(originally written on September 26, 2008)
Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Since I gave up hope, I feel a lot better. ~Steve Taylor
Prior to meeting MM, falling in love with MM, and beginning to believe that I would build a life with MM, I had given up hope of ever having my own child. I'd actually given up that hope twice. The first time was when I decided to change careers at age 30 while still unmarried and childless; I realized that this choice greatly decreased the likelihood that I would be in a position to focus on motherhood. I gave it up again when my relationship with SL ended; I truly believed at that time, based on my relationship history, that it would be years before I would fall in love again, and I thought that there was a strong possibility I wouldn't ever marry. Single motherhood has never much appealed to me: being a parent is one of the hardest things in the world, and I couldn't fathom choosing to do it alone!
I have always had a strong mothering instinct and knew that eventually it would have to find an outlet other than Golden Retrievers. I had a vague plan in my mind that once I had reached my early-to-mid 40s and all prospect of my own, biological child was passed, I would adopt a child from foster care. Baby or slightly older child: it didn't much matter to me. Until then, I would devote myself to developing my career, spending time with friends, and pursuing hobbies.
However. . . I fell in love with a man who wants a child of his own. And while I had put that dream out of my mind prior to meeting him, apparently I had never totally given up on the idea because it was readily revived once I knew that it was again a possibility. I was happy, eager to revive it.
Thus the hope of having a child of my own was reborn. And to tell you the truth, since that hope has returned, I've felt worse than when I had just accepted that it would likely never happen.
I have written before about our decision to stop using birth control and our efforts to get me pregnant. My period is due tomorrow, and every sign is pointing toward it arriving right on schedule yet again. For six cycles--just over five months--MM and I have done everything "right," but I'm still not pregnant.
I know, I know: five months really isn't that long--especially at my age!--and "God will bless us when He thinks the time is right." "Some people try for years!" BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. We should "just relax"! I haven't told many people of our efforts; in spite of that fact, I've pretty much heard every imaginable platitude already in regard to our failure to conceive to date.
I'm sure that there aren't appreciably more babies or pregnant women in the world today than there were six months ago. . . but I am now acutely aware of both in a way that I wasn't before. Thank God I have not yet reached the point where I cannot be happy when a friend or family member announces her own pregnancy. . . but I fear I am moving in that direction. (I am already bitter when I hear that one of the felons MM supervises has fathered another child, primarily because these pregnancies are almost invariably unintended and unwanted.)
Technically, I am not "infertile," as infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after trying for a year. (Some doctors say six months of trying if you're over 35, as I am.) Even by the looser, six-month standard, I won't be "infertile" unless we don't conceive this coming cycle. In spite of that fact, I have already scheduled a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist (an OB/GYN specializing in the treatment of reproductive disorders) for us; the appointment is on October 14th.
By the time the appointment arrives, we will be just days shy of six months of "trying." While I fear that something is wrong with either MM or I that is preventing us from making a baby, I fear almost equally that nothing is wrong, except that I am old to be trying for a first pregnancy. If we find out that something is wrong that cannot be fixed, what then? If we find out that NOTHING is wrong, I guess we just keep "trying"?
I regularly visit a website on which I chart my cycles, and that website has message boards. From visiting these message boards, I am well aware that many women have had (and are having) a more difficult journey to parenthood than I have had thus far. My own sister "tried" for over two years before conceiving her son, and I know more than one person who has had to have IVF in order to become a mom.BUT. . . knowing that other people have it worse than I do has never been a solace to me in any other area of my life, and it's not a solace to me here. I'm only five months in, and I'm already thoroughly sick of this.
Sometimes I wish I had never revived my hope for a child. I was much more contented when I had set it aside.