7 years later: infertility’s burden

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My 30th birthday was the worst I can remember.  We had been trying to start a family for just over 2 years with no success.  30 was a milestone, and I was nowhere near where I expected to be.  It was quite a shock, because success was never something I’d struggled with.

At 34, I’m just half a year away from the dreaded 35.  The age where fertility starts to be a medical issue, even for those not suffering from infertility.  I am petrified.  We are no closer to having a family.  Crossing that boundary – one that most people probably don’t blink over – is a day I will not be celebrating.  Instead I will be locking myself inside, pretending it isn’t happening, and then moving on the next day like nothing changed.  But something will have changed.  Making a big deal out of 35 would leave me crying through my own party.  I can think of few things as miserable as that.

Does that mean it’s time to give up?  I’m not sure.  I don’t think I’m ready for that.  I don’t think we’re ready for that.  In the IF (infertility) world, it’s so important to remember that this is a partnership.  But I also wonder if we’re starting to move past the point where it’s reasonable to have a family anymore anyway.  I know people have families older.  But with DC out of the question with the exchange rate where it’s at (not to mention the fact we haven’t saved enough anyway), I feel like it’s still worlds away. I’ll be 36 before we can afford to go to DC, which means 37 or 38 (minimum) before we are finally successful.  If we’re ever successful.

Did you know that having a baby at 38 means you’ll be 56 when they graduate?  56!  I was in my mid twenties when my parents were that age.

All of my friends are years and years ahead in the family world.  In fact, I have such a small group of friends left that I can count them on one hand.  Mainly because we are just different now.  My old friends have families.  I do not.  With nothing left in common, and very different priorities, there isn’t much to keep a friendship going.  I don’t blame them; I don’t blame me.  Things just change.  People change.

At 40, most people are handing over car keys to their 16 year old for the first time.  I would have a 2 year old…?  What the fuck (pardon my french) is a 40 year old supposed to do with a 2 year old?  That’s closer to grandparent age than parent.

When we got pregnant on our own, it was so amazing.  I can’t even describe the elation.  When we lost the pregnancy, it was the darkest place I’ve ever been.  Does going through more treatment put us back there?  At risk for more heart wrenching pain?

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We recently did another IUI, just because we could, without success.  We knew that’s what would happen, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t holding on to secret hope.  But I feel like it wasn’t even true hope.  I had this weird irrational glimmer of hope, but even I didn’t believe it.  You know like when you’re 10 and know deep down Santa isn’t real.  But it’s too sad and it hurts to think that the magic isn’t real.  It’s a little like that, multiplied by a lot.

Sometimes I wonder if holding out for DC is holding us back from just deciding what our life is going to look like.  I mean seriously, are we actually ever going to DC?  We sit here, saying things like “when we have a family” or “our kid would get this or that”.  I don’t even know if either of us believe it anymore.  Maybe we are just destined to have dogs instead of kids.  Or kid.  Because let’s be honest, at that price we can hardly afford 1.  Are we just fooling ourselves because admitting it will never happen hurts too much?

I love my dogs dearly.  They melt my heart.  But they don’t replace a child.

We have a beautiful home.  An incredible relationship.  I am truly lucky.  But I can’t help but wonder if it’s getting to be time that we accept our life how it is, and move on.  I don’t want to.  I feel incomplete.  But I don’t want to live in a false reality either, and some days I feel like that’s what we’re doing.  Pretending we’ll get “there” (to having a family), but knowing we just don’t want to deal with the emotions that go with accepting life as it is today.

Infertility is so painful.  It robs you of the life you wanted, and takes away your control, leaving you lost and helpless.  We’ve been chasing this dream for 7 years and all that has happened is heartbreak.  I want OUR happily ever after, in the form of a mini-person.  I think after all this time we’ve earned it.

People rarely blog about this stuff until they finally get pregnant.  Finally adopt (and if I hear one more person say “just adopt” I’ll punch them).  Finally have a family.  Then they talk about the pain of going through it and how happy they are to have survived.  For some of us, there is always something missing.  Never a complete life.  Always a cloud of unhappiness hovering over your head.  Always something that could have been.

Maybe I’m so down and out because it’s been so long since we actually made progress.  We aren’t doing treatment, we don’t have any appointments.  We don’t track cycles.  We don’t because none of those things work anyway.  So right now, it seems like something that will never actually happen.  We’re in limbo, but there’s no way out.  It’s a very strange place to be.  I don’t want to live childless (the acceptable IF term for people without kids).  I do not choose it.

How do I know if this is where we’ll be stuck for the rest of our lives?

How do I know if childlessness has already chosen me?

The crap that goes through my head isn’t always rational.  I know I want a family.  But every time I think about how old I am, I feel like it’s too late.  Past my best before date.  Not suited for parenthood, only destined to be an aunt.

I don’t know if I have the strength to keep wishing for it anymore.  So I blog to get the unhappy thoughts out of my head and make way for hope.

I’m not sure it’s in the cards, and for that, my heart is always broken.  I sit here bawling, tears dripping on my keyboard.  Trying to muffle my cries so my husband doesn’t worry.  Wishing I didn’t feel so helpless.  Wishing I could finally be a mom.

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4 thoughts on “7 years later: infertility’s burden

  1. Not all 40 year olds consider themselves “grandparent” age. I know you’re feeling scared but just know there are a lot of us in our late 30s and early 40s who both want and are trying to start families and don’t wonder what the fuck they’d do with a 2 year old.

    1. I definitely understand that. And I certainly don’t always feel this way. Some days are just really hard. I do feel sometimes though that the time has passed. Not simply for age-reasons, but for the place we’ve had to move in our life (ie moving on for all these years while we’ve been waiting). And I had that discussion with my husband last night, who reminded me it’s only a barrier if I think it’s one.

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