And all of us have to adapt to the fact that our baby isn’t going to come the old fashioned way. Then we have to adapt to any unsuccessful procedure or attempt. We have to adapt to diagnoses that tell us we can’t use certain parts of our own body. We have to adapt to our statistical chances of something working and make the best decisions we can. Then we have to adapt to the choice we eventually make, and fully come to terms with whatever that is. We have to adapt to the lifestyle (or lack there of) of an infertile person, and the isolation that may come with that. We have to adapt to this consuming our thoughts and worries, and to a new emotional baseline of anxiety. We have to adapt to how our bodies may change due to hormones and medication, and how we become more limited financially. Yet all the while we have to remember that a miracle can happen, the body is always changing, and doctors aren’t always right.
As kids we were told to stay still when we are lost and someone will find us. I guess it doesn’t work like that on IF Island. You can’t stay still, but continuously taking different roads may make us feel even more lost and confused. Maybe we should try jumping up and down.
So how do we adapt? How do we know which road to go down and which way to turn when we’ve hit a dead end? How do we have the strength and the courage to go down another unknown road when everywhere thus far has led us astray?
We just do our best. We cycle through the stages of grief at rapid speed and we find a way to accept our reality. We have the unwavering belief that we will be parents, some how, some way, so we keep on fighting. Some of us will come to terms with not being able to give birth, or having to let go of our genetics. Some of us will eventually adopt, and others may decide to stop fighting and begin to mourn letting go of having a child. All of us have to hold on to hope and appreciate our lives and all we have, and to do what is best for us and our relationships. It’s not easy.
If told this is where I would be at 34 I would have said no way. NO CHANCE. No thank you. I would never have thought I (or my marriage) could survive this madness. But I have. We have. And we are stronger and better for it. We know how to be flexible and to have realistic expectations. We have been forced to learn how to heal from the deepest pain and how to continue to fight this battle. Adapting can be hard, but it also can be necessary. I keep reminding myself that one day I’ll be adapting to the schedule of a newborn. One day.