I’m Not a Success Story Nor a Hero

I hope this doesn’t come across as a feel sorry for me post (though it probably will and I just need to suck it up).  

The last two and a half years have been the most difficult of my life.  Finding out I’m not capable of producing sperm and thus not being able to ever have children has changed my life.  It’s changed my outlook on life from a perspective that hard work would eventually lead to things working out to one that now see’s no point in working hard.  It’s changed relationships from being strong to never being the same.  It has also led me to connect with many amazing people in a community I never knew existed.

The infertility community has been great to me.  I’ve learned so much by reading stories and following journey’s of others that can inspire future people going through infertility that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Some have had their journey’s result in pregnancies and births.  Others have moved onto adopting.  There are also those who are forgotten who have moved onto Childless/free lives.  And there are those still in the trenches who are working towards moving forward in some way.  There are too many individuals to list in this blog piece.

Recently I had a discussion with some of these great people.  The discussion was around how just because one chapter in a person’s life is bad doesn’t mean the next one will be bad.   The two other people in the discussion both recently became pregnant.  For them though infertility was a bad chapter their next chapter has the potential to be something great (I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it is for them).   I don’t begrudge them for that in fact I’m extremely happy for them as it couldn’t have happened to two better people.  

My input into the discussion was how my story was having multiple bad chapters and that I had no reason to believe a good chapter to my story would be coming anytime soon.  This chapter has been worst case scenario across the board leading to a deep depression.  The feedback I received was that Hero’s always have it the worst and that they are the strongest to overcome the challenges they face.  Obviously the feedback was given with the best of intentions (and it was greatly appreciated) to encourage me to continue to fight and that things would get better even though life is not going to look the way I want it too.

But here’s the thing, I’m no hero I never was a hero nor do I have it in me to become one.  I never wanted nor am I capable of a hero’s life.  All I wanted was a simple life where I got married to someone that I would grow old with and I would raise kids with that person.  There wouldn’t be anything more than that.  I’m not capable of more than that.  I’m just a regular guy who had to work hard just to get to that level playing field.  My success story would have been that despite the odds against me I built a simple regular life together with someone special that included us raising kids together.

The infertility community is filled with success stories with and without children.  My story is not a success story.  My story didn’t result in me becoming a parent nor has it resulted in a fulfilling childless/free life.  My story is not going to inspire anyone that they can get through infertility.  I have failed at getting through infertility.  It has defeated me.

I was reminded that my story isn’t a success recently when there was a Making Dads week held to recognize men going through infertility.  Many men were included who went through infertility and are now dads.   The men who spoke are able to offer hope to others something I can’t do.  Things like this I’ll never be able to be included in the infertility community telling me I have no place here.

Recognition that I’m not a hero and that I don’t have a success story has told me that it’s time for me to step back in the community and consider walking away for good.  My life is too much of a downer and I don’t want to bring others down who need to be lifted up.  I’ll leave the lifting up to the real Hero’s who have survived infertility and had success stories.  Plus I relate to very few people here as most have moved onto the next chapters in their lives.  Unless things change in my life and some miracle happens to me that makes my story a success there’s no reason for me to be here.  

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38 thoughts on “I’m Not a Success Story Nor a Hero

  1. hopingonhope

    **Hugs** If its of any value, I would like you to continue blogging your journey. You may not be a success story, but you also have a story that Perhaps will help someone who is struggling to heal.
    And regd those who went trhough infertility and are now on the path to resolving, I can tell you for myself at least, there is not 1 second in my life when I dont think of the children I saw in my womb but didnt get to meet. I live those broken dreams everyday, I have made peace with my past, but the hurt can never go.
    I am sure its similar for everyone here. I m really sorry for what you are going through, but know that this community is always here offering a ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Even for those who don’t end up as parents I think the stories that have value are the ones where the person/couple is at peace and happy with their lives. I’m not there nor will I likely ever be. If something happens in my life where that changes then I think it’s worth it.

