Hope is a Virus

Many people in the infertility community talk about hope as a positive thing. We encourage people to Never give up hope!, to cling to the slightest chance that one may eventually conceive a healthy baby. Personally, I think hope is overrated. 

Hope is a virus. And I’m permanently infected. Every cycle, I try to dismiss hope. No hope, no disappointment, right? But, every cycle, something happens–something slightly different, something new–and it keeps the hope virus alive and well inside me, no matter how hard I try to get rid of it. This time it’s my thick uterine lining. As frustrated as I was about the rocky start to this cycle, it gave my medical team the opportunity to try something different to boost my lining–and it worked. So, even though I have pretty much everything else working against me, I’m hanging on to this little thread of hope of that maybe, just maybe, a nice, cushy uterus was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Last cycle, it was the addition of progesterone to my fertility arsenal.

The cycle before that, a higher dose of Femara and awesome response.

Before that was my first Femara and trigger cycle.

Before that, the diagnosis and removal of Stage IV endometriosis.

I could go on for a year’s worth of cycles, but I think you see my point: Every cycle presents a new glimmer of hope in the form of a new treatment or improved response. I’m happy that there have been improvements along the way, but it makes it all the more difficult to remain emotionally neutral.

You could argue that, hope or no hope, disappointment will find me. And you’d be right. But it’s more than just avoiding disappointment. When a cycle fails, I feel a little ashamed that I allowed myself to indulge in hope. What made me think this cycle would work? What makes me think any of these cycles will work? What is keeping me from accepting the fact that getting pregnant just isn’t in the cards for me?

Aha! There you have it. What really bothers me about this unrelenting hope is that it’s somehow preventing me from coming to terms with the inevitable. Or maybe my inability to come to terms is feeding my hope?

Sheesh. This emotional stuff just keeps getting more and more complicated.


21 thoughts on “Hope is a Virus

  1. This is a beautiful post! Thank you! I also think hope is overrated. And I hate being told stuff like IVF didn’t work because I didn’t believe enough it would, or that I need to have hope for it to work.

    • As if we don’t already feel bad enough about our broken bodies. I will admit, I sometimes feel guilty that I don’t want hope, that I don’t want to feel optimistic, that somehow that WILL prevent me from getting pregnant. It’s irrational, I know.

  2. I can so so relate to every word of this. I too hate the Power Of Positive Thinking takeover of our lady parts and our brains and our hearts, because it feels like just one more area where we can feel *we’ve failed*. I blame those stupid ‘inspirational’ Nike-inspired motto posters that cropped up everywhere about a decade ago. Ha…It makes me really angry when I hear ‘I believe you’ll get your baby finally’, because a part of me always needs to be ok with the possibility that I won’t. At the same time, for myself, I stupidly hope a little each cycle too, and yes, shame is the right description for the fallout of that. Such a mindf*$k. Sorry for the long and rambling comment…
    I still hope for you, for me and for all of us.

  3. Man, I totally identify. I think that hope must somehow be biologically hardwired into our brains, because no matter how much I try and convince myself not to hope, I can’t help it.

    I have a theory… If I think about it from a purely biological standpoint, procreation is one of our strongest impulses. So even though our bodies are broken, we are wired to keep trying to produce babies, because that is what living things are programmed to do. If we truly stopped hoping, we might stop trying. And our reptilian brains don’t want to let us stop trying. So, if my theory’s correct, I try to let myself off the hook a little bit, because it’s nearly impossible to fight such a deeply engrained biological impulse. And, hopefully (ha), one day all the hoping and the resulting disappointment we’re experiencing now will be worth it. And if not, well, we just couldn’t help it.

  4. I’m struggling with this right now. I’ve never been as optimistic as, say, my husband, that any of this will work, but his hope keeps infecting me. And yet, we’re about to take the final step toward the best shot we’ve ever had. How can I not be hopeful?

  5. My theory: Hope is like a significant other that emotionally abuses us. And we keep going back for more! Too dark? Maybe. But I still maintain that Hope is an asshole.

    Also, I want to punch those people that say “it’ll happen, I know it!” REALLY?! How do you know that? Where did you get your medical degree? Those people are assholes, too.

  6. I totally get this. When we were TTC, I always thought, ‘Dammit if I could just stop hoping, this crap wouldn’t hurt so bad’. Little did I know. We aren’t TTC anymore and in fact I’m back on the pill because I figured why should my hormones be stupid for no damn reason. And this is how tenacious hope is…I still hope I get pregnant…on the pill! Ha! Stupid hope. Best Wishes.

  7. Great post!! I totally know where you are coming from. I too have a debate in my head EVERY month – I start out each month with no hope, then by the end of the 2ww (as the hope creeps in) I am convinced that this is our month (it never is though). But I guess it’s the hope that keeps us trying… otherwise we’d all give up wouldn’t we?

    • I don’t know. In my case, I think logic is what keeps me going. The treatments we’re doing have a good success rate, and now that we’ve decided to try IUI, then IVF, it’s very likely that I’ll be pregnant before the end of the year. Maybe that’s just a less emotional type of hope. Maybe that’s why I prefer it.

    • Thanks! I look forward to reading your blog. This is such a great way to get support and just knowing I’m not alone in what I’m thinking and feeling has helped tremendously.

  8. Pingback: Infertility: Joy Killer | Yet Another Bitter Infertile

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