Friday, February 18, 2011

Why Do You Put Yourself Through All of This?

Today I was crying on the phone to a friend.  I told her about my breakdown yesterday and about how crazy I feel, waiting to get started on our egg donor cycle, knowing that there is a chance that the cycle will fail.  She said “Why do you put yourself through all of this?”  And with that, I had to get off the phone.  I’ve been asked that question more times than I can count over the last couple of years.  Sometimes by well-meaning women who dealt with infertility many years ago, but didn’t have the technology available to them that we now have available to us.  Sometimes by family members who have no idea what it is like to deal with infertility (I have 42 cousins…fertility is not generally a problem in my family).  And sometimes by my own fertility friends who have changed the direction of their journeys toward adoption or child-free living.  Each time, no matter who is asking the question, I get upset.

How do you explain why you put yourself through the emotional ups and downs of infertility?  How do you explain why you would choose to spend thousands of dollars and give yourself countless injections of medications that make you crazy for a chance of getting pregnant?  How do you explain that you are choosing to give up a genetic link with your child in order to have a chance of having a child at all?  I can’t think of any explanation that adequately addresses the dreaded question “Why do you put yourself through all of this?”  Maybe I dread this question because the question itself implies that there is or should be a choice involved, and, for me, for now, there just isn't.  I have to keep trying.  I can't help it.

For me, the thought of not having a child is much like one of the saddest quotes I’ve ever read from a fairy tale. 

“The little mermaid knew this was the last evening she should ever see the prince, for whom she had forsaken her kindred and her home; she had given up her beautiful voice, and suffered unheard-of pain daily for him, while he knew nothing of it.  This was the last evening that she would breathe the same air with him....An eternal night, without a thought or a dream, awaited her.”  

                                                ~Hans Christian Andersen, “The Little Mermaid” (1836)

Giving up on having a child would feel like that….entering an eternal night, without a thought or a dream awaiting me.  I’ve alienated friends and family who disagree with my choices regarding ART, spent lots of money on ART, lost little pieces of the person I used to be throughout the last couple of years, and endured an untold amount of physical and emotional pain because I yearn for a child of my own, just as the little mermaid yearned to be with her prince.  The very idea of giving up on my dream now, of walking away after everything I've put into this endeavor, is more unspeakable than anything I might endure in the pursuit of motherhood.  

Not everyone feels the way I do, and I respect that.  In fact, I have numerous friends who have chosen child-free living post-infertility and they ALL say they wish they had made the decision a long time ago.  They’ve found happiness.  I applaud them.  Maybe one day, I will end up being one of them.  But for now, I want to hold on to my dream.  I am not ready for it to be over.  The thought of giving up my dream takes the breath from me, and I guess that is “why I put myself through all of this.”  Because I must.


New Year Mum said...

Good on you for holding onto your dream... your determination and the love you already have for your future child will see you through. Thinking of you heading into your donor cycle - must be frustrating to not get the clear answers that you want and be waiting for others to get organised... as if this journey isn't out of our control enough ! Thank you for your kind words on my blog - I've started to find more peace while finally truly opening up about this nightmare. Love always xoxo

cgd said...

I totally get this, great pot. I would have been upset by that question too. Do people think you like putting yourself through all of this??? I realize that there sort of are choices but at the same time there really aren't. If child free is not an option for you (no offense to those for whom it is, I just can't get my own head there for me) you have to keep going somehow, whether that is ivf, donor egg, or adoption-all are hard roads.
Wishing you so much luck with this cycle. Rooting for you every step of the way...

China Doll said...

I totally agree.. "I am not ready for it to be over. The thought of giving up my dream takes the breath from me". Sometimes there just aren't any options - you do what you have to do.
Thinking of you going into your donor cycle xx

My New Normal said...

You don't owe anyone an explanation. It's your choice and if other people don't like it then that's just too bad for them. I found you through the blog hop and am your newest follower.

rebecca said...

Completely agree...came across your blog through the blog hop! Excellent post. I have found through our struggles with infertility that every journey is so different. I'm always amazed at how differently couples respond to infertility, the decisions made for every family are so unique. I hope that you are able to live your dream realized soon.
I had to laugh while reading your about me section...I too am the fertility clinic patient that everyone knows by name!

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

You are a very strong person. I hope you know that ;) I'll keep you in my prayers