      Reply
  2. Sondra

    I’m going to be tough on you G and call bullshit on this statement: “My story is not going to inspire anyone that they can get through infertility. I have failed at getting through infertility.” Inspiration is not directly linked just having a child here. You have inspired many of us, including me. While you feel like infertility has defeated you, your struggle has also inspired others. I know this may be hard for you to see and I know yesterday had to be incredibly challenging for you on top of everything else, but you ARE inspiring. And I’m okay if you don’t necessarily agree because that’s how I feel about your story. I know how much strength it takes to even get out of bed after immense defeat, but that’s strength. Incredible strength. I know most may not recognize it as strength but I do. You are still going. That’s strength.

    As you know, I’m still in the trenches, I’ve been here a long time. I don’t know if my journey will ever end with a baby. I just don’t. I don’t even know how much fight I have left in me to tell you the truth. That doesn’t mean my story isn’t going to inspire someone, right? I will personally tell you that you gave me an education through your comments on Twitter, your blog posts, and just my interactions with you. You talked about it. You shared. You gave light to a side that’s not ever talked about. Your blog posts ALWAYS made me think and I respect you, and yes even now you inspire me. Do you know just one thing you inspired me to do? Share my story! Yes. You had a huge impact on why I even decided to even share. Not only did you give me support on Facebook, but I also admired that you were able to share your story. So for you to tell me you’re not going to inspire anyone, well, I call bullshit.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Oh I definitely agree that inspiration with infertility isn’t directly linked to becoming a parent. There are many in the childless/free community who have inspired with their stories. But the difference is they’ve found happiness and fulfillment. I can’t find it.

      I appreciate you sharing how my work has impacted you. I wish I could get to the place you are but no matter how hard I try I can’t.

      Reply
  3. My Perfect Breakdown

    I echo Sondra’s words!!
    In my eyes, the fact that you are living, every single day, and doing your best means that you are not a failure! You cannot fail at something you cannot control. But you can fail at how you choose to deal with the outcome, if you want to. But, by sharing, the good and the bad, you will never be a failure – you will inspire someone else and you will let someone else know that their story is valid and has meaning. No matter how your story ends, by sharing you are breaking down barriers. By sharing you are telling someone else that their feelings are natural and legitimate. By sharing you are letting someone else know that they are not alone when their end result isn’t what they had hoped for. As far as I am concerned you belong in this community just as much as anyone else, and so many of us are cheering you along no matter what happens next. We hold you in our hearts, we hope for you to have a better tomorrow and we dream of the day that you will see the greatness you inspire in so many!

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      I’ve failed in that I’ve tried a bunch of different things to get through this and move forward but I just can’t seem to find happiness or fulfillment.

      Reply
      1. My Perfect Breakdown

        You don’t have to find happiness or fulfillment today. It may take you some time, and that’s okay. Give yourself time to grieve what you have lost – however much time you need is okay. We will all be cheering you on no matter what.

      2. gsmwc02 Post author

        I’ve tried to find it for the last 2.5 years. Last year I made a number of changes and took on different things but at the end of the day my situation was the same.

  4. clwalchevill

    Sondra and My Perfect Breakdown beat me to the punch. Look, the very definition of a hero is they don’t want the path they’ve been given. No one chooses the hard road and even fewer rise to the occasion. You having the courage to share your story and talk candidly about all the emotions evolved is extremely rare. Extremely. Rare.

    I wish I could tell you what lay ahead or what the exact path was towards a happy ending to all of this. I can’t, unfortunately, but what I can’t promise is that I’ve seen many examples of those you do find that happy ending. And I truly believe you will to.

    Thinking of you.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      It’s just that I’ve tried so hard for so long to find that happy ending that I’ve given up on it. I also don’t believe I was meant to or fit this path. It’s just not me.

      Reply
      1. clwalchevill

        You’ve touched on this before. And I know you’ve also talked about the other factors in play with choosing one path over the other.

