Wow, it’s been over a year since I last blogged. I know I used to get on people who got their happy ending to all of a sudden disappear then I go and do the same thing lol. I just haven’t been feeling much of the infertility and child stuff lately. Unfortunately we’ve been dealing with aging sick parents, parents relocating and within the last 10 days have friends that lost their son less than a month before he was due to be born. Also, I had a really close call getting into some serious shit due to my own stupidity that could have been life altering. I won’t get into specifics but 2018 has not been a pleasant year so far and to be real it will likely get more difficult before it gets easier. But that’s life just have to make the best of what is.
Which brings me to why I’m writing now. Over the course of the five plus years in the infertility I’ve met many amazing people and formed many friendships. There are too many to name in one post and I know I’d forget some I’d later regret, In some cases these friends are people who at times I wasn’t the nicest to. I won’t make any excuses for it as I own my behavior. Some of these people no longer interact with me and I understand why and hold nothing against them. Others have stuck by me despite me shitting on them multiple times for that I truly love them as friends.
One of these amazing individuals is Kaeleigh MacDonald, my buddy from Canada. I initially connected with her on Twitter and also through her blog Unpregnant Chicken. She’s a witty, funny upbeat personality who is easy to like and get along with. She’s also incredibly passionate about helping others and no doubt all of these qualities have led her to be an amazing mom, wife and friend. Well over a year ago she had asked me to put together a guest blog piece on a topic of my choosing. I had the topic picked out in my head. I had many long runs where I would write it out in my Head only to come home and never sit down to write it. I felt bad cause Kaeleigh kept asking about it and it was just a matter of carving out time to write it. Finally about two months ago I finally got my piece to her.
Some of you I know have read it and I’ve shared it on other social media platforms for others to read and hopefully explain where I’m coming from and where I am now. I hope you enjoy it. I really want to thank Kaeleigh for the opportunity to share my story, for being a great friend and being the amazing person she is.
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and it’s mainly because I haven’t had anything happen or come up relating to infertility. All in all things are well. Put another piece of the life we were trying to build behind me as I replaced my Toyota Camry which was big enough for a baby with a smaller more sporty VW GLI (which I love). Also started wearing my hair differently dumping the spikes which I had worn for over 17 years with a more conservative part. Small changes that are positive putting things in the past.
The only thing that has come up recently is with my brother moving in with his girlfriend it looks like he finally may have found the one. With that thoughts of them getting married and kids down the road. I’ve wrote about this a little bit in the past that people tell those who are Infertile to not worry that they could always become a “Great Aunt/Uncle”. My feelings have been that it’s not the same as being a parent.
Lately my thoughts have gone beyond it just not being the same. Not only is it not the same but for me I don’t think I want to be a “Great Uncle”. It’s just not something I ever had a desire to be. Don’t get be wrong I’d be happy for my brother and his spouse and wouldn’t ignore his kids. I’d do the usual gifts see them on holidays once or twice a year but I don’t have the desire to be that Uncle that is involved in their lives. Those kids would have their parents. They wouldn’t need an Uncle getting in the way of that.
Settling for being that “Great Uncle” is a weak attempt at pretending to be a semi parent. It’s having fun with kids without doing any work. Those kids will never really care or have the bond that they do with their parents. I know this comes across as me sounding selfish but if god intended me to have that bond with a child he would have given me the ability to become a parent.
Deep down I feel this way because it would be another reminder of what I’m not capable of. I’m not capable of making my parents grandparents. I’m not capable of raising a child. I’m not capable of doing something the majority of adults can do.
Again I know I come across as being selfish but I really do hope my brother never has kids to avoid this trigger. I just fear of the fallout. It’s fallout I don’t want to face or have the potential to fall back into the deep depression I was in two years ago. Only time will tell whether I will face this but I know that I have no desire to be that “Great Uncle”.
On a side note I’d like to finish this piece promoting a new book by Justine Brooks Froelker “The Mother of Second Chances”. I just received my copy the other day and can’t wait to read. Justine is amazing a very special person. Below is the link to purchase on Amazon.
I figured it was time to do a personal update piece because it’s been a while since I last did. When I think back a year ago and to where I am right now it’s amazing how things have changed. A year ago I was working through deep depression, my personal life was in the crapper, I was in the middle of training to run my third half marathon and on the flip side my work life was on solid ground.
Today I am for the most part passed depression, my personal life couldn’t be better, I am in the middle of a four month rest period so my Achillies Tendon injury can heal (causing me to drop out of running my 1st marathon) and my work life sucks. Until I thought about it the last few days my depression hasn’t been much on my mind outside of taking anti depressants every morning. I’m no longer down about my life. Sure there are still times the realization of not ever becoming parents fucking sucks but overall I’m in a good place. My personal life is as good as it has ever been. My relationships are better than ever. I’m more comfortable with who I am and it’s easier to look past the little things. I’m able to feel and give love again. I have that happiness and laughter rather than anger I had last year. And next weekend I will be seeing my friends one year old son for the first time as I am getting together with my college friend for a weekend of Civil War battlefield visits in VA.
