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Back Off My Ovaries

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

Note: This article originally appeared on mom.me on January 27, 2015. Read the original article here.

If I had to pick what the two most difficult aspects of infertility are, I would tell you that: A) it’s one of the most emotionally challenging things to ever go through, and B) it’s fucking expensive. Like, really expensive. And when you take emotions and add money into it, you can start to see how someone could quickly spiral into an enormous amount of debt. Because there’s always that chance. Maybe next time it will work. We have a whole new treatment plan, so let’s try it one more time.

When we first started trying way early on, a lot of people told us we were young, that we still had time. We were told to relax, that it will happen in God’s time. I’d grit my teeth and put on a smile—trying, trying to remember that they were just trying to be supportive. Now, in the last few years of treatments, those comments don’t come anymore. I don’t know whether to be happy that they’ve stopped, or depressed that now I am no longer considered “young,” and that all the relaxing in the world has not yet gotten me pregnant. Now, the comments of, “Have you ever thought about adoption?” are coming up more and more. I get it, so far, it hasn’t been very successful. But hearing that makes me wonder, are people trying to tell me to give it up? To move on?

A few weeks ago I received a comment on a post I wrote explaining the numbing fear I have about not being able to have a child. I was told that I was selfish for continuing treatments when there are so many children out there, and my money could have been better spent on adoption. My thoughts on those comments were: My dear, you are entirely missing the point of that whole article.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. Infertility is emotionally draining. And it’s expensive. Am I selfish for spending thousands of dollars on treatments for a child I am not sure I will ever bring into this world? I don’t know. What I do know is, like everything else in infertility, no one really knows what they would do in a situation until they are in it. There are those who get a diagnosis of infertility and go on to adopt lots of children. And that’s wonderful. Sometimes I wish I could do that. But right now, I can’t. Because I am fighting for these last one or two cycles for a child I can carry inside me. Christ, I already know I won’t have my own biological children. But my husband can. I want to see my husband’s features in our child. I want to experience pregnancy, morning sickness, feeling the kicks, the screeching pain of childbirth. And I am not going to apologize for that.

Is adoption completely out of the cards for us? Never say never, right? I’m almost 30. Who knows if down the road, when we replenish our bank account, if we won’t attempt the adoption process in a few years? But right now, we are not going down that road. We are continuing to pursue donor eggs, and have the faith that it could work with our new treatment plan. Because that’s all I have. I just wish that some people would understand that this is an incredibly hard enough process to go through without reading the shocking comments belittling the last two and a half years of fear, sadness, anger and disappointment.

The choices I have made with my husband have been far from easy. But they have been my choices and when I am finished with all this, I hope I can live the rest of my life without wondering what could have been. Just as in the transition to donor eggs, there is a transition process to adoption. It involves grieving, and a whole new “stage” if you will, of infertility. Because the wonderful women I know who have decided to pursue adoption all say one thing: It didn’t cure their infertility. It doesn’t diminish the pain of not experiencing a pregnancy. It’s not as simple as “just adopting” and more importantly, it doesn’t make the emotional or financial aspects any easier to bear. It’s an incredibly personal decision to make, and it’s not the road for everyone.

I wish more people would understand that.

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Amanda
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Love you, sweet friend. And I get all of this. I really do. I imagine it seems like we're on opposite sides of the fence now, but believe me, I never look at my friends and think, "gah, I wish she'd suck it up and move on to adoption already." I fully understand that adoption won't take away infertility. In fact, I think I'm likely to return to infertility treatments in the future. You can only pursue so many avenues at a time. The thing I wish so many people would understand when they look at all of our journeys… Read more »

Rebecca
Guest

Ugh I detest those comments and I too used to make those comments before I found out I was an infertile.

