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Monday, July 14, 2014

Infertility vs Childlessness

I wanted to share something that has been on my mind since I brought home our little miracle.

Brent and I decided to try and start a family in February of 2010. We had only been married about 9 months, but we felt pretty strongly it was the right thing to do. We had some very strong promptings from our Heavenly Father that it was time to start a family. The timing didn't seem to make a lot of sense, but we had faith that we were being directed from above.

Having received such a strong prompting, every negative pregnancy test left us very confused. Month after month passed, and no pregnancy. We were told to be patient and read statistics that most couples take a few months to get pregnant.

After our obligatory year of trying, we went to see the doctor. She did some tests and sent us to a specialist. By the time we got to see the specialist, we had been trying about 15 months.

The specialist checked me out and told me she couldn't see any reason why I wasn't getting pregnant and suspected Brent's contribution might be what was holding us back. We got Brent tested and were given the lab results. We were not qualified to read the results on our own, but we could tell they didn't look good.

We made an appointment to see a specialist who could interpret the results and had to wait until there was an opening. By the time we saw the specialist in October of 2011, we had been trying to have a baby for over 18 months.

We had been speculating for months about what the tests results could mean, and held on to hope that things would be easily fixed.

When the doctor told us that due to Brent's sperm count and motility, the only likely route that would get us pregnant would be IVF, we were unprepared for the grief that hit us. I had known lots of people to adopt when I was growing up, and two of my best friends were adopted. I had always told myself that if we couldn't have children "naturally," we'd "just adopt."

I was very surprised by how angry and sad I felt about the prospect of adopting. I felt like adopting was a consultation prize and that I was getting second best.

I came home from the appointment and checked out LDS Family services website in hopes of finding some comfort for what I was feeling.

I poured over every sentence, trying to grasp what was ahead of me. Part of their website was a check list of discussion items to help you determine if you are ready to adopt.

This question crushed me: "Do you understand that adoption will not cure the pain of infertility?"

I took that question to mean: "Do you understand that there is NO cure to infertility? Do you understand that even if you do adopt, you're still going to feel this soul crushing grief? Do you understand that the only way you'd be happy is to be able to get pregnant?"

 I can tell you now, after several fertility treatment consults, 2 years of hoping to adopt, 1 bad adoption experience, 1 endometriosis surgery, and almost 3 years, that I was totally off base.

Since that day in October 2011 until the day I adopted my baby, I have felt pain and grief almost every single day. I believed that I was suffering from infertility the entire time. As soon as I was able to hold my baby in my arms, all the pain I'd been feeling for the past several years pretty much washed away. I was a little confused by this because I have heard many times that "adoption is not a cure for infertility." I realized after thinking about it for awhile that it's true. Adoption is not a cure for infertility. I am still as infertile as ever. However, adoption is a cure for childlessness.

For a long time, my struggle was with infertility. I wanted to be able to have a home made baby. I didn't want to go through the treatment and I didn't want to have to sacrifice having my own genetic child.While adoption hasn't cured my infertility, I feel like the past several years have led me to be at peace with my infertility. I have grieved the loss of the child that has my hair and daddy's eyes.

 I can tell you that it took a lot of time to mourn, process, and to get over my trial of infertility. I was able to move on from my dream of having my genetic child, being pregnant, and giving birth. However, I was never willing to give up on my dream of having a child.  I realize now that for the past year or so, when I came to terms with the fact that I would not likely have my own genetic child, that my trial was childlessness.

Because I properly mourned my genetic child and the idea of being pregnant and giving birth, I am able to have full joy in my adopted child.

I think someone else used the term "Parent vs. Procreate." For most people, they go together, but you can separate them and address them individually. For many people, you can be satisfied with parenting without procreating.

Anyway, I hope that makes sense and maybe helps someone. I wish I would have had a blog post like this to read that day I came home from the doctors office feeling so hopeless and devastated. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that even though I did not genetically contribute to my son and I did not form him in my belly, that I am every bit his mother.

1 comment:

Joy said...

WOW! I am so glad you shared this. I also hope it will reach other aching hearts - we are so happy for you and for US!!