When we limit ourselves to one type of thinking, one outcome, one option, we are inherently causing more drama in our brains than necessary.
We must bend and stay flexible to weather each storm as it comes. Infertility is just one of many storms in our lives, even though it may be a larger one than most.
This sort of mental trauma includes all varying paths to parenthood or beyond, to those that thought they would end up with biological children, but are now pursuing adoption or donors, those that wanted to become parents but are now considering childfree alternatives, those that thought they would be parents but never thought treatment would be included, from initial diagnosis through years of treatment.
Just like we bent when receiving our diagnosis, to consider things like treatment, supplement, larger finances or more time until we bring home a baby, it’s super important to consider bending to options without children or children that are not biologically ours.
Our heart wants what it wants, and sometimes it requires letting it take the lead and following your gut versus your logical brain, or vise versa, to seek alternatives that could bring joy to your life that you hadn’t considered before.
Perhaps your main goal is to become a mom, no matter what. Leaning into the idea that adoption, surrogacy, or the inclusion of donors could be a welcome option that still brings your dream to life, but allows you to find purpose and fulfillment in the journey as you walk it.
Perhaps you’re like me, and the goal was to lead a bigger, better life, and you THOUGHT that included children. When I started leaning into the discomfort that perhaps my life wasn’t supposed to align with typical societal standards, my mind eased a bit to let in the seemingly scary alternatives without them.
We sway as needed when the doctor calls with news we weren’t expecting, when we need more money, when we are asked to try something new.
We are resilient. We don’t break. We find a better alternative that works for our family, and while the hard times sure are hard, we must not grow roots there. Beating ourselves up because our plan A looks nothing like the plan A in our head only hurts us. We would NEVER talk that way to others, so why are we so hard on ourselves?
I truly believe that if you have ever walked with infertility for any length of time, you begin to have thoughts that include both what life would look like with or without kids. This is especially true if you have been handed nothing but set-backs, incredibly high hurdles and failures along the way. All the doors seem to be locked or stuck, nothing is going your way and you begin to consider throwing in the towel.
I did. That’s for sure.
The alternative, the one without kids, can be daunting. When you have done nothing but dream about how life would be AFTER you won your battle with your reproductive system, the idea that your dream may never be your reality can be jarring, to say the least.
After the initial emotions and shock set in and you realize there may be two very different endings in your journey, it’s imperative to give them both space in your life.
The idea that I could lead a purposeful, beautiful life without kids came all at once and yet, over the course of many, many months. When my final transfer ended in a chemical pregnancy, I knew I was done, yet the follow-through and commitment to this new, weird life, was, at first, hard to commit to. I didn’t know what i was doing and I didn’t know where I was going, much like how I felt when we first started IVF treatments.
I knew I wanted to be happy, to feel fulfilled, and I was slowly learning that those feelings came from within me, not from an external source.
That’s the key.
Your happiness will not magically appear when you have children. You must manifest that within you. Fulfillment and purpose do not come from people and things outside of us, they come from the feelings and thoughts within us.
Life is ever-evolving. We can all agree that we aren’t the same people we were last year, five years ago, or ten years prior, right? Our thoughts and beliefs and actions and reactions to things sharpen and soften depending on the issue.
The same goes with infertility. We all walk through similar issues with denial, anger and acceptance at our own paces. The acceptance part is the hardest because it comes last. Because we, inherently, as people, want to overcome. We want to win. We want to put in the effort and get the equal reward. We want to see our struggle turn to triumph like all the movies tell us it will.
The secret? It does. It totally does, my friends. Even if it’s not identical to the movies.
It will never be identical because it’s YOUR LIFE and no one else’s.
The biggest take away I am learning in my 30’s is that; the effort I put in is good. The outcome falls where it may and I learn as much as I can during the journey. If I believe the outcome wasn’t how I’d hoped, then my beliefs were too limited for all the good along the way.
Keep working towards acceptance, friends.