Infertility // A Faint Light at the End of the Long Tunnel of Acceptance

Pretty Baby Bump Photos

My story shouldn’t offend you if you’ve got differing opinions, nor should you take it personally or as a personal attack on the opposite side of the realm. What it is meant to do, besides help clear up some clutter in my own mind, is offer a little calm to those, who like me, are struggling with trying to get pregnant, and who have been trying for years to accept this reality, and who may need a little optimism to see that there is life beyond what we think we’re supposed to do while we’re here on this planet.

Sure I believe that we make our own paths in this life and we create our own opportunities and even our own luck, but when it comes to fertility, even if we do go down the road of hormones and IVF, there is no certainty that we will end up with a baby. And because so much of life IS happenstance, I wasn’t willing to give up my sanity while going through those procedures for a “maybe baby”.

Does that mean I didn’t want to be a mom badly enough? Maybe to some, but all religious beliefs aside, I think if something is meant to happen, it’s going to happen. It’s the nature of things in this life. For me, and for me alone, I’ve learned that when I force things into my own life that weren’t ready to be, they don’t turn out the way I thought they would, and I didn’t want any of this type of thought to be put on a human life. {note: I have no judgement against people who do go the IVF route whatsoever}

But maybe there is something to be learned from it not happening. There is something to be said for this journey, this life that is happening to us right now, even if it’s different from what we thought it was going to be, from what we thought it was supposed to be, and even if it is just my husband and I forever, living with a house full of puppies, there is happiness in this moment in time.

We have to remind ourselves that the life we are living is worthwhile even though we have not added to the population.

Some days I wonder if I’m missing out. And yes, I most certainly am. WE most certainly are.

We’re missing out on the smiles and the firsts and all the amazing things people post on Facebook and Instagram without showing the other side… the hard as hell side. The side that everyone knows but seems to forget when another woman gets pregnant for the first time.

It’s usually only when I think of things I’ll miss out on, like experiencing pregnancy, growing a life inside of me, feeling left out around other moms, decorating a nursery, buying baby things, breast feeding, bonding moments, cute baby and kid clothes, play time, teaching the way of life, creating a family and memories I don’t get to make or share with a little being, that I get weepy about what isn’t happening in this life and forget about all the greatness that is happening in this life.

When I get caught up in “what should have been” or “what could be” is when I forget that in this very moment, everything is just as it is supposed to be and I am happy.

I think it’s been about a year since I’ve really written here about my struggle with infertility. Now, nearly seven years since we decided to “start trying” to create a family that consists of more humans than dogs, I can almost certainly say that I’m okay most of the time. Most of the time I’m happy with our life. Most of the time I am not sad or wishing or hoping or clinging to the fact that we cannot create children and this may be our family forever.

The truth is, the longer we’ve lived without children running around, the more set in our ways we’ve become and the more we enjoy our lives childless. This is not to say that having children ruin things, or would ruin our life… not in the least, but we’ve seen all of our friends get pregnant and have kids and watched as their lives have gotten harder and not easier. Some days knowing this makes the sadness less palpable, makes me forget that we’ve been trying to get pregnant for so long, and makes me feel free from having to worry about all the things that parents have to worry about constantly.

Obviously, raising kids is difficult, and obviously there are so many wonderful times and moments shared that make it all worth while. But it looks hard. It looks never-ending… it looks like forever.

Through my struggle, I’ve had to reevaluate what I thought my life was going to be like and look like. I’ve had to accept the fact that as much as our parents wanted grandchildren from us, we may just be the biggest disappointments to them forever, and that’s okay. I’ve had to learn to let go of what should have been, what we were brought up to think is the “normal” or the right thing to do because the truth is, even those who follow all the rules and do everything they’re supposed to, don’t always end up happy.

Girl

Someone recently asked me how I was doing with it all. How in the past I would get a little weepy hearing pregnancy news or seeing another friend get pregnant again, and slowly spiral into a self-involved anger tornado wondering why I couldn’t get pregnant and “they” could… but this time I responded: Lucky.

I admit, it may have been a slight jab because I was the only one who wasn’t a mom in the entire house, in my own house, where I was hosting, and I thought who in their right mind would ask a person dealing with infertility that question in a time like this? but in that moment, I did feel lucky.

I felt lucky that while I only had to deal with the chaos that comes with children for the weekend, they all had to go home and live with that chaos forever. I felt lucky that I/we get to do whatever we want, whenever we want, and not have the always-worry that comes with children.

I feel lucky because being a parent is taxing all of the time. I feel lucky that I don’t have to think ahead so much that I have to pack a car full of shit every time I go somewhere or lucky for the fact that I can just get in my car and go somewhere whenever I want. I feel lucky that I don’t have all the guilt that comes with being a parent or listen to other people tell me how to parent. I feel lucky that I don’t have to worry about schools and college tuitions. And on a personal/vain level, I feel lucky that I don’t have stretch marks or saggy boobs, and my body is still intact because it hasn’t been stretched out from here to eternity.

Feeling lucky, grateful for right now, and thinking about the difficult things that come with parenting fade out the misty fantasy of kids and make the reality much more clear, making it easier for me to say to myself, it’s okay, you don’t have to be a mom to be important in this world.

