"There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage."
--Martin Luther

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Long weekend musings on summer and infertility and grief

It's that time of year now when the temperature drops in the evening, kids go back to school, and even though the leaves are still green, we know it's only a short time before the autumn will be back in force. It feels like every day, someone else wants to talk about how the summer has just flown by, and where did those months go? To be honest, I'm finding this difficult. My summer has not flown by. My summer has been painful and grief-filled. I struggle with the balance between being authentic and not wanting to alienate people with my grief.

I haven't updated in a while about our infertility journey, so here goes: In the spring, we decided to head back to the clinic to try again. The timing made sense as I was finishing school, but did not have a job lined up, so my schedule was free enough to allow for the myriad of appointments without being too draining. This new procedure required me to give myself daily injections for the first 10-12 days of my cycle, which was pretty daunting, but I quickly got used to it. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that we tried this for several cycles, and it was unsuccessful.

Gil and I now find ourselves in a quandary. There are other possible options, if we want to be more aggressive. People tell us we have to try everything, that it will certainly work one time. On the other hand, the reality is that isn't true. There are many people who try everything and still end up childless. Success rates for IVF and surrogacy and all that stuff are actually not nearly as high as people think. Moreover, I am losing so much of myself due to depression related to infertility. I miss the person I was. I don't want to live through three more years of constantly oscillating between optimism and grief. When I went in for my last blood test towards the end of July, I had this sense that I was done with the clinic, that I just really did not want to go back. But the other option, the one that says we will never hold our child in our arms, is almost unthinkable.

So now we grieve. I grieve the life I imagined, the exhausting days of looking after little ones, the hectic years of school-aged children, the lonely days of seeing teenagers fly the nest, the moments when I would see my husband or my grandmother in the fact of my own child. I don't know how to imagine a life without children. I don't compute how I will never be a grandmother.

We grieve alone. People do not understand this or even recognize it as grief. They want to tell us how we can have such a great life without children, as though it's easy to just change course. As though it's not the greatest tragedy of my life to lose the future that I imagined since I was a young child. So I have to smile a few dozen times and say, "Yes, summer is over. It's gone so fast," when really, it was slow and painful and sad. There were no bike rides with kids, no water parks or camp outs or walks to the park. My cat died. My dreams died. Yes, there were fun moments, like when I graduated and a brief trip to Spain in June, but mostly, 2016 has been a summer of grief.

Do I believe God is good throughout this journey? Yes. Somehow I do. Somehow, I trust that He can redeem these awful years, that He can put beauty into our darkest moments. I fight with Him daily. I ask Him why. I ask Him where the Church was, how it could be that His people were not there in the moments when I was begging Him to let me die instead of giving me this childless future. He does not answer, but He tells me to trust, so I have faith that one beautiful day, the pain will make sense and the tears will be wiped away. Until then, we grieve.


  1. That was beautiful and sad. I am so sorry for your loss. I know exactly what you mean. When I see our house and imagine that there will never be little feet pattering through the nursery, never be excited eyes lighting up at the sight of a Christmas tree, never be doors slammed in a fit of pubescent anger, it feels almost like the house is haunted by this person/these persons that never actually came to live here.

    We have not given up yet. We are going to try at least three rounds of IVF (which our insurance will pay for - we're so lucky). But I know very well, that there is a big chance that we will still be childless at the end of it and it is a pain too great for words.

    Again, I am so, so sorry!

  2. Maggie I've followed your journey on nameberry and have never spoken up bc my infertility is of the secondary kind and it is different and I don't want to pretend that I know your pain. But your faith is inspiring and I want you to know that I am glad that God has you here and that you are sharing this story. Even though it's so sad. I pray now that you find a way through this grief. That joy comes in the morning. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  3. I have to admit to being a lurker on the TTC 6 months+ board at Nameberry - first because I was in that situation myself but it hurt too much to discuss it, and now because I hope everyone can get their happy ending, but don't want to be the person that pops in and breezily says "hang in there it will definitely happen, it happened to me!".

    Because even though it did happen for us (after three years and three rounds of IVF) I remember what it felt like to think it possibly wouldn't. Trying to come to terms with the possibility it might not happen for us. It's a special kind of anguish that can't be understood by anyone who hasn't had to face it. I applaud your bravery in being able to discuss it so openly, and I'm so sorry that you have to go through it.