The last time I wrote about our infertility journey was almost a year ago. Everytime I post something personal about infertility, I struggle with whether to share it and once I do, I usually want to crawl into a hold and hide. But, I feel that since I have a platform to share, it makes sense to do so. First, thank you to those of you who reached out and offered kind words following my Instagram post and also to those who perhaps didn’t say anything but had kind thoughts. It’s truly difficult to know what to say to someone who is struggling with infertility so perhaps I’ll write a separate post on that someday. For now, I want to update you on what’s been going on since last year. When I finished that post we were still in the thick of trying to conceive naturally and carefully considering our options knowing that the likelihood of being successful on our own was slim.
For me, as a Health Coach and someone who is immersed in the natural/holistic wellness space, the hardest part about facing my infertility has been feeling like I didn’t try “enough” holistic remedies. I’m not above modern/Western Medicine in the least, but I know of so many women in this space who brag about “healing” their infertility with acupuncture, crystals, meditation and infrared saunas that it’s tempting to compare my journey to theirs.
But when I’m honest with myself, we did try many holistic options in addition to Western intervention. In the end, we settled on embarking on IVF. The decision wasn’t easy and it took a long time for us both to be at peace with this decision. Two of the reasons we decided on IVF were time and money. I was facing my 40th birthday – which added a number of other factors to the equation once we finally decided to move forward with IVF – and I didn’t want to keep putting pregnancy off. Also, we had already spent a fortune on doctors and holistic intervention and knew that IVF alone would be another huge investment – you have to know when to fold.
So we folded. But this wasn’t just a matter of the head. When you go through something like this there are many heartfelt matters at stake. Personally, I went back and forth about accepting that perhaps children weren’t in the plan for us, which meant forgoing IVF completely. In fact, that was my stance for awhile until I thought about myself at 80-years-old (you’d be surprised at how may scenarios you dream up) and I asked myself how I would feel if we didn’t try this. I knew without a doubt that I would feel regret. I also deeply feel in my heart that as a woman I want the same chance at being a mother that many other women have and I needed to give myself that chance. In the end, I felt that if I didn’t try everything then I would always wonder what could have been.
However, there’s a catch. One thing that we decided was important to us was to set a boundary on how many rounds of IVF treaments we would undergo. I’m very aware of the mental, physical, financial and emotional toll that IVF takes on a couple and although we wanted to give ourselves the chance to be parents, we didn’t want to become “married” to IVF. For those who don’t know much about IVF, success rates are anywhere from 20 to 40 percent and there’s no guarantee that the first cycle will work, according to Resolve.org. This means that many couples go through multiple rounds of IVF consuming years of their lives. So we decided we would be one and done. I know this is like deciding to play the lottery once, but this infertility journey has been taxing on us as invidiuals and as a couple. In many ways, our life has felt like it’s been on hold for several years – holding back on decisions about buying a new home (and where), which car we want to buy, where we can travel and when – to avoid Zika. We want to move on with your lives one way or another. So we determined that if we had a positive outcome that would of course be ideal but if IVF doesn’t work for us the first time then we will have tried everything and we can be at peace and move forward as a couple without children. Either outcome is scary.
Everyone’s infertility journey is their own and deeply personal. Nothing is right or wrong. The views and opinions I’m sharing here are my own. My hope is that by sharing this openly it may help someone who is similarly struggling come to a decision one way or another. Whatever you decide is yours and yours alone and you don’t need to justify it to anyone as long as you and your partner feel at peace with your decision.