National Infertility Awareness Week is drawing to a close. Yesterday a fellow blogger on Twitter posed a very interesting question (and I am paraphrasing) asking how many of us with infertility who have kids (regardless of how) feel like they beat infertility?
My immediate response (in my head) was ME! YEAH! TAKE THAT INFERTILITY! (admittedly my head response also contained profanity) And then I put down my boxing gloves and thought about it for a minute. The truth is, the answer to that question is not at all cut and dry.
Personally I’ve felt that 1-2 children would be enough to make our family feel complete, and so when our successful IVF turned into a twin pregnancy part of me was VERY relieved that there was a decent possibility that we wouldn’t have to fight this battle again. For most people, though, a child doesn’t signify the end of the struggle. Often, an attempt for a second child, something that is still very easy for most, starts the whole process of emotions and frustration all over again. Whatever the method, it brings up all of the questions you thought the first time: how long is this going to take? How many cycles? How much money? How much heartache? Will it work at all? Can we afford adoption again? Can we afford surrogacy again? Can we afford more donor eggs?
Then my thoughts jump to the place where we all started: those who are still childless and still struggling through round one. The ones that read a blog like this and think to themselves be thankful you have even one child. I know this because I thought it not too terribly long ago. Not because I didn’t get that the struggle continued but because I would have given anything to have even one. Happy for them but still sad for me. Even those who have completed their families or have made their decision to stop treatments and remain child free after months or years of heartbreak- they are often left with unwanted reminders in the form of continued irregular cycles thanks to PCOS ovaries or no ovulation at all, pain from endo, or whatever dysfunction of the system that caused the issue in the first place. Without all of that, there are always memories. And Mother’s Days.
Doesn’t make infertility sound very beat-able.
Childhood was a bit awkward for me. I had big poofy hair and until high school when I joined band didn’t really have a group I fit into. I was teased through all of elementary school, some of middle school and even a little into high school because wasn’t I lucky getting a locker next to one of the kids who had teased me all through elementary school. Bullying is not something I have or ever will take lightly. I struggled with body image, disordered eating and depression in college. I’m not saying I blame these kids for that as I was also generally just a very sensitive kid and person. The point is that I pushed through it. I survived. I am living a life that I am proud of. It took awhile, but in the end I didn’t let the bully beat me.
One of the things I admire and respect the most about my fellow infertility sufferers is their strength, their determination, their resilience and refusal to give up. They struggle, their relationships struggle and their finances struggle and regardless of where the path leads them: to a child or a decision to remain childless, they continue to stand strong. They find a way to not only survive, but live.
In the end, do I feel like I have beaten infertility? Do I feel like most of us would feel like we’ve beaten infertility? No.
But we won’t let it beat us.
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