March 25, 2008


LauraB asks a pertinent question in the comments section:

So for those people who cannot/have not/may never conceive - isn't there a point at which you just have to surrender to it and live your lives together even if it is childless?

I have thought a lot about this too over the past year.

Look, I am an obsessive type person. I think that if you're going to do something, you do it wholeheartedly. So when we weren't quite ready for children, we were actively preventing the possibility. Every single time, no exceptions, for many years. So when we decided it was time for a family, it just wasn't in our nature to take the whatever-happens-happens approach. I am an all-or-nothing gal; I immediately started maximizing chances for baby to happen. I read books, websites, sought tips, everything. I began charting immediately. It was the exact opposite of the diligence with which we had previously prevented pregnancy.

My ultimate fear isn't necessarily that we might not be able to have kids. It's that I might not be able to "switch off" this diligence. We are trying to have a baby; at what point do we give up? When do you give up hope? Because, really, it's the hope that kills you. It's the hope, every month, that you might've gotten what you wanted.

If a doctor told me tomorrow that I would never have kids, that there was no chance of it happening, I could mourn and then move on. And I would recover and go on to lead a happy and normal life. Because I wouldn't be trying anymore.

And I was never one of those women who loves babies or wanted to be a kindergarten teacher her whole life. This may sound terrible, but there's a part of me that's ready to throw in the towel because the more elusive it gets, the less important it feels. The less emotional it feels. I think human beings ought to procreate, and I think that people with stable, loving homes like ours are a good place for kids. (And Mark Steyn makes me think I need to have ten of them, to shore up our numbers.) I was always fairly matter-of-fact about having a baby anyway, and this year of over-thinking it hasn't helped any. My husband re-convinces me every day to keep trying, because I'd love to abandon hope and forget about it.

It's the trying, the hope, that's beating me down.

Posted by: Sarah at 03:30 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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1 I think that it wears every couple down after awhile. The hope really is the worst thing--especially when you get no answers from tests and the like. Because they just feed into that 'maybe next time everything will be fine' thing. As hard as it was for me to be "wasting cycles" (or whatever you want to call it) while my husband was deployed, it did serve as a good mental and emotional break for me. There was no pressure, no hope, no possibility of failure, no nothing. Just a chance to recharge myself and the ability to think about why it was important to me and if it was still worth putting myself through it again when he got home. While your husband is deployed, you get to take that same kind of time and switch it off a bit. See how it feels. By the time he gets back, you may have your answer.

Posted by: Ann M. at March 25, 2008 04:03 AM (HFUBt)

2 Ann M, I totally get that. The first thing I felt when he said he was deploying was the weight lifted, freeing me from the albatross of procreation. It was a relief. Of course, a day later they told me we could bank sperm and keep trying while he's gone, so the weight was right back on

Posted by: Sarah at March 25, 2008 04:08 AM (TWet1)

3 I have to echo Laura, I pretty much always knew I wasn't going to have kids. So I never watched the clock. It was never about wanting or not wanting them. It was about being able to be a parent with the right person. I can't stress how important that was. While there are times I have been sad about it, I've never been miserable because I know it won't happen. I think it becomes this huge merry go round of pressure and disappointment, month after month after month. And when people tell you to relax they aren't necessarily just trying to be nice. Check out the studies on relaxation and fertility. Think about what stress biochemicals do to your body. I know a few people who took a break from worrying about it for a few months and went back to it with a better mindset.

Posted by: Mare at March 25, 2008 05:50 AM (EI19G)

4 I think that it's important to "try it on for size" so to speak. About midway through the 4 years we spent trying to have our daughter we took a break. Stepped off that merciless hope rollercoaster. It was incredibly therapeutic to envision the future without any kids at all, and to see how I really felt about that. It took about 10 months, and then I was ready to get back on again. We are going through something similar now with secondary infertility, trying to envision our family as complete. Hang in there.

Posted by: dutchgirl at March 25, 2008 08:41 AM (i1RnJ)

5 We haven't been trying nearly as long as you guys. And I couldn't handle the pressure after a few months. You're a stronger, more masochistic person than I. :p To echo dutchgirl up above me, my husband and I were just talking the other day about how much we like having the other one to ourselves. I mean, that's why we came together in the first place; we love one another. Whether we have kids or not, there is a future for us. More importantly, there is the present. Anyway, until we have kids I need - for my own sanity and for our relationship - to enjoy our alone time.

Posted by: Spants at March 25, 2008 09:06 AM (9r4Kb)

6 I know/have known many couples in your circumstance and a good handful who have opted to never have children. I cannot imagine that option, but it is there and it is their choice. On the other hand I am so happy to have little pieces of my loved one show up in our children. It really is the future and it also shows us the past. I look at them and wonder when did that trait first appear, how did that ancestor actually look. Ok, so I am a genealogist but that's one of the pluses you are longing for. And I'm truly sorry if that hurts you for me to say it. I have every hope and expectation that some day you will have your baby.

Posted by: Ruth H at March 25, 2008 09:28 AM (w9ltj)

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