I've gone to a couple of infertility support groups now and, well, it's actually gone a lot better than I was thinking it would. For some reason after all the IF blogs I've read and all the IF forums I've lurked on I was worried I'd get into sort of a forum-made-real-life, a room full of angry, angsting, ready to choke someone women.
And instead I've found very sweet, honest, open, and supportive women, and partners even.
It's not at all what I was expecting, and I have to say that I'm beyond pleasantly surprised. No one spewing hatred for the pregnant women on the street? No drama or arguments over correct terminology or courses of action? Just a group of people laughing, sharing, learning, and openly offering support to all those around them even if they don't know their names? Dude, it's not at all like the forums! It's like, well, like a support group. And since I've never actually been to a support group that I can recall I suppose it really is a totally new experience for me.
And it has me thinking a bit more, about us, our family, our journey, our infertility, our options, our future, etc. Hearing people be so blunt, so honest, about their thoughts and their journeys makes me realize I should be more honest to myself.
I think I've learned something about myself this week...
I think I'm in denial.
Heck, I think N and I both are.
And, well, I think we're sort of using adoption as a buffer... which sounds horrible.
Okay, hear (read?) me out:
We've always, ALWAYS, planned on adopting. Always. This was just as much a part of the plan as conceiving and giving birth, and while we tried to conceive first that had nothing to do with a preference for a biological child over a child through adoption, and everything to do with a "proper order" of things and an ease into parenthood. One costs a lot of money, takes a ton of paperwork, meetings, and checks, and brings in issues of attachment, social isolation from other new parents, and the need to seek out additional information constantly in order to correctly help your child grow, adjust, and develop a positive identity. The other requires that you make love to your spouse, as you typically do anyway, and then you most likely become pregnant, most likely carry to term, most likely deliver a healthy child, and most likely learn to parent in the same way that 99% of the population already has, with constant support and examples all around you. Which would you prefer to start out with if you had a choice for first time parenting?
Thing is, infertility threw a wrench into that decision making process for us, so it became two choices, both costing a lot, both invasive in different, and yet still uncomfortable, ways, both involving changing schedules and routines just to get started in hopes of something happening, both with the possibility of stretching on into infinity with ups and downs and failure as a distinct possibility. It's just that we'd always planned to adopt. We hadn't always planned, nor even considered, semenalysis and Lovenox and intra uterine inseminations and all that.
So we adopted a child, because we truly could not wrap our minds around fertility treatments and we figured it just, well, made sense. We were 21 and 23, we would have time to conceive, and hopefully we could take on this daunting process with a child or two at home.
We adopted P, and then we HAD to adopt A. We needed to give P a sibling who looked like him, who was also not biologically related. P is so sensitive to things... if he were the only non-blood related person in our family, and the only dark skinned person, this could profoundly affect him. It just made sense, and it worked so wonderfully for us. I could not ask for a better pair of children, they are truly my sons and so, so wonderful.
So this leads to now....
We've been wishy washy with what to do for #3, or even if there should be a #3. We have two healthy little boys who are smart and happy and growing so wonderfully. We're all sleeping through the night, usually, and each day brings us closer to things like potty training and increased independence. We can travel, we can go on dates and stay out late, we can be young and fun and enjoy ourselves. Do we really need to add another child?
And there's adoption. If we do want another, why not adopt again? There are so many potential options there, and wait times don't seem so bad when you have two little ones already.
There's embryo adoption. We could just adopt an embryo. Really, this does sound appealing.
And we could even just leave it to see what happens each month....
But then I start to think about it and... I'm not pulled as much to private adoption right now, and Nik isn't pulled at all. Foster to adoption we can see, sure, but private adoption just isn't calling to us.
And we did always want children both through birth and adoption, and now WOULD be the perfect time to try.