        Frankly, I think you’re at the crossroads. It’s a sucky place to be, especially since there’s this push (internally and externally) to pick a new road and begin that journey. Thing is, you’re in the process of closing a chapter of your life. It’s hard and exhausting, especially since the ending is so painful. So instead of pushing for the next road, why not focus on healing? Be at the crossroads for a bit. It’s okay to do so. Give yourself and K time to grieve. And when it feels right, you can resume your journey.

  5. kiftsgate

    this online community is to support people. so for me you have all rights to stay. the presence of people with all sort of outcomes makes the community better and more realistic. not everyone gets out of the journey with a baby. Unfortunately I know too many that don’t.
    dont go unless you feel you are not supported as you’d like to.
    and success stories include those who manage to find some happiness in a childless life. it is not easy and I believe I would be just like you in that position but some people do manage and to me they are heros just as much as those who battle infertility for years and manage to have a baby.
    big hug.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      For me it has more to do finding happiness and fulfillment than it does becoming a parent. I can’t find it and have given up on it at this point having tried for two and a half years.

      Of course I have a right to be here just like anyone but I no longer feel like I fit here.

      Reply
  6. waitingbetweenthelines

    I’m really sorry you’re feeling this way… It suggests that you’re not at the end of your story yet because you’re still grieving and there has been no resolution. You’re still stuck in the trenches but this will not always be the case. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and something, Somehow will change… I don’t know what that will be for you… For me it was giving up on my chappy eggs and moving forward with donor eggs… It’s different for everyone and I hope in time you find your resolution.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Perhaps you are right that this isn’t the end of my story but I feel like there isn’t going to be the next chapter in my story but rather this is the chapter of my adult life that will not ever move forward.

      Reply
      1. waitingbetweenthelines

        I wish I could convey how much I understand this feeling. I’m a bit of a wordpress idiot so I don’t know how to copy links but if you go back and read a post called ‘down in the dumps’ from July last year and then another one called ‘infertility, grief and acceptance’ from June this year you’ll see a similar sentiment echoedxxx

  7. Mali

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Your story is not over. You had hope – whether for a resolution to your infertility or for adoption – over much of those last two and a half years. Right now, you’re dealing with the grief of the end of that hope. And I don’t think we realise that we did actually still have hope until that hope is gone. You haven’t yet found hope for something new, and that’s normal. I think you need to recognise that, as hard as the last few years have been, you’re really only just entering the No Kidding phase of your life. You said, “My story is not a success story. My story didn’t result in me becoming a parent nor has it resulted in a fulfilling childless/free life.” My response is, “well, of course not.” You can’t run before you walk. You have barely begun your childless/free life. And with that, at the beginning, comes a lot of grief and pain. Goodness, I was a basket case the first month or two after the door slammed on my chances of ever having children! I’m sure others who have been through this will agree.

    I said this to you privately but I’ll say it publicly too. Now isn’t the time to expect that you can be a success story or a hero, although simply being a man writing honestly about infertility and the emotions of that is pretty damn amazing if you ask me. Now is the time that you’re feeling broken and need support the most. Now is the time to learn to accept that support. Of course, I’d never force someone to stay in a community if you didn’t feel you were getting benefit from that community. But any community worth its salt will support those in need, so that eventually, in time, they can then pass on that support to others.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Over the last two and a half years I’ve done things to prepare for the possibility of not ever becoming a parent. I’ve picked up activities and made changes but adding it all up it still doesn’t bring me fulfillment. I don’t know what else I can do at this point.

      Reply
      1. Mali

        Those are the practical things. Emotionally, I believe that it is different now for you. And learning to deal with that, well … that’s hard. And you’re in the thick of it. All you can do now is learn to accept, and learn to wait. And neither of those things are easy. They’re hard. Harder than ever. Fulfilment isn’t something that comes automatically, it’s something that creeps up on you. Something too that comes and goes. Don’t expect it yet. Give yourself time.

