Tuesday, October 8, 2013

You Don't Forget

I have written here often about the fact that I spend little-to-no time thinking about my lack of fertility now that I have my sons. There have been times I have even pondered whether I am truly "infertile," given my lack of a definitive diagnosis, my "advanced age" at the time we started trying, and my ability to conceive naturally on two occasions (though those pregnancies did not progress).

An online friend (not a part of the ALI community) married last year at 39 and hoped, as many of us do, to start a family with her husband. Her first hurdle was being diagnosed with cervical cancer shortly before her wedding. After (thankfully) getting the all clear on that front, she experienced an ectopic pregnancy recently that ruptured, resulting in the loss of one of her tubes.

Through the surgery and follow-up for her cancer, she has also learned that she has a large uterine fibroid that it would be very risky to remove but will make a successful pregnancy nearly impossible.  After seeing what she went through with ruptured ectopic pregnancy, her husband doesn't think she should even attempt the surgery. Or if she does, attempt the necessarily risky (to mom and baby) pregnancy that would follow it.

My friend posted on her blog this morning about how she is not OK and about her feelings about likely never being pregnant or having a child who is a combination of her and her husband. Reading her post reminded me of my own feelings of grief when I realized I would never have a child who shared my genes and MM's genes.

I adore my sons and the unique individuals they are. Now that they are in my life, I wouldn't trade them for my own genetic child. But I won't deny that, before they were here, having a child naturally, who would have been genetically related to both me and to my husband, would have been my preferred option.

I have confidence that my friend and her husband will mourn their (very real and deep) loss and probably come to parenthood in some other way. I do believe that most people who want to become parents do, if they are open to multiple paths to that destination.

Reading her words and being reminded of my own feelings as I progressed along my own long and increasingly circuitous route to eventuall motherhood by a path I'd never thought of walking brought up emotions today I hadn't felt in a long time.

You never really forget.


  1. I wrote a post on my blog recently that kind of echoes this - it doesn't go away. But, like you, I think that the majority of people who really want to parent, will do so eventually, one way or another. My real-life infertility support group is proof of that - a big group of us, all parenting now, through IVF, donor eggs, adoption and even (shock!) surprise natural pregnancies. I'm not sure I ever felt grief over not having a genetic child - I think I went from being unsure about doing donor eggs when it was first suggested around the middle of our journey to being so relieved that we had that option, 7 years after starting to try. But it became so clear that my eggs were rubbish that I knew that they were never going to lead to a baby - that made things easier. I feel for your friend - she's been through such an awful lot and it seems very unfair that she's had to cope with so many different obstacles to motherhood. I really hope she finds some possibilities that she can consider.

  2. This is something I've never thought about. The emotional pain you went through while deciding to use donor eggs. Hugs to you and your friend!

  3. I definitely mourned the loss of a DNA connection to my future children. But now that my daughter is here, I rarely think about it.

  4. No, forgetting our infertility would be like forgetting we broke our arm in 2nd grade or had our appendix out at 13. It is part of who we are.

    And, we learn, though our own journey and that of the countless sisters we support, that everyone comes to their path on their own, in their own way and in their own time. Sure, our hindsight can benefit them but it cannot stand as a substitute for the process they must go through.

  5. When I had my son, I was happy to "forget" all about my years of infertility. Imagine my surprise to see that all those terrible feelings have returned now that we're trying for #2!! I agree that you don't ever really forget, it just kind of lurks in the background of your mind.

  6. I echo Francie. I was more than happy to set those remembrances aside once my little guy came along, but now that #2 will either take an even greater effort (DE) or will never be, I am thrown back into the hellfires of IF, the likes of which I thought for sure I had left behind for good. But, like you said, you can deny that it never was, but you could then very well be denying a piece of yourself. Still, I would prefer to be beyond wallowing in it.


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