I don’t like the term giving up. That said, I know I felt it each time I contemplated moving on from one stage to another.
As my ex and I got our diagnoses, and started working with the reproductive endocrinologist, I felt like I had to give up on the idea of having a child without some kind of medical staff involved. We never had the hope of a completely natural conception, due to our medical issues.
When I lost my pregnancies, when the cycles turned up negative, I felt like I gave up too easy, that my body gave up, that I failed my someday children.
When I moved from IUI to IVF, I felt like I was giving up on the chance of having a child in an affordable way. Of having any control over my body, as I overstimulated, suffered side effects, or had a cycle cancelled. When they diagnosed my cancer, and we had to give up on any and all treatment, I felt like I was giving up, even though I had no choice.
We pursued adoption as I pursued a clean bill of health, concurrently dealing with chemo and home studies. I could not give up on the idea of having a child, in whatever way would be successful for us. I’d meet women without children, and think that they gave up, that they must not have wanted a child badly enough, or somehow, they would have had one.
I was so wrong.
I had to let go of each idea as we moved into accepting a new one. It isn’t bad. You have to change and adapt to your circumstances, it’s the only way we survive our lives, with as crazy as they can be.
I think things are moving in the right way, and people are able to find support as they move from trying to conceive to looking into treatment, or adoption or surrogacy. There are online forums, Facebook groups, support meetings, and so on, for all the subsets of people trying to become parents. But, the one thing nobody talks about, is when to let go.
Hope is hard. Hope keeps us fighting long after we feel able to stay on our feet, pushing us into action even after our hearts are weighed down.
No one ever told me it was OK to let go. Not the women I met in my support groups, who all became parents. Not my therapist, who had finally had twins via DE IVF after 6 years of trying. Not my family and friends, not even my ex. In fact, he was absolutely crushed to know I was considering letting go on the idea of having children, of having a family with him.
I believe it was necessary to let go in order to survive. My life revolved around the possibilities of parenthood for so long, I didn’t know anything else. I was devastated to think that I had given up on my dream. Giving up as a term, it truly did apply; abandoning the things I was doing to become a mom. I surrendered, and I yielded control of this thing that consumed my life. I gave up, and there was no other way to look at it.
Except I had to find another way. Letting go seemed kinder. Letting go, was a release, rather than me just walking away. It was a tender and gentle term for something that felt so painful and violently against every fiber of my being.
I resolve to know more about when to let go, because it isn’t something I did, it’s something I continue to do. I resolve to help others know about this too, because there isn’t a lot of support, especially for those who stop treatment or adoption proceedings for a childfree life. If you know someone who has to let go, please don’t ever think they gave up. It’s so much more complicated than that.
*The theme of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week is “resolve to know more”… with the more covering a number of different topics. You can read more here.