The most recent Bitter Infertiles podcast (Episode 20: Living Child-Free) hit really close to home for me. As I’ve mentioned before, M and I have yet to discuss how far we’re willing to go to have a baby. So far, we’ve tried ovulation stimulation drugs, trigger shots, and hormone supplementation… things that don’t take much effort and are relatively inexpensive. On the hierarchy of fertility treatments, we’re still pretty low. We still have injections, IUI, and IVF to consider, as well as adoption. But what if we try all those things and none of them work? What if we can’t (financially or emotionally) afford to pursue all of those options? Most infertiles don’t like to think about it, but there is always a chance the journey could end without a child. It’s important to prepare for that possibility.
So, if we have all these options available, why am I even thinking about giving up? First of all, stopping treatments and choosing not to pursue adoption are not the same as “giving up” in my book. We all have our limits; identifying and respecting those limits is the responsible and healthy thing to do. No matter how far we decide to go in our journey to become parents, it’s important for me to come to terms with the fact that I may never be a mother. I will always have children in my life–nieces, nephews, the children of cousins and friends–but it will never be the same as having my own. For my sanity, for the health of my marriage, I need to accept that this journey may end with us never having children. We have to figure out what we want our life together to look like, if that life isn’t going to include children as we had originally planned. Even though there are in theory plenty of routes for us to try, the reality is that not all of them will be suitable. Nothing is completely off the table at this point, but if I’m being honest with you (and with myself), I have to admit that I don’t think we’re cut out for IVF or adoption. So, we’re left with a fairly short list of next steps, putting the finish line in view.
I’m not passing judgement on IVF or adoption for anyone other than me and my husband. Those are both wonderful options that are right for many people. And, like I said, they’re both still technically options for us, although probably not very viable ones. I won’t go into the details, but money is definitely one huge concern (we don’t have that much, and we don’t have equity). We also have to decide whether we’re willing to endure further physical and emotional turmoil, and whether we’re willing to commit to a long, extensive adoption process that will have its own unique set of emotional ups and downs.
I am not giving up or stopping treatments, but after yet another failed cycle, I’m determined to make sure that M and I make the best decisions for us. Most importantly, I want us both to be okay with saying It’s time to stop, free of resentment and regrets. In order to do that, I have to accept that I may never have children. It won’t be easy, and I’ll probably resist it, but I owe it to myself, my husband, and my family to do what I can to make sure this journey doesn’t break me or drive away my loved ones.