Three weeks ago I had to officially shut down my training for the Philly Marathon in November as I sustained some tears in the tendon from my Achillies tendinitis. It took convincing from my acupuncturist to accept it. Though I felt when I couldn’t even run 3 miles without pain I had a feeling the time had come to shut it down. If this had happened a year ago no doubt I would have gone into an even deeper depression. Instead frustration is what I’m feeling. The frustration of having to stop doing what I enjoyed due to once again my body betraying what my mind wants it to do. November 27th is a long ways away but I’m hoping that day I’ll be able to go for a short run pain free.
Overall life is well. I’m more confident I can work through short term challenges and have not thought much about what the future holds. The long term future does scare me. I still have fears about not having family outside of our home spending the holidays alone. There’s nothing I can do about it now. Whatever it will be like when we age it will be. There’s no use in letting it get in the way of the life to live right now that I can enjoy.
I hope everyone is well wherever you are at in your journeys.
This is going to be another one of those pieces where I hope it generates a productive conversation that leads to progress rather than take offense. It’s not that I care if I unintentionally upset people. I care more about being able to create positive change.
Each of our infertility stories is unique and different. No two infertility stories are exactly the same. With the reproduction of two or more people required to create a fetus leading up to 40+ weeks of gestation there are so many factors in each situation that could go wrong. Even when a diagnosis is the same for an infertile female in a couple you still have the male factor with many different possible reasons for lack of conception or potential for miscarriage. Also you have the being able to afford treatment factor. In taking a hard look at this, the options available for one couple might not be available for another couple when it comes to a couple either conceiving a child or third party reproduction. In some cases there are no options to become a parent through some type of scientific intervention.
When it comes to becoming a parent via non biological or other scientific ways the ability to do so can vary as well. Depending upon where a person lives, their financial status and other personal circumstances (health, marital status, etc.) the ability to to become a parent via adopting isn’t available for every couple or person. For instance depending upon where a person/couple lives and what the laws are for adopting they maybe disqualified from adopting. You could also be in a financial situation where you are unable to afford the costs to adopt and lack the ability to raise funds to adopt. Lastly you could be disqualified from adopting due to a health condition you have. In some cases a person/couple may not be able to adopt.
When you add in all of that the conclusion reached is that not everyone will be able to become a parent. I say this because personally I’ve been told by others that it’s my choice to be childless and there are options I’m choosing not to go through. They say this without knowing our full story. There are so many other factors in our story that I haven’t disclosed that are personal to us. I’ve also seen other people be told that if they want to become parents they shouldn’t give up in finding a way to become parents. That is completely unfair to assume unless you know the person/couple’s entire story.
People mean well when they ask those going through infertility if they’ve considered adoption or tried a certain treatment. If a person is curious about what the couple/person has tried instead they can ask what their options are. It’s a more broad question that gives the person going through infertility the ability to have control of the conversation. They may have options they are pursuing or may have exhausted all options. The only way to know is ask rather than go to one specific option that either worked for you or someone you know.
My point is infertility and our ability to become parents is extremely complicated. We should recognize that we all have circumstances that give each couple different options. In some cases a person/couple may choose to pass on their options but in other cases the circumstances may take away any option a person/couple has to become a parent. We can’t assume that a person/couple is choosing to be childless unless we know their whole story.
I say all of this not to be bitter for those who have been able to become parents after infertility. I am grateful that people have been able to become parents because it gives those going through infertility hope that they one day can become parents. It gives me hope that future generations don’t have to go through what so many of us have dealt with. I say this to help others better connect with those going through infertility and those who never become parents. Hopefully this piece can help us better communicate with one another.
Dealing with infertility is a process. How we feel during different stages of infertility varies. There are highs lows and overall our perspective changes. One misunderstanding that members of the infertility community have is that those who have gone onto become parents may feel they know what it’s like to be childless and infertile similar to those who are childless after infertility feel. While that may seem possible on the surface the reality is very different.
From my personal experience I will say that how I felt when I was first diagnosed with being infertile and when we exhausted all of our options are very different. When I was first diagnosed in 2013 I was in shock. I was down but with options still on the table I still believed we’d become parents some way. I felt that I just needed to be patient look into options and we would go down a path to parenthood. Sure I was mourning the loss of biological parenthood which was hard but I still had hope on the parenthood front.