      2. gsmwc02 Post author

        I can’t accept this and that’s the problem. I’m not sure I ever can accept it. Fulfillment is not something I’m expecting. Expecting it is just going to lead to more disappointment and I’m done being disappointed.

  8. Arwen

    Greg you have always inspired me and you still do. I believe that you always will. I have always admired your brutal honesty with your emotions regarding the incredibly shitty hand you have been dealt.
    I can completely understand the desire to step away from this community. There is a large number of ‘success stories’ at the moment and I’m acutely aware of the huge pain they can cause those still struggling or trying to come to terms with the loss of parenthood altogether (and I am acutely aware that when I tweet or blog I may well be causing pain to others.) But all this to say that I hope you don’t go. I think your blog and your voice are incredibly important and you would be greatly missed.
    You may not know how much you may be helping an unknown silent reader who might be struggling with the same path.
    My best friend used to tell me that she thought I was incredibly strong in dealing with my MRKH and I used to think “I am not strong. I have no choice.”
    You may not have a choice but you my friend are incredibly strong because, it took me years to see it, strength is not curling up and just dying when that is all you want to do. I have been there more times than I can count and still I got up again. As you do, every day. That, my friend, is strength.
    You inspire me and I have no doubt that you are inspiring others on the same path right now.
    As Mali said above of course you are not at peace with your childessness. Of course you aren’t. You didn’t choose this path and until very recently you didn’t know just how firmly shut that door would be. You have to grieve all over again. It will be painful and it will take time.
    I understand if you want to leave the community to do that. But we are all here if you want us.

    Reply
  9. Angela Bergmann

    I’m calling bullshit right here.

    Our community needs you. Point blank. Right this very second you may not be beating infertility, but that does not mean you might not beat it in the end. That you might find something to fulfill the gap. Your story is important. Especially the dark parts. Not every story ends with a happy ending, and we all need to be here for those who don’t. You being here, asking for support, and even just being a shoulder for those finding themselves in the same spot is important.

    I understand if you want to go, because it is hard to be a voice so many want to ignore. But realize there are plenty of us here that do value and listen to you. That appreciate your viewpoint. That will always stand up for your place within this community. You are an inspiration, even in the dark times. No one makes it out of this without a struggle. And for some of us that struggle is so much worse then it is for others. It might seem hard right now, but do not for one second believe those with the same ending as you that seem fulfilled did so instantaneously. It took alot of time and work for them I am sure. As it will for you. But let us be here for you in that time.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      If anything I’m learning more and more that our community has an inability to empathize. Very few people who go onto get their happiness have the ability to see any outcome for others and truly empathize. Sometimes things will never be ok for some people and that is rarely recognized.

      Reply
      1. Angela Bergmann

        I see alot of the same, which is why I think it is so critical that we not lose those who do talk about all of the outcomes. I also understand that that is a hard burden to carry. I just hate to lose such an important voice for our community.

  10. sbear2014

    I believe that, as others have pointed out, you are acutely grieving your outcome right now. As you said, you’ve given up on finding happiness right now. I don’t think anyone expects you to be happy with your outcome or excited about the next chapter right at this moment while you are grieving, days after learning this outcome. I know how painful it is to be in that place where, quite honestly, you don’t want to be happy. I’ve been there where I just wanted to be miserable and left alone to wallow in my feelings and shitty circumstances. I used to do it almost every night for a while, at varying times in my journey. I would sob in my bathtub alone at night, and push my husband away. It scared the shit out of him. I was severely depressed and didn’t want to get out, I was trapping and isolating myself. But when the grieving process is complete, when you’re sick of it, when you want help, don’t hesitate to reach out. Run away from your grief, when you’re ready to let yourself escape. You’ve seen it in others who’ve come out the other side, I’m sure. Before we had our IVF transfer, I was so scared of failure, of how I would move on and survive another failure. I was exploring ways to be okay with a childless life, I wanted to find a plan B that I was okay with but couldn’t imagine one. I came across a woman in a RESOLVE support group who shared her story, the good and bad, the darkest times, and how she finally learned to accept and move one. She sat with us for about 30 minutes after that meeting and talked about her story, and I was so inspired and felt that even if the transfers failed and I had to face a childless life and continue exploring that dark next chapter, I would be okay eventually. I know you aren’t there yet, but one day I believe you will be. I will pray for you as you deal with your depression that you find that light, that hope, and desire to continue searching for the happiness in the next chapter.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      It is very easy for someone to say they would have eventually been ok if they ended up childless when that is not how they ended up. It’s like me saying if my wife and I experienced a miracle we would have no fears and everything would be happy.

