Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Infertility Hindsight

Next week my life will change. I will be crossing over the infertility finish line and embark on a new journey. I will not lose my status as an infertile, I will just be adding the title of mother along with it. A fertile infertile if you will. As I think on these changes I am reflecting on the past and how infertility has affected me. There are many, many good qualities and lessons that I learned through it all. But, sadly, there are many things that I wish that I had done differently. What caused all of this reflection is something that has happened, or not happened, over the past few weeks. I have been on bed rest for about 4 weeks and only one person from my church has called me to check on me. My first reaction is to be hurt and angry. Then the more I thought about it I realized that this is my fault. It is my fault because I have allowed infertility to dictate my life.

Some background: My hubby and I were diagnosed 11 years ago with infertility. The first year I was sad, but optimistic. By year 2 it began to dictate who I was, where I went, who I spoke to, etc. During the beginning of our infertility journey we attended my home church where I grew up. Because I had been there for years I already had ties and friends there and even though it hurt to watch people move on and have children, I did not quit being their friend. I was also involved in children's ministries and continued working there even though it was not always easy. Then six years ago things drastically changed. It is a long and painful story but basically we were very hurt there and left that church to attend a different one nearby. This really was a great move for us, but I was devastated! The new church is quite different (in a good way) and many other families had moved here from my previous church so they members and staff knew that I needed time to heal before getting involved and allowed me to grow at my own pace. The problem was that I was not only hurt, I was infertile. I kept to myself. It took over 5 years before I got involved with a ministry. Previously I had been involved in several ministries and now none. I sat in the pew feeling sorry for myself for so long. Five years ago I finally forced myself to quit sucking my thumb and begin working in junior church and began to feel like I belonged in this church. But I still had not developed many friendships. Now I am paying for this.

I know that the people are praying for me and they ask my hubby about me often, but none feel close enough to call me personally. No one has offered to provide a meal or offer to help me with anything. My first reaction is to cry, but that is not fair. In the six years that I have been there I have never called anyone to check on them or offered to help someone in need. How dare I ask them to treat me any differently than I have treated them? I did this to myself. All I was trying to do was insulate myself from hurt but instead I isolated myself from everything and everyone. All because of infertility.

Now as I look back I realize how I allowed infertility to dictate everything about me! I now wonder how many positive experiences I have missed out on because of it. How many friends have I sacrificed? This saddens me to no end! I am shocked at just how much infertility has overtaken my life! If I had it to do over again there are somethings that I would definitely do differently.

*I would not assume that all infertiles would hurt me. Yes, seeing families would be painful, but not intentionally. I would have allowed myself to build friendships with those that had children, though I would still exclude those that were hurtful.

*I would have gotten involved in a children's ministry years earlier. Maybe not the nursery or toddlers, but junior church or preteens.

*Though I may not have been able to attend baby showers I would have taken the time to purchase a gift for each baby. It is not the baby or the mother's fault that I am infertile and they deserved to recognized even if it was painful for me.

*I would have shown myself friendly instead of sitting in my pew sulking. Shaking some one's hand or asking how they were doing is not too much to ask. I wore such a shield of protection around me I was not approachable.

*When someone was hurting I would have sent a card of sympathy. If they were ill I would have provided a meal. I would have taken the time to show people that I care.

I know that in the days and weeks to come there will be other areas that I will see the need for growth, but for now these are the ones that I hope to change. Some will be easier than others because I will now have a child and will feel like I belong, but others will still be difficult. I am still an infertile at heart and these characteristics are ingrained in me. But i can change. And I will.

Have you allowed infertility to change you? Is it holding you back? Are there areas in your life that need growth?


  1. Wonderful Post Jess. It is the hardest to see the growth/change we need to make in ourselves! But often the most rewarding when we do seek to make these changes. I applaud you for taking the time to look inward instead of just being hurt by peoples actions or lack thereof! You are a strong person and I admire you!!

    Your post made me thing of ways I could be more outgoing and giving to the people I go to church with... Thank you!

  2. I have many of your feelings. It was so hard going through unsuccessful IVFs when everyone around me was pregnant and the topic of the day was always about their babies. I usually avoided baby showers and sometimes even going to lunch with co-workers. I did give baby gifts and tried to be supportive but always on the inside I felt like I was dying. I still am an infertile but have adopted a beautiful little girl. I am a mom now, but it's still hard to get over the feelings that I'm still not quite the same as the fertiles who have given birth. I am trying now to get past this and have planned several baby showers for friends. That's why I love reading your blog because it makes me so happy when someone is able to realize their dream after so much years of struggle. I'm so happy for you as you wait for you daughter!

  3. It is so true what you are saying. I don't belong to a church group or any group for that matter. I have very little r/l friends and the ones that I do/did have have now had children and I have slowly distanced myself from them. So now who do I spend time with, only my husband and my mother. Really they are the only people I go out anywhere with. I don't even go to work functions although the people at work continue to try and include me, I'm sure I am waring on there nerves and will eventually stop encouraging me. But on reading your post and of course I knew this already, maybe I should start to accept these offers and bring in a few people to really call my friends. I think I will. Thanks, you have made a difference to my life.

  4. This me in my current state right now. I have a wall up so thick as to not get hurt. (If I get an invite for a shower, I do send a gift though) I wonder if you would have these feelings if you had not been blessed with Maddie though. I may get there eventually, but right now....I keep my distance from any possible reminders that I cannot have children right now.

    Soooo happy for you though!!!!!!!

  5. Mandy, you are right, many of these thoughts and feelings are because I now have Maddie and see things differently. I honestly wish that I had seen these things about myself years ago though. But honestly, the pain of loss and infertility can so completely overshadow everything else. Each person must grow at their own pace as long as we grow at some point. Praying for you, Mandy!

  6. OMG! Your post really spoke to me, I know exactly how you are/ were feeling. I have adopted two wonderful children who are the light of my life however I still wear the badge of infertility and still have "issues".

  7. Ah, yes, I know. We attend a good size church, and many of the people, I have known since childhood. However, it is hard to connect as adults with old friends or to make new ones when you are in our situation. There are small groups / s.s. classes for just about everyone - young marrieds, young families, singles, divorcees, seniors - except for us, the mid thirties, married for 12 years, no kids. Honestly, I prefer not to even try to fit into any of these groups because I don't tolerate the question of why we don't have children very well. I think it's just normal self preservation, but I do realize it's a two way street. Not that it will make you feel any better, but if I was in your area, I would drop you a meal :)

  8. I think you're being very hard on yourself. Infertility is very hard on a person, and sometimes you just need time to process it. Lots of time.

    I do like this post though. In hindsight I would have wanted to do some things different as well.

    Congratulations on the birth of your daughter.

    (Arrived from the Crème de la Crème list)

  9. I have also learned some hard lessons from infertility. I don't think you should blame yourself, though. It just is what it is, and you needed to do whatever you needed to do, even if it had some negative consequences. It's great that you have decided to think about and learn from your mistakes. I'm trying to do the same.

    Congrats for the new addition!

  10. I would just do all that stuff anyway baby showers, work in the nursery ect. I just cried and felt bad when I got home. Many times I would just excuse my self to the bathroom to cry when a church member has just told everyone she is pregnant. My very close friend didn't tell me for a while when she was pregnant, she didn't want to make me feel bad. She is such a close friend though, I was truly excited for her. I loved holding newborns when they would bring them to church, but then it would just make me think how badly I really wanted one. So I guess I just suffered through it and just sulked when I got home. I wouldn't advise that though. We have a very close, tight knit church, it's hard to just be by yourself they won't let you. That's a good thing though. I hope you build new friendships now with your church family.


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