Sunday, August 15, 2010

coming to terms

I've been thinking a lot lately about how quickly it seems that my husband and I have come to terms with living childfree after infertility. We talked a little about it, and it makes more sense to me. I keep reading about people who took years to come to terms with their childfree life, so I was trying to figure out how we came to this point, where we are mostly happy with our lot in life, in a matter of months. We came up with a few reasons why we made the adjustment so quickly.

1. I was married once before, for seven years. My first husband and I had talked about having kids, and we had decided that we would wait five years to start trying since we were so young when we got married. All of our major purchases (house, car. etc) were chosen based on us having kids in the future. When we moved in to our house, we chose the bedroom for the office based on which room would eventually be a kid's room. You get the idea. When the five years were up, he said he wasn't ready yet, so we put it off for another year. When that year was up, he said he wasn't sure if he wanted kids at all anymore. I was devastated, but told him to make up his mind, because then I would have to decide what I wanted to do about his decision. he went back and forth with his decision for months, until finally, ultimately, deciding that he didn't think he'd ever want kids, and if he did, it wouldn't be for like 10 years. Well, since I was 29 at the time, I knew I wouldn't be okay with waiting. We talked about some compromises and what might happen with each: we have a kid anyway because I want one, and he grows to hate/resent both of us, and we still end up divorced; or we don't have a kid because he doesn't want one, and I grow increasingly jealous and bitter, and we end up divorced; or we have a kid and I am the sole caretaker, which we decided wasn't a good life for the child; or we have a kid, and he magically loves it and is happy with the decision; or we divorce somewhat amicably and I can at least try to find someone who wants to have kids with me. We met with a therapist and told her all of these things, and she said we were making very logical decisions in a very emotional time. So we divorced and have stayed in touch with each other ever since. But since I was almost 30 when we divorced, and I knew it would take some time to get over the devastation of having my life not turn out how I thought it would (one marriage, grow old together, have a family, etc), and then time to find someone to fall in love with and marry, I knew my chances of actually finding someone to have babies with while I was at an age that I wanted to do so, were slim.

2. My husband had not had a long-term relationship for a long time (we're talking years and years) before he met me. He told me he had basically given up on the idea of finding someone to marry, which in turn, had him giving up on the idea of having a family. When he met me, and our relationship progressed, he reverted a bit to thinking he could actually have it all: marriage and a family.

3. We talked about how far we wanted to go with treatments once we got the diagnosis of severe male factor infertility. We wanted to try everything that was available to us once, so that we wouldn't one day think "well, what if we had tried IVF?" We wanted to know that we had tried everything. We also talked about our Plan C before going in to IVF, mostly as an emotional safety net, so we had something positive to look forward to in case it didn't work. I started planning our trip to Phoenix two weeks after we found out the numbers weren't doubling.

So with all of that in our backgrounds, I think we were each halfway (or more) to accepting that our lives might not include children when we met each other. So once the having children part of our lives didn't work out, we didn't have much further to travel in order to come to full acceptance. I also think because we didn't really spend that much time going through treatments, that we didn't have as much to get over. I always think it's like Charlotte's (from Sex and the City) philosophy on getting over a failed relationship: it takes half the length of the relationship to be ready to move on. If it lasts four months, you will be ready to move on in two. We were in treatments for about a year, so it should take six months to be ready to move on. And this month is six months from our failed IVF.

I still have bad days where I get sad or jealous or bitter, but those are so far and few between now. I know I wanted kids; I wanted them my whole life. But our Plan C looks pretty good too.


  1. It sounds like you've had gone through A LOT even before going through IVF. And I think you're an incredibly strong person for all you've gone through. You and your Hubby definitely have a wonderful and open relationship ... and that is something that is SO important, especially when going through such difficult things in life.

    As for those bad days ... I think that there will ALWAYS be those times where you'll feel like this. And it's absolutely natural!

  2. Wow - that's quite a story. But it's very nice to hear it because I didn't even get past one round of injectables and an IUI and sometimes I feel guilty for not pushing myself farther. However, our marriage almost ended after 2 miscarriages and I realized pushing myself further might end up in no child, no marriage and no sanity. And that was not what I wanted.

    Also, I really appreciated your comments about Silent Sorority. It is the best book I've read on the emotional side of this journey. I'm about halfway through and it just keeps getting better. I'm glad I found your blog, too. :)

    Lily - The Infertile Mind

  3. Just added you to a blog post roundup in development...will go live later today.