      You don’t that I will be ok. Unlike you and others there isn’t anything I have to look forward to other than lonely holidays, becoming more isolated from people I know who have moved on with their lives and not having any legacy.

      Reply
      1. sbear2014

        I didn’t say that I would be okay with a childless life, I said that her story inspired me and made me feel like I would eventually be okay, like I saw that she was. It gave me strength to move forward despite my fears. I didn’t say that I know you’ll be okay with it eventually, but I said that I hope and pray that you find the desire to continue searching for that happiness and peace once you resolve your grief.

      2. gsmwc02 Post author

        Thinking about a hypothetical and living a reality is very different. Hearing other stories may help but at the end of the day what works for one person may not work for another.

      3. sbear2014

        Very true, but I only wished to offer support and sympathy, and share my experiences with grieving and depression. I know that you’re going through a dark time and will be thinking of you. Sorry my comments were unwelcome.

      4. gsmwc02 Post author

        I apologize that you felt your comments were unwelcome. That was not my intention. I appreciate your support.

  11. Mrs T

    You don’t need to be a “success story” or feel like a hero to have great value in this community and others. You are working hard to get through this and find fulfillment (and still support others in the midst of your grief!), and that hard work will pay off. It won’t bring you a child but I am confident that eventually it will bring you peace and purpose. This chapter WILL end.

    Reply
    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      I wish I could believe that right now. This is one thing in my life that I’m not going to be able to overcome with hard work.

      Reply
  12. RemagineIt (@remagineit)

    You may see it from a different perspective but I strongly believe that your story does inspire. You speak the truth, you speak your feelings and you speak from the heart. There’s not much else more inspiring than that.

    The feelings and thoughts you have now are completely normal, and although it might be difficult to see, you may one day look back and reflect on those feelings and feel something different (if that makes any sense?).

    Reply
  13. Geochick

    Armchair psychology: I think that you are still so close to the final diagnosis and the implications of it that it’s really difficult or impossible to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Recovering takes time, and sometimes it takes a shit-ton of time. I don’t doubt that you feel defeated and are depressed by such a final diagnosis. Take care of yourself. I hope you eventually find a place of balance.

    Reply
  14. Amel

    (((HUGS)))

    After something major and permanent like this (not being able to have children), it’s going to take more time to find fulfillment again. It all depends on the person, but I reckon it’s going to take more than just one or two years to grieve properly and figure things out before one can find fulfillment again. Take your time and continue being kind to yourself.

    Reply
  15. andthewindscreamsmary

    I’m so sorry you are going through a rough time. I am still in the trenches of my journey, after losing two babies and now trying to get pregnant for months without success. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t had the exact same thoughts that you’ve listed here – the hopeless feeling, the feeling that things will never get better, the feeling that I’ve failed. I have felt all these things and it’s such a terrible place to be. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
    I don’t have any pearls of wisdom, but please remember to be kind to yourself – you didn’t ask for any of this, and unfortunately some of us get dealt really shitty hands at times through no fault of our own. We all just try to do the best we can and some days are much harder than others. None of us know with any certainty what our future holds. That’s one of the scary and exciting things about life, I guess. I hope you are able to fight your way out of the depths of sadness and grief soon, and am sending you wishes for strength and peace as you deal with this.

    Reply

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