When ‘When’ Turns to ‘If’

When two people are trying to get pregnant and have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, the ‘when we have kids’ starts changing to ‘if we have kids’. It sounds quite depressing, but that is the story of life with infertility. It doesn’t mean we’ve given up. It doesn’t mean that we don’t think it will ever happen. It just means that we don’t know if it will – no matter how much praying we do or how much we believe it will (although that is tested too) or the availability of treatments.

As the months go on, my mind continues to run crazy with all kinds of different thoughts – positive, negative, and some somewhere in between. I don’t know if I’m alone in some of my thoughts or not, but I am sure there are some of you out there that have some similar thoughts. And the worst part about these thoughts? That we are afraid to share them with other people for fear that we’ll receive feedback we don’t want to hear. Infertility can be a lonely journey, even though there are two people involved.

I thought I might share some of my thoughts because I want you to know that you are not alone and I’m tired of hiding it all in. If you are family and you are reading this and are wondering why I haven’t talked directly to you about it, it’s because for me, it is easier for me to write out my thoughts than convey them in person. I’m really not good at conversation or talking about myself – haven’t you noticed?

It hasn’t been long enough for me to really call it infertility, right?

This is one that I’ve really struggled with. Medically, you are considered to be struggling with infertility if you haven’t conceived within 12 months if you are under 35 or six months if you are over 35. As of writing this post, we have been trying for 18 months. We have gone through the testing and have been medically diagnosed as struggling with unexplained infertility.

Even with that, when I say that or think about the term infertility, it doesn’t feel right. Maybe it is because I never thought I’d actually be one to hit this point. I also feel like our 18 months is not enough to be considered as struggling with infertility because there are so many out there who have been struggling for many more years. But then I have to remind myself that our journey isn’t their journey and there is no reason we should be compared.

I have no idea why I still struggle with feeling like it has been long enough to call it infertility. I have no idea when I’ll get past this. The reality is, we are struggling with infertility.

What if I just wanted kids because that is the normal thing to do?

Yeah, this thought has crossed my mind. Having that thought doesn’t mean that I am going to stop trying. It’s just one of those thoughts that comes during the journey. It comes with all the thoughts of what life could be without having kids – all those things that you wouldn’t ever be held back from because you have to worry about whether kids can go or that they’ll cost extra or that you can’t find sitters. There are so many possibilities for our lives without kids. Honestly, this has helped me to understand why some people decide not to have kids. I was one of those who couldn’t fathom how people didn’t want kids. I get it now. But I still want my own, even if this thought crosses my mind.

Why am I broken?

When struggling with unexplained infertility, you aren’t necessarily broken. I preface unexplained because I have no experience with having a cause for infertility and I don’t want to pretend that I do.

This is one of my biggest struggles. Even though it is unexplained, it is my body that isn’t making it happen, after all, I’m the one that needs everything to work within me. So yeah, I feel broken. It is not a feeling that I can really explain other than with the word broken. When hormones hit the worst and I have my worst days, this is where my mind goes the most.

Even though I know that I’m not broken, it is difficult not to go there. It is a thought that will probably haunt me until we do get pregnant. Which leads me to…

What if we don’t ever get pregnant?

Yeah, that’s a frequent thought too. Most people will ask about adoption or fertility treatments at this point. We get that you want those answers and don’t understand our decisions, but this thought is still valid. Yes, we are still early in our infertility journey. Yes, we still have time before my hormones start changing for menopause. But, there is always the question, how long do we try? What if we don’t have kids? What if my body never conceives? What if?

These are questions that come along with the over-arching question and the answers for each couple vary and each couple most likely changes their answers over time. No matter what, until we conceive, this will always be a thought.

Quickly, on the topic of adoption, that is not in our cards right now, and fertility treatments are a thought for the future, but the hormones can cause my Endometriosis to start growing again and bring back the pain that was the cause for my surgery in May 2015 so we aren’t ready to go down that road. That could change at any time, but that is the answer as of today.

What is she was right? What if I would be a horrible mom?

She will not be named. This family member told many people that I would be a horrible mom. This coupled with my upbringing not being so great, I have this thought so very often. It is a difficult thought to get over and has caused me many, many bouts of crying. It doesn’t help that I see so many amazing parents who do so much for their children that I would never have thought to do or even know about. I struggle with this every time I see all these amazing parents.

I don’t have any answers for this one. This is my biggest struggle during this journey. All I know is that I’m not my parents and no parent is perfect. Yes, there are horrible moms out there, but I know that I won’t be one of them. And by horrible I mean seriously horrible and shouldn’t be able to raise kids. But, that is how my family member referred to me (this is one of many reasons I do not associate with that person).

If we don’t have kids, don’t do everything we possibly can, and don’t adopt, we’ll be letting our family down.

Oh yeah, I have this one too. There is no history for this thought or detail needed. It is a simple, standard thought. What I do know is, if we end up not having kids, that is our business and our decision and there is no reason that we would let anyone down. That just isn’t even something that should be considered. It is, but it shouldn’t. Our family should support us no matter what, and if they don’t, that is their business.

These are only some of the thoughts that plague my infertility journey. I know there are more, I just can’t think of them right now.

You are not alone in your infertility journey. You probably have some similar thoughts. You are normal for having these thoughts. So many people try to help us have a more positive outlook and try to get us not to think about any of these things at all. By not trying to think about them, we leave ourselves sitting ducks for major breakdowns. I personally believe that we have to explore our thoughts, no matter whether they are negative or positive, so we don’t go into major breakdowns or into depression. The key is not to dwell on the negative thoughts. Hard to do, but possible.

If you are struggling with major breakdowns or depression through your infertility journey, please talk to someone. Reach out, you are not alone.

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