I feel lucky for so many reasons… Do I think that if we suddenly got pregnant and/or had children and all those things were true for us I would feel lucky too and forget all of this? Yes, absolutely, 100%.

It wasn’t that the question in the moment bothered me. I didn’t get a lump in my throat as I would have in the past. I didn’t feel what I had for all the years prior being asked similar questions. We spent the weekend with a newly pregnant friend and I didn’t think twice about it for the first time in seven years. I wasn’t upset at the thought of our friend being pregnant or seeing her adorable baby bump covered in blue and white stripes for the 4th. I was simply happy for her {and him}.

For me, that was the light at the end of the tunnel… I knew I was okay.

It was only days later when I heard that question on repeat in my mind and I felt myself getting angry quickly at things that normally wouldn’t bother me — a short temper is bound to have deeper meaning — and then I knew I was in the thick of it again. I was upset because I had to ask myself this question yet again… Am I okay? A question/answer I had thought I had come to terms with was here again, in my face, in my head, now a somehow daily reminder to make sure I think about it again. And I was sad. And then I was sad that I was sad about it. I had begun judging myself based on getting emotional about something I thought I had gotten through this past year and here I was, so sad again, longing, missing, feeling empty, left wanting more and clinging to the fact that it’s not going to happen. Again.

And then I had to remind myself that there is more to life, for me, than having children and raising a family. I had to remind myself that my life could be more than I had imagined it to be. I had to remind myself that I already know what being a parent is like and that maybe my life is left open to experiencing things that are unknown and different.

I know that if I spend one more minute lost in the “what ifs” that I may be stuck in the “what ifs” forever and actually miss out on what I am supposed to learn in this lifetime instead of “what I thought I was supposed to learn” in this lifetime.

I get a lot of emails from women experiencing sadness on the same journey with infertility and each hits and pierces my heart and spirit in the same way; like a ton of bricks. I know what it feels like, and I am so sorry that you know what it feels like too. For those who don’t understand, it’s more than just not being able to create a family, it somehow feels like a personal failure, like our bodies are not doing what they are “meant to do”. Beyond possibilities of surrogacy and adoption, some of us want to do it ourselves, and accepting that we cannot doesn’t feel like a choice, but rather, a life sentence.

Even if you think that no one understands, we do. We, the women who have yearned to create a family and have wished and hoped and prayed that against all the odds, a healthy life would somehow develop inside of our bodies, only to be left feeling empty each month we can’t make it happen. It’s a lonely struggle. But we are not alone. We are a village of women who are important and worthwhile in this world even though we cannot create life. There is something for us that is different, unexpected, and maybe even spectacular. If we are open to the possibilities, who knows where this amazing life will lead us.

 

Photo Source // Tauri with Child // Ciara Richardson Photography

Photo Source // Bonnet a Pompon

 

Profile photo of Maegan Tintari

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

13 Comments

  • Diana Stone

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    Even on the other side of this, as a mama to one here, 3 not, and years of waiting for another baby only to have it pass away – I get this. I love my daughter with all my heart but parenting is HARD. I have those same envies and feelings about so much your wrote about, yet those same small moments of “As she gets older, this gets easier. I get my life back – do we really want to try to do this again?”

    It’s weird because that questions FEELS so wrong to ask of yourself, and yet there it is. Honest and blunt.

    Love you Maegan. Thank you for sharing something that is not talked about very often.

  • AJ Rogers

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!

    I used to think of those chores that come with a child when I would read your story because I am essentially my son’s servant. I would want to share these tidbits, but hoped you would see it and maybe share one day. Today is that day – La Da!!

    So happy you are working to make peace with it, opening up and letting it out. I kind of hope you’ll be like Caprice on Ladies of London – after you’ve made your millions from …love Maegan you will suddenly get pregnant 😉

  • Carla

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    Beautifully written Maegan as always. Yes, there are definitely two sides to having children and while it’s the greatest blessing i’ve ever experienced (twins via ivf) i can also tell you that there are many times i feel overwhelmed, not enough time for anything, can’t just pick up and go anywhere… not even the bathroom! The list goes on… i wouldn’t trade it for the world because i know what a miracle it is and how much i struggled to have my little girls. I keep you in my prayers always and hope that one day it happens for you too Maegan. I’m glad you are finding light at the end of the tunnel of this very long journey. In the meantime, you are an amazing doggie mommy and aunt! I love seeing the beautiful pictures of your sweet puppies on instagram. They’re so lucky to have a mommy like you! xo, Carla

  • Elizabeth

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    This was put in front of me for a reason today. Thank you. Thank you for giving a voice to everything that is swimming in my head. I am a new reader and didn’t realize your struggle with infertility. We are the same age, struggling for the same amount of time, with similar thoughts on options. Your words are calming to my soul.

