I have come to an important decision in my IF journey and that is closing the door on my pursuit of parenthood. What that means is I will not be pursuing adoption or donor conception with my wife in the near future and maybe not ever. That’s not to say that things can’t change and that door couldn’t reopen but for now it will remain closed.
How I came to this point is due to the fact that this pursuit of parenthood has become a distraction and obsession for me. It’s weighed heavily on my personal life most importantly marriage. It’s caused me to lose sight of the thing that is most important to me in this world and that is my wife. This hurts me more so than my inability to conceive a child with my wife. It’s something that those who have never gone through infertility would understand. The effect it has on that individual is sometimes recognized but the impact it has on that person’s spouse or partner is almost never thought of on the surface. I’ve been a miserable person and no other person has felt that more than my wife and she deserves better than that.
Regardless of whether or not we become parents I desire to be with my wife for the remainder of my time on this planet, however long it is. I need to be a better husband and partner than I do becoming a parent. I’d rather be childless with my wife than a single dad. That’s not to say that I’ll be happy or lead a fulfilling life childless. Right now I doubt that I would. But the chances of happiness and fulfillment are better with my wife than without her.
The goal for me was for us to become parents together not for me to be a parent by myself. That wouldn’t be something I could live with. I couldn’t imagine my life without my wife. She has had more of an impact on my life than anyone besides my parents.
I know there will be some (not all) people in the adoption and donor conceived communities that are happy to read/hear that we won’t be pursuing parenthood in the near future. They are glad to know that we won’t be contributing to what they feel are flawed systems. What they need to recognize is that I don’t
give a shit care what they think about the decisions my wife and I make. As much as I appreciate them sharing their experiences (which I am empathetic to), providing feedback and their kindness I won’t let them shame me into making decisions that impact my families lives. When they walk in our shoes then they can judge our decisions. I don’t need their approval or support on the decisions my wife and I make in our lives. The only people we need approval from are ourselves. The decisions we make are our own.
Are these people going to be there for me when we’re hurting from infertility? No. Are they going to be there for me if living childless becomes more difficult than I can handle? No. These people have their own agenda’s and issues in their lives that they are working through and I respect that. But you know who will be there for me? My wife. I will be there for her as well. That much I know.
The below picture is of me at Luxembourg Gardens in Paris when my wife and I went with my in laws in December of 2009. The picture has significance because its the exact spot that I proposed to my wife on March 5, 2006. I like to joke with her that its where I gave my life away. But the reality is its where I began the next chapter in my life. Whatever that chapter is in my life I want my wife to continue to be as important a part as she has been since she became a part of it over 13 years ago. I don’t want to be by myself as I am in this picture. Closing the door on my pursuit of parenthood for now will prevent myself from being alone. If I am privileged to become a parent the pursuit of it will be with my wife not on my own. I need to get back to what’s most important in my life right now.
In the last few weeks I’ve thought about this topic as my outlook begins to take a different direction. Have there been any positives in my life that have come with my infertility? The answer is yes……
1) I’ll never have to get a Vasectomy. For years my wife used to joke with me that after we were
finished having children I would have to get “snipped”. I used to cringe as most guys do when
it comes to anything with that part of the male anatomy. Well that’s no longer necessary.
Even though my boys have failed me, they get to remain in tact.
2) I’ve become educated on three topics that I never really thought about: Infertility, Donor
Conception and Adoption. Infertility is something I never thought would affect us (little did i
know). Donor Conception I thought was something that single women and lesbian couples
used to have children, never thought there were heterosexual couples out there that went that
route. Finally I can’t say enough good things about people in the adoption community I’ve
connected with. There are so many of them that I could probably write a full blog piece
thanking them (one day I will). Prior to the last few months the only thing I knew about
adoption is that my close friend from high school and a bunch of kids in my town I grew
up in were adopted.
3) It’s forced me to become a more open minded person especially in my marriage. I’ve had to
learn to become more patient and communicate better with her. While we’ve always had a
great relationship (You don’t stay married for almost six years and stay together for
over 13 years if you don’t) we had room for improvement. In the long run I think we’ll
benefit from it.
With that being said it doesn’t change the fact that IF SUCKS. It doesn’t change the fact that we’ll never have a biological child that is related to both of us. Nor does it take away the life long grief that will never leave me. But maybe there is a silver lining in all of this. Only time will tell.
Six months ago today our lives changed forever. It was six months ago that I had my first sperm analysis done as part of the testing my wife and I went through to find out why after 18 months of trying that we were unable to conceive a child. Three hours after I gave that sample I received a call on my cell phone at work from our Reproductive Endocrinologist. I was worried when I saw the number come through on my cell phone as she had told my wife and I that she would only call us if there were any issues prior to our follow up appointment. She informed me that the test results showed a zero sperm count. That’s right in the word’s of Dean Wormer “Zero point Zero“.
It was over the next three weeks after another analysis and blood work that I would learn that I have non obstructive azoospermia. What that means for us is that due to a genetic condition I am unable to produce any swimmers and there is nothing that can be done. I can’t begin to explain what that felt like to learn that. There are other men who due to testicular cancer or other diseases and illnesses ended up with non obstructive azoospermia. But in my case there is no explanation for it other than it happened when I was conceived. That was the hardest part for me. At least if I had some disease or something physically wrong with me it would be easier to understand. Instead for some unknown reason I will never be able to conceive a child with my wife. I’ve asked myself many times what we did to deserve this. I look at the many sub par parents out there where the children suffer and wonder why us, who are caring people lack the ability to bring a child into this world while they are.
The mental and emotional toll this has taken on me is difficult to describe or put into words. I have battled depression and the roller coaster of emotions that come with infertility. I’ve broken down more times than I ever thought I would. I have not been a pleasant person to be around and the person who is felt the brunt of my emotions is the person I care more about than anyone on the planet. One of the few good things to come out of this it’s that my marriage and relationship with my wife is stronger than its ever been. She is a saint for putting up with me (even under normal circumstances) while dealing with her own feelings on our situation. I can’t take back the things I said that I would rather not disclose but I can learn from them and be a better husband and partner.
For me this experience ties into the idea that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. No I am not glad this has happened. I would still trade most of what I have (excluding family) for the ability to conceive one child with my wife. But I have learned a lot about myself and two topics that I don’t think I would have ever thought about (Infertility and Adoption).
As I look back at my first post on this blog I recognize how ignorant I was on adoption three months ago. Knowing what I know now I am actually embarrassed to read it. I’m glad that we did not pursue adoption at that time because it would have been a mistake to do so when I understood very little about adoption (I still have a lot to learn about it). I also wasn’t emotionally ready, which I’m still not. Though I am getting closer to feeling ready.
As I have said in past posts, I believe in the idea that everything in life happens for a reason (though I am not religious). Though I am not sure why nature handed me these cards right now, I hope to one day find out to make better sense of the last six months.