But, see, if we TRY to conceive and we're doing foster care, like actively try with meds and stuff, then we really do stand a high chance of becoming pregnant and if that happens then we might not be able to continue fostering or adopt our foster children.... so we shouldn't do it....
Or we should be happy where we are, so we shouldn't do it....
Or it would be unfair to our two children to actually TRY so hard to have a biological child, so we shouldn't do it....
Or having a biological child at all, who could be treated as "more than" by family, it could hurt our children so we shouldn't do it....
Or we'd become a cliche, a story that cousins and friends of friends pass on to others when they don't know the whole story, so we shouldn't do it...
Or I could just stop this, stop hiding behind adoption as an excuse, and be perfectly and totally and somewhat sorrowfully honest for a minute.
I hate being infertile.
I hate being incapable of conceiving a child with my husband in the same way that most others conceive children daily.
I hate that I have to look up clinic reviews and medication costs.
I hate that I have to choose between Disney or IVF.
I hate that I'm expected to chart my temperature every morning, and I hate that I can't bring myself to do it anymore.
I hate that I get bad conception advice from people I know and love, and I hate that I can't just be honest with them that I want them to stop as I don't want to offend them even when they inadvertently offend me.
I hate that I will never truly feel 100% included in a group of mothers, that I will always stand out at some point when the conversation shifts.
I hate the fear that I could end up with a biological child and suddenly my children will stand out even more and be excluded because of a younger sibling.
I hate the fact that I can't bring myself to call and make an appointment.
I hate the thought of giving myself meds every day, meds that might morph and destroy my body with no results to show for it.
I hate that every month I calculate my potential due date, and every month I cry a little when my period comes and I realize that another potential due date has passed us by and the child that I had begun to believe in and love never existed at all.
I hate that I sometimes feel bitter and excluded when I read about water births, belly bands, preggie pops, and prenatal yoga.
I hate the thought that I'll need to hire someone to watch my children so I can have blood drawn, take ultrasounds, and go to multiple consults and appointments with quite possibly nothing to show for it but a drained bank account and a bruised body.
I hate that I could go through years of work to become pregnant and lose the child, like so many have, and have to make the choice of whether to start the whole process again or give up after so much work.
I hate reading success stories because they make me feel bad for not even trying.
I hate the thought that if we did become pregnant I'd probably spend the whole nine months worrying nonstop that something dreadful would happen, never having that peaceful and serene pregnancy I'd always dreamed about anyway.
I hate that fertility treatments can lead to necessary inductions and c-sections.
I hate knowing that people think we've "come to terms with our infertility" because of adoption, as if the infertility was cured along with the childlessness.
I hate that we can't commit fully to adoption at this point, but can't commit to no more children or to biological children either, so we've ended up in a "fate will decide" situation by going with foster care, which is one of the most emotionally risky things we could possibly do.
I hate the costs of meds, ultrasounds, and consults, not to mention the big procedures.
I hate the wait times for everything.
I hate having to explain complicated decisions to people when it's so simple, really, to just tell them you're infertile and you adopted.
I hate shots, and blood draws, and doctors I don't know, and new clinics, and sterile air, and white gloves, and random beeping machines.
I hate thinking that I'd be disrupting Nik's work schedule, consistently to the point of threatening his employment, for something that I want more than him.
I hate thinking that Nik would be less involved in this than me.
I hate the thought that ten years from now we might have all our children in school and me working outside the home and the urge for a baby might be so strong and all consuming that we start the journey then, instead of now; I hate the thought that future me might hate present me for not taking the plunge earlier.
I hate thinking that the children will be upset if we try this... upset that we wanted a biological child so badly, and what it means about them... upset that we would spend so much money and time on this when we could be making wonderful memories.
I hate the thought of never carrying a child in my womb, and I think about it every day.
I hate that I'm petrified to do this.
I hate the thought that if we don't do this I'll regret it for the rest of my life.
There's my thoughts for the week in a nutshell...
Lily in a loafing barn
4 days ago