Ok, I admit that sounds a bit overly dramatic…
But before we get to the hopeful donor egg IVF stuff, I thought we should just get this out of the way. The first post summarized everything we’ve gone through in the last 4 1/2 years (and particularly the last year) in only a few paragraphs, which really doesn’t do it justice. While teaching my first university course for the first time, I was also learning that I would very likely never have biological children.
It’s not to say that I didn’t spend multiple afternoons crying in my office, but I’m pretty proud of at least getting through it — and what I managed to accomplish in the meantime. The end of one’s fertility is a difficult time for women of any age — a part of you has died. It’s particularly difficult for women with premature ovarian failure (POF) because it’s so unexpectedly early. I never wanted to be a young mother, but we thought 31 was still young enough. Part of what makes it so hard is accepting that if we had just made different choices — started trying when I was 21 instead of 31 — we probably could have had children.
Another thing that makes it hard is the social taboo that surrounds any discussions about infertility. There are several times when my husband or I have brought it up to friends and been met with uncomfortable silence. Then we end up feeling bad for making them uncomfortable. Many people go through fertility struggles, and just like mental health, I think it is something that should be acknowledged and discussed more openly in our society. If this blog helps even one other person cope with their own struggle, or inspires even one person to donate eggs, then it’s 100% worth it.
The final thing that makes it hard is the lack of understanding from others. One thing you hear a lot is “Well, you can just adopt, right?” Of course if we managed to adopt a child (which is actually surprisingly difficult — more on that later), we would love it the exact same amount, just as we will with any child conceived if our donor egg cycle is successful. But it doesn’t mean we’re not allowed to grieve my fertility, and it certainly doesn’t make any of this any easier.
With all this said, we do understand that it could be far worse — we still have our health (otherwise), and we still have each other (although my husband might question the benefit of the latter…) We also have amazing friends, as this whole ordeal has taught us. Having Marie’s offer to donate eggs on the table is the main thing that got me through the last failed IVF cycle without becoming a chain-smoking alcoholic. (That, and I hate how cigarettes smell, so maybe that’s the wrong example). Now we just have to wait and hope that Marie aces all of her genetics tests, and that big feet aren’t hereditary!*
*Marie has extremely big feet. This was her joke, not mine 🙂