Ashley Sanderson
Guest

Great article Risa! It honestly is amazing the comment people make. We got the "adoption" comment a lot too. or "maybe God is trying to tell you that having a child isn't in the cards." The decisions we made were the same as yours, TOUGH! We felt the same way about adoption. It could be in the cards for us, but right now, our decision is treatment. When our hearts change to adoption we will pursue it, but right now, this is what we are choosing. It's hard being strong and defending infertility. Looking forward to hear more about the… Read more »

Farra
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Amen to all of this! Your article is great, and these commenters are right on, too. It pisses me off that infertiles are treated as the "solution" to homing all the world's children without parents. When someone asks me why we don't adopt or tells me about all the children there are without parents to love them, I want to ask why the hell they don't adopt one then. Why is it something I should be expected to do just because having biological children hasn't worked out for me? Why don't people who can have kids stop breeding and take… Read more »

Aramis
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Absolutely agree with Farra's comment. Anyone who tells you you're selfish for not adopting better not have kids themselves, or else they're just as guilty. If they really feel that way why did they bother having their own kids at all? They should have just gone out there and adopted!

Risa
Guest

Amanda, so incredibly well said, friend! You seriously need to write a post about that. It truly starts out with small decisions that eventually become bigger decisions. Always thinking about you!

Risa
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Ha ha I know, it's something you don't really think about until you get the comments. 🙂

Risa
Guest

I've never gotten the "Maybe God is trying to tell you that you're not meant to be a mother" and I honestly wouldn't even know how to react to that. An adoption comment is always handled with as much respect as I can give, but if I got a comment like that, watch out. 🙂

Risa
Guest

Well said, Farra. I couldn't agree more with this issue of infertiles being responsible for taking the world's children. Chris and I have discussed the possibility of fostering, but wow. It's not all roses and bunnies. (Is that a term?) And I wish more people truly knew the adoption process better. Because it's stressful. It's a whole 'nother level of trying for a child.

Risa
Guest

And even if they do have their own adoptive kids, wonderful. That's great. Stop trying to push your "solution" to infertility on everyone else.

Melissa Long
Guest

"Have you ever thought of adoption?" Seriously that one is just STUPID. *hugs*

jAllen
Guest

I had two patients really push me on "are you going to have kids questions" so I decided to reveal my infertility to shut them up and maybe make them realise how insensitive thier questions were. Neither were phased, one said "well there are so many children out there who need a home" and I replied "Yes, but the process of getting one into my home is very difficult" The other told me "it will happen when you least expect it" I told her, "No it will happen exactly when I expect it, during my embryo transfer." Maybe I would… Read more »

Cristy
Guest

Can I smack the "just adopt" commenter? Please? Because it shows how ignorant they are. Like telling a cancer patient to be "happy" about the life they got. So stupid. I agree with everything you've said and all the comments above. What I think is most important with all of this is deciding what is best for you and Chris. What can you live with and what is too far. After all, you two are the ones that are living your lives, not anyone else. And I find those who are fastest to offer advice both have zero idea about… Read more »

Jennifer
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Of course it's selfish to try and have a child. Who cares? It's selfish for everyone, not just you, and not just the fertility-challenged.

If it wasn't for the financial limitations, I'd say pursuing both adoption and fertility treatments simultaneously would be the best option. I think that was quite common 30 years ago when (a) there were fewer available fertility treatments and (b) adoption was easier and cheaper. Now, it's impossible from a financial perspective unless you're quite wealthy.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

I wish you wouldn't let this ignorant idiot's comment get to you. There is no way they understand even a small piece of what you have been through. Besides the fact that even if they did, what you and your husband do with your reproduction is NONE of anyone's business. Everyone is kind of inherently selfish anyways. Why is it less selfish to have your own children naturally (if you can)? When there are so many needy kids to adopt? And IF there are so many needy kids why have some of my friends waited YEARS and paid tens of… Read more »

Aubrey
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Ugh! Why does it always go back to "why don't you just adopt?". It enrages me so much. The people saying that, and the person who made that comment on your post – well, frankly – they have NO idea. None whatsoever. Never question your decisions and the steps you've made in this process. This is YOUR journey. XOXO