My therapist says I need to write about this, so here I am. How in the hell do I come to terms with our family-building journey ending before our family is complete?
I’m so very grateful that I have my daughter. I know many people come to this point in the journey with no children, and I can only imagine how heartbreaking that must be. (And I can imagine it, because I have imagined it, many many times over the years.)
But raising an only child wasn’t the plan. It’s nothing to do with negative feelings about only children. I’m well aware that only children aren’t any more or less well-adjusted, social, intelligent, or normal (for lack of a better word) than their peers with siblings. I know kids don’t need live-in playmates to have healthy relationships. I’m not worried that my daughter will be left all alone to raise aging parents, because she has a large and close extended family that can and will jump in whenever needed. It’s just that, long ago, before we ever started trying to get pregnant, our vision was for 2-3 kids. I can’t say exactly why, except that neither of us knew any different. We both had siblings growing up, and were surrounded by families made up of at least 2 kids. Maybe that’s not a great reason, but it is what it is.
I guess you could say that we do/did have two children, but now one is gone. Either way, the overwhelming feeling that I’ve been having is that our family is not yet complete, and never will be. I hate that this is my reality. I hate that it wasn’t my choice, at least not entirely. I accept that we made the choice not to do IVF again, nor to adopt. I’m confident that it was the right choice for us not to pursue either of those options, considering the financial and emotional ramifications. I suppose it all comes down to being angry at my infertility.
If it weren’t for infertility, we would likely have our little family already. If it weren’t for infertility, even after a devastating 20 week loss, we might have the conviction to try again and a reasonable expectation that we would get pregnant again.
Changing my vision of our family will be difficult, but it’s a necessary step. But, to be honest, I’m not sure it’s a step I can take right now. I’m still holding out hope that we might have a much-coveted surprise pregnancy one of these days. I feel like an idiot admitting this, but I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Why can’t that be me? It could be me, right?
So, it looks like I’m just not ready to let go yet. That still leaves me struggling on a daily basis. But at least now I know that the struggle is really against infertility, and not necessarily the end of our family-building journey, because we’re still on that journey, even if I can see the end of it coming. Am I just delaying the inevitable? Am I in denial?