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.