Last year when our pursuit of parenthood ended (by circumstance not choice) I became depressed and it nearly destroyed my life. The hope I had was gone. I had to accept the fact that we would not be parents in any capacity for any child. There would be nothing for no one that we would leave behind in this world. It’s a helpless feeling that no hard work could ever change. It was very different than my feelings/experience was in 2013.
I’m saying this not to guilt those who become parents after infertility but to explain to them that their experience is different. I’m not saying this to show that being childless or my experience is more difficult but rather that it’s different. Neither experience is easy. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for those who go through RPL even if it ends in them becoming parents. Honestly I am not sure I could have handled that.
The best thing we can do is recognize that our experiences are our own. We can’t compare experiences and think we know what it’s like cause we can’t. But we can listen to each other and learn from each other. That’s the way we can narrow the divide amongst each other.
Since I learned I was diagnosed as being infertility three and a half years ago I’ve learned there were many myths society has with infertility. The first being that infertility can almost always be cured. The second is that infertility is mostly in women. The third is that once you become a parent you stop hurting. For me what I’ve learned personally through my experience is that ending up childless doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger.
I’ll be honest one of the things that made me stubborn to give in and work towards recovery from depression was admitting to others that you can end up childless and be happy. I’ve seen many inside and outside the infertility community with children tell others they can be happy without having kids. That bothers me because I feel it ignores the challenges that comes with ending up childless (as I’m sure Parents after Infertility face). It ignores how hard it is to get to that point where you can be happy living life a again. Also if ending up childless is so great then why didn’t that person choose it? I felt I’d be doing those who end up childless after infertility a disservice by admitting that I could be happy.
Getting through this has been like running. Distance Running isn’t easy. You have to build up your strength and endurance to be able to run the distances you are training to run. There are challenges and road blocks along the way with injuries you have to work through. Same thing with living childless after infertility. You work hard to build up endurance to live life childless after infertility. Living that life doesn’t get easier you just get stronger through continuing to work at it.
I don’t look at ending up childless after infertility living a happy life as a choice. The reality for me was there wasn’t a choice it was either Adapt or Die. I maybe happy right now but it’s still challenging each day and I still have to work at it. I’ve had to change how I think and approach life. I’ve had to go from being structured and planning out life to being less structured being present and not looking too far ahead. Being someone with ADD who had to be structured to get through life that was and still is challenging.
I hope that in writing this piece others can recognize that being happy and childless doesn’t mean that we still don’t hurt or that it’s an easy life. It may seem like it got easier on the surface but what it is us getting stronger on the inside.
I’ve been sitting on writing this post for a while because I recognize it won’t be a popular opinion in the community. Though a recent piece by Pam of Silent Sorority expressed a similar opinion. My hope is that people will hear me out and won’t take offense to it.
One of the challenges people face in going through infertility is how to pay for the expensive cost of treatments. Many in the community say that infertility should be covered by insurance. Resolve and other infertility organizations advocate for infertility coverage. Advocacy day is an annual event where Resolve goes to DC to meet with elected officials to advocate for infertility with one of the topics being infertility coverage. My personal opinion is that advocacy is misplaced.
I don’t believe that infertility treatments should be fully covered by insurance. Before the rage starts at me, please here me out. I’m not against people having the opportunity to become parents. I’m against infertility being covered because it doesn’t address the issue of why infertility costs so much to treat. If infertility were to be covered by insurance the cost to fund it would be placed in insurance premiums. Thus though it would be covered the overall cost for insurance would be higher. Either way people would be paying for it.
Instead of advocating for infertility coverage we should be asking the fertility industry why does treating infertility cost so much? Now I’m not saying that the fertility industry doesn’t deserve to be fairly compensated for their work but they should at least provide an explanation of why it costs so much and what can be done to lower costs.
The way medical providers are paid now is that they charge based upon the services and/or procedures they provide. Regardless of whether the health care provided cures the patient the provider gets paid the same amount. For them the financial incentive is to conduct as many procedures as possible. This is where the major issue is with how health care is delivered today.
To me providers should be paid based upon the outcome of the services they provide (Outcome based payment model). For instance a couple who goes to an RE for an infertility diagnosis would be charged a flat fee. From there rather than the couple being charged for every IVF, ICSI or IUI administered the provider would be paid one dollar amount if no pregnancy was achieved and a high dollar amount if a successful pregnancy was achieved. This will incentivize the provider to first conduct a full proper diagnosis and second recommend the most effective treatment. The good providers would be the most highly compensated ones while the weaker ones wouldn’t be.
Overall the cost of providing infertility services would decrease thus making it more likely to be covered and lower any out of pocket costs to patients. The bonus is couples would be more likely to be properly diagnosed helping greatly in the emotional department.
So instead of advocating for infertility coverage I believe we should instead advocate for the model that providers are paid by change from a Service Fee based model to an Outcome based model. I hope this piece leads to a good dialogue and gives us all food for thought.