On Becoming Our Infertility

The more I have worked with women dealing with infertility, the more I see women losing themselves and actually becoming their infertility.  We are lost in a pit of tests, procedures, miscarriages, and sorrow.  We have lost sight of any joy and focus in life in favor of thinking about the fact that we have not been able to conceive a child.  I have thought about this concept for quite some time but resisted writing about it because I didn't want to appear insensitive to women who are struggling with infertility. I now realize that we need to get the topic out in the open and support each other in a more positive framework

I spent almost 20 years trying to have a baby and was finally successful at the age of 44.  I understand the anguish, painful tests, negative pregnancy tests, miscarriage, fear and sorrow.  I have felt it all and more.  I gave up my dream of becoming a mom and focused on my career until I decided that I had a final window for a baby and pursued it with a vengeance.  Only after a new OB helped me see the tremendous value in moving forward with an unfailingly positive heart, did it work. 

During that time, I had to face the very real possibility that I would never have my own child.  43 is very late to try again.  Once I asked myself what the worst case scenario was and forced myself to really see it; I realized that the worst case scenario was actually my life.  Which was pretty good.  I was healthy, had a great family, career success, beautiful home, close friends and unlimited opportunities.  A major piece missing was a child and I would leave no stone unturned to have that child.  I left a lucrative career as a corporate executive because I knew the stress of the job was hurting my ability to conceive.  I also knew that I would have no regret on my deathbed with this approach. 

Pursuing a positive approach is a choice.  Before anyone looks at my profile and says, "of course she can be positive.  Look at her situation," I want to point out my realities.  I always thought I would be married to my best friend and have at least 2 children.  Truth is, I am divorced raising a child alone.  I was alone for every procedure, alone when there was no heartbeat, alone when the stick read 'pregnant' and alone for every doctors visit.  I am now 45 years old with an 8 month old and very little day to day help. More realities:  I love my life and am thankful every day.  I focus on the gifts I have been given and believe and visualize that all areas of my life are unfolding in a wonderful joyous scheme that I am honored to be living.  Each day I am thankful for this amazing place called my life.    

When I first formed over35newmoms, I joined several infertility forums in the hopes that I might add value and provide hope and support.  What I found was many distraught women who could find no joy in their lives because they weren't getting pregnant.  The air was thick with defeat, anguish, sorrow and loss.  It isn't healthy as a constant focus (everyone experiences short term anguish and sorrow) and I believe it impedes the path to motherhood.  I stopped visiting those forums in favor of offering a more positive approach. 

I understand the need for grieving and feeling one's loss.  Where I think we miss is in allowing those feelings to become us.  We need to feel, support each other, and then help each other find the positive path.  Many great thinkers have espoused the concept of thinking about what you want to have happen rather than what you don't.  Nowhere does this apply with more gravity than in infertility.  We become so fixated on the complexity of the situation and the tracking and the pain that we sometimes lose sight of the picture of the baby at the end.  Let's work together to support each other and help each other see the good in every day and keep a hold of a positive picture for our lives.  Let's be us, not infertility.   


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