I’ve given this a lot of thought. I’ve often said that I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Yet, I wouldn’t wish it away for myself. I have learned so much about myself throughout the process and since.
- Without daily injections as a part of IVF, I would still be afraid of needles.
- Without my the constant ultrasounds as part of treatment, I would never have discovered my cancer.
- Without a failed adoption, I would have no concept of how difficult the whole process is. I wouldn’t have the respect I have for both biological and adoptive parents.
- I have an appreciation for my mother I wouldn’t have had otherwise. For her adoption story, as a child; for her parents, fighting to adopt her in their 40’s (unheard of in the 1950’s)
- I learned I am still a woman even if I never have children.
- I realized marriage, friendships and relationships in general, are fragile, and sometimes they don’t last.
I think the things infertility gave me aren’t things I would trade, even for a child. I know how this sounds, it seems foreign to type those words. It’s just that the ability to parent isn’t the end all and be all. I would have traded anything for a baby. ANYTHING. It didn’t happen, and I wonder now where I’d be with a child.
- Would I be sick
or worseif they hadn’t caught my cancer when they did?
- Would I still be married?
- Would I feel burdened by raising a child alone?
- Would I still be in NY?
I am in a good place now. I’m closer with my family. I have a partner who is truly a partner, who treats me well and loves me dearly. I have made some new friends. I wake up most mornings happy, and I wouldn’t trade that, because there’s not a guarantee that a child would make me happy.
Maybe spending this last week involved in NIAW wasn’t the wisest idea. I seem to have awoken old feelings, ones that aren’t so easily suppressed. Feelings I can’t seem to get a hold on at the moment. I think this is one of those issues that isn’t so neatly packaged. You can pack away old sadness and put it in the closet, but sometimes, like soccer balls, umbrellas and overstuffed coats, it all comes tumbling out. You find yourself laying down in the heap, unable to get up from underneath all the stuff. The sadness, the failure, the confusion, the hurt.
It reminds me of the grief you deal with after you get your heart broken. You look at the old pictures, listen to the sad songs, relive the memories and wonder about the might have beens. This is no different. I think back on what my life was like before. Before infertility and miscarriages and cancer and divorce. I was a different person then. I was innocent and sometimes insensitive. I was hopeful and positive and confident. I have lost some of these things. Some replaced with better qualities, some with less.
Life is transient, we grow and change, we can’t control most of it, only how we react to it. I know I’ll have days that are just too sad. I plan escapes on days I know are just too hard to bear. I look forward to the moment I get to become an aunt. I hope there comes a day when I can hold a baby with nothing but joy and peace.
I wish you all the same, whether that baby is yours or not. May we all find joy and peace.