  • Shannon

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    I am a new mom, I have a 5 month old and I really agree with a section of what you wrote. You said that we don’t see the other side of being a mom (the hard side) and that is soo true! I always thought yeah it will be hard work, but it is actually really really hard work lol its harder than any job I ever had and I was a nanny. I think no one ever tells the secret side of being a mom or maybe we hear about the hard stuff, but just ignore it. By month 5 of not sleeping through the night you tend to turn into a zombie, its all worth it but I do see your beautiful life and think we will never have that again. I will always have to worry about someone for the rest of my life!

  • Elizabeth

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    I understand because I’m in the same boat. My husband and I started trying almost 10 years ago, gave up 4 years ago, and to date I have never even had cause to suspect I was pregnant. I’m 37. The ache and regret that I will likely live my whole life without knowing what it’s like to carry or birth a child are ever present. When I’m old and well past child bearing age, when it’s too late, I’ll look back and the pain will still be there. BUT let me say this to you. Even though I get the wanting to do it yourself, pregnancy and birth are such a small part of this parenting thing. We adopted our son just over 3 years ago, and he is mine, regardless of how he got here. Yes, it’s hard–stupid hard–and it’s forever, but if it’s something you want, it’s worth it. We didn’t do IVF either. It felt wrong for us. When my husband suggested adoption, I said no. Because I was scared, and I didn’t know what adoption was supposed to look like. But we learned, and we persevered, and it was scary and stressful and gut wrenching, but I’m so glad we did it. I know what you’re saying (I too rejoice in no stretch marks 😉 ), but I thought I’d say, as someone who’s been there, just in case you find it helpful.

  • Amanda @ A.Co est. 1984

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    It’s been so long (like you said) since you’ve touched on this subject and again, another powerful and great post.

    I feel for you (and Pep) and can only imagine how difficult it is–which is further empathized through all your posts related to this topic that I have been reading and with you on for many years.

    That said, the part about being lucky? And all the awesome shit that comes along with NOT being a parent makes me smile. As someone who’s not quite ready for kids, but also not quite sure it’s for me either, it feels empowering to know that going against the ‘social norm’, whether chosen or not, there are still huuuuuuge positives. I agree, when I look on at my friends with kids, damn it looks hard. And yikes, your life is forever changed, and there is so much to give up. I’m really not sure it’s for me, and while that feels almost awkward to tell people when everyone is saying you should or expecting you to do eventually (as you said, ‘what your body is meant to do’), it sure feels awesome reading about the perks of NOT becoming a parent to reinforce what I was already thinking.

    BIG HUG, per usual, and thanks for sharing your emotions, thoughts and soul <3

  • Ticka

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    Even with a daughter who’s 15 and a son who’s 9, I get it. I’m happy that your journey is point you towards living and being happy in the now. My favorite quote is, “it’s okay, you don’t have to be a mom to be important in this world.” That spoke volumes to me, because on the opposite coin, just because someone is a mom/parent, it doesn’t necessarily make them special either. We are all uniquely made, and I believe we’re on this earth for something bigger than ourselves. I will continue to pray for strength for you and your husband, under one condition… You do the same for me and my husband. Our son ran away from daycare at 3 years old, and hasn’t been good in school since!! LOL!

  • Anneliese W

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    Thank you for this. Thank you for offering me hope. A new kind of hope. Beyond hoping that this ‘new’ concoction of meds will help/work this time. Beyond hoping this doctor/test will tell me something new. Beyond hoping for my one day and what if. I am not where you are yet. Not by a long shot. I can’t resolve my self to be ok with this ‘life sentence’ as you so perfectly called it. My heart is still broken, I still hurt while I sit back and watch everyone else have what I can only pray for. And even knowing all the things you said about the hard side of parenting are true, I still want it all. And I know know that I’ll ever feel complete without it. But today, you gave me hope that I will. That one day, if I am still broken and lost and defeated, that somehow, someway I will be able to find peace and be OK and happy in this life despite the rest.

  • drollgirl

    July 24, 2014 | Reply

    very well-written and heart-felt post, and i know it wasn’t easy coming to this level of acceptance.

    this is being written by a 43-year old woman that is childless and unmarried, and wants to keep it that way. my life isn’t that complicated and that keeps me happy. or at least happier. or whatever. we deal with the lot we draw in life! might as well make peace with it and make the most of it, no? 🙂

  • Precious Deedee

    July 25, 2014 | Reply

    I’m speachless. These words from this post are so powerful! Beautiful! :*

  • KezUnprepared

    July 25, 2014 | Reply

    I know that I can never know what it feels like for you, but I do have a tenderness in my heart for the women and men who have to deal with infertility. My parents were unable to conceive, despite there being no explainable reason, medically. They did not push it – I think my mum felt much like you – so much to go through for a ‘maybe’ baby just wasn’t going to work for them. They adopted (how I came along into my family) and my parents talk so much about fate working in amazing ways – they knew their journey was something else outside what is conventional. I am not in any way telling you to adopt – just sharing a story that shows that things work out how they’re meant to for each and every person. I have no doubt you are helping so many women and couples to know they’re not alone and that in itself is noble and so important indeed. Big hugs xo

  • Bre & Ree

    July 25, 2014 | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that light at the end of the tunnel only shines brighter with each day. I’m so happy that you are doing well and finding peace with it all. You really are an inspiration to so many people!
    ~Bre

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