Friday, April 29, 2011
Parenting After Infertility
RESOLVE is celebrating National Infertility Awareness Week by asking people to Bust A Myth about infertility.
Myth: The pain of infertility is cured with parenthood.
I am an adoptive mother of one. My husband, AJ and I are also expecting another baby boy through international adoption. Our son, Min who is now 4 came home from S. Korea in June of 2008. Parenthood is a dream come true. We couldn't be happier with our little family, and it is very exciting to have a brother for our son. However, the very long and arduous journey to parenthood has left an imprint on my soul forever.
Infertility, the disease of infertility changes one's life. We tried for nearly 4 years to conceive through Assisted Reproductive Technology. I had an ectopic pregnancy, and shortly thereafter our attempts to get pregnant stopped. The financial and emotional toll were too much. We were faced with an extremely difficult question.
Will we ever be parents?
When you have to ask yourself this question because of circumstances out of your control, the words seem like those uttered by someone else. The thought makes your insides ache; the conversation surrounding your future life with or without children implodes a sadness beyond comprehension. I will never forget that period of time when every sight and sound of babies and families made tears sting my eyes. So many people were moving on with their lives and becoming parents, and we were alone with our grief. We were alone with our inability to plan for a pregnancy and enjoy telling our parents that they would be grandparents. We were missing out on so many important milestones.
Everything became about the word "if." If we have a child, we will use this room for the nursery. If I get pregnant, we won't be able to go on that vacation next year. If we become parents, teaching him or her how to play baseball, golf, or fish will be so wonderful.
"If" hung in the balance and was a constant reminder that we did not know what our future entailed as a couple or individuals.
When Min came home, a friend of mine said, "Now you're in the club." She meant the parenthood club. But I thought to myself, I'm in a lot of clubs. I was still infertile and without the experience of pregnancy. And it hurt.
Procreating is such a natural part of being human. When you are forced to come to terms with the fact that it may never happen, you are giving up a large piece of yourself. It’s a blow so unexpected it takes your breathe away. As a woman I feel like I will never be able to catch up in the circle of conversations that revolve around becoming a mom. When I get together with women, the first third of conversation regarding pregnancy, giving birth, breast feeding, swaddling an infant (my son came to us at 15 months), and deciphering if baby looks like mom or dad will forever elude me. I am different and always will be.
There are so many days when infertility escapes me, and I am simply happy to see my son grow into a little boy. I am planning the nursery for baby Wee's arrival. Having a child is a blessing no matter how they came into your life. But at 33 years old, still in child-bearing years and still surrounded by peers having babies and growing their families, I continually have to face the disappointment of infertility. The ability to grieve a loss and move on cannot take place because the loss is continual. The reminders turn up every where.
I work hard on finding peace with my situation. I may never experience pregnancy, but I am experiencing parenthood through a very special means. Unexpected circumstances brought our son home. Sifting through experiences of the past 7 years I find the hidden gifts bestowed upon us due to the struggle of infertility. My understanding of why AJ and I have been met with this challenge becomes clearer every day.
I am happy beyond words that all of those "if's" became a reality. I see the little socks strewn across my living room, sippy cup on the counter, and Min's pre-school backpack hanging on its hook and genuinely relish the moments. Infertility led me to the path of adoption, and I am so proud to be an adoptive parent. AJ and I feel so fortunate that our inability to conceive led us to our son, and the arrival of our second son is extremely exciting.
To quote the book “Many Lives, Many Masters” by Dr. Brian Weiss, MD, “Patience and timing. Everything comes when it must come. A life cannot be rushed, cannot be worked on a schedule as so many people want it to be. We must accept what comes to us at a given time, and not ask for more. Time is not as we see time but rather in lessons that are learned.”
Click here to learn more about infertility.
Posted by Parenthood for Me at 4/29/2011