Why those who are Infertile go to extremes

I’ve written about this topic in a number of posts about what drives people to become parents. When you add the infertility obstacle it pushes a person and couples to go all out to become parents. It can make a person do things that others who have never gone through infertility could never understand.

Earlier this week I came across an article via one person I follow on twitter (where I get most of the great resources I share) it was about a couple who went through infertility. There was a sort of happy ending to the story as her and her husband were able to conceive a child via IVF but were unable to have a second child. In the piece the woman who wrote it discusses their battle with IF, the challenges they faced and how the tough decisions they had to make. It’s a truly heartbreaking piece that anyone who was just diagnosed with infertility should share with friends and family.

The part of the piece that I really identified with was towards the end of piece where she wrote about why people go through so much to have children and become parents. Here is what she said that really stuck out:

Why do people keep trying? Why do they put themselves through so much?

My answer: It’s more than wanting a baby. It’s wanting to fit in, wanting to graduate through the stages of life, wanting to fulfil the dreams of marriage and family, wanting some piece of yourself to remain after your death.

It’s also about being caught up in the medical regimen — remembering to take your medication, give yourself an injection, chart your temperature.

It’s the biological time bomb ticking away, threatening to blow up the entire plan, hammering its steely message into your head: you can’t, you can’t, you can’t. It’s holding on to the hope that maybe if you persist, maybe you still can.

It had me thinking about on therapy session I had last year where my therapist told me about a woman who went through 19 IVF cycles. Forget the cost of those 19 cycles, the emotional toll and physical toll of those cycles are something I can’t comprehend. But I understand what was driving this person to do that.

I understand why people go to the extremes K and I were never comfortable to become parents. For me I feel the exact same way this woman did about wanting to fit in, not graduating to the next step in life and most importantly wanting a piece of ourselves to remain after our deaths. That is what is still driving me to work towards becoming a parent one day.

I’ve had people both in my personal life and on the internet who’ve told me they know people who went through infertility, ended up childless and led happy fulfilling lives. To which I say BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT! Sure these people whose circumstances not choice left them childless found a way to survive and seem happy on the surface but deep down their infertility wounds are with them forever and impact their lives forever.

As a society those who had no issues whatsoever conceiving their children need to recognize what infertility issues do to individuals and couples. They need to see what doesn’t make sense to them is something very real for another person and/or couple. But I fear that w/out having gone through the experience, they’ll never recognize it.

15 thoughts on “Why those who are Infertile go to extremes

  1. fulloflove83

    I agree fully. Infertility is something you can only empathize with until you experience it yourself. Only then can you truly grasp why ‘the infertile people’ do what they do.

  2. jlbf4

    My blog, Ever Upward http://www.jlbf4.wordpress.com, is all about this exact journey. I disagree that I can’t lead a happy fulfilling life after failed IVF and accepting a childfree life, but it is a happy and fulfilling life that is forever changed and different than I had hoped or imagined. You are completely right in that it is something that has forever changed me, as it is a forever, lifelong loss. But I have choose, sometimes every minute of every day, to make it a better, happier life.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Great blog. My wife has a similar mindset that you do. If we decide to remain childless she will be ok and feels she can still lead a happy fulfilling wife. It makes me feel guilty that I don’t believe I would and she feels that she’s not enough for me. It couldn’t be further from the truth. To use an analogy my wife is the main course in my life whereas the child would be the dessert that would complete the mean (life) for me.

      1. jlbf4

        I love this analogy! Thank you! I think each of us have to figure out how to be okay with whatever the outcome may be, but we also have to do a version of this work as a couple, together. Whatever the journey to it, through it or the result, the IF journey is brutal. Sending strength your way! J

  3. Lorraine Nowlin

    Interesting topic. I have fertility issues, tried for three years before not only getting pregnant but carrying to term with medical help. Recently, I counted the cost of my various treatments over the years and I was shocked at the amount of money I spent on what most people achieve for free. If it comes easy, one may not understand. I “did what I did” after realizing that anything we consider important is worth going after. Why should I spend thousands of dollars on a car, hundreds of thousands on a house but won’t spend money to become a mother? That helped me to move forward.

  4. journeyformybaby

    I agree. no one understands it fully unless they’ve been through IF. I also know that during our IF struggle, DH and i probably looked happy and somewhat accepting in our childless state but that was so far from the truth!! Its just so hard for fertile people to grasp the concept of how out of place people who are childless by circumstance, not choice, feel. its awful!

  5. Dreaming of Diapers

    They won’t ever get it. This is coming from someone (me) who’s sister “accidentally” got pregnant twice…ON birth control. True. Story. She doesn’t get it. We go to extremes…because we want that happiness that we see..in others eyes. I understand you and, as you know, we are all here for you. I know it doesn’t make it any better. And it doesn’t help you fit in…but you are not alone….simple as that friend

  6. kiftsgate

    I also agree it’s really hard to fit in as a couple who is childless by choice. I also find that in infertility there are so many ups and downs. Sometimes it’s ok and I feel I can be happy despite it all, other times I can hardly get out of bed because I can’t face this life.

  7. Carole

    I honestly don’t care about fitting in. I just want to have a child. I want to have someone other than my husband to care for, I want the messy house, the bath time water splashing everywhere, being tired at the end of the day from running after someone that can make you happy and exasperated at once. I do believe I can live a happy life if we were not to have children, I believe it’s like all the other misfortunes in our lives we learn to cope, patch our wounds and keep going forward.

  8. Whole Belly

    I agree, people can’t fully understand all the extremes unless they’ve experienced infertility as well. And I can definitely identify with wanting to move on to the next stage of life. For years I’ve felt so stuck in every part of my life b/c of IF.

  9. Joanne

    I totally understand the whole wanting to fit in and graduating to the next stage in life. I would feel left out when I was at family gatherings and everyone but me had their kids to attend to. I felt like I wasn’t a full adult yet because I didn’t have kids. However when I realized that there would be a very good chance that I would never have kids I realized that I had to change the direction of my life. I felt like I’d placed my life on hold in preparation for this event that might never happen.
    I fully believe that I can live a happy life without kids. I have to because if I dwell on what I didn’t get I’ll make myself miserable and I don’t want to be miserable. I still struggle with coming to terms with childlessness and for some reason it’s important for me that other people know that I didn’t choose to be childless. One thing I’ve learned about this journey is that the way I feel today may not be the same way I feel months from now.


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