It’s National Infertility Awareness Week 2020, which Mike and I thought was as good a time as any to provide a blog update on our fertility journey.
Since first blogging about our infertility back in December 2018, Mike and I have been quite open about trying to conceive and then—trying to adopt—to our friends, family, co-workers, and on social media.
It’s now been six years since we started trying to have a baby. We still don’t.
Reflecting back on the last six years is really quite a mixed bag of emotions.
There is no doubt Mike and I have had a wonderful life together. Over the years we’ve grown our fur family, we’ve grown our careers, we’ve gone on many vacations, created many amazing memories and have generally, truly been quite happy.
But at least once every month for the last 72 months, we’ve also felt deeply low.
Typically around the time I get my period, which is a regular reminder that we’re incapable of conceiving.
But also at unexpected times throughout the year—when there’s a heartwarming family scene in a show or movie, when a pregnancy announcement pops up on social media, or we hear stories or see photos of friends and family members with their kids, just to name a few examples.
I remember we were seated next to a family once on a flight and the kids kept very sweetly trying to talk and play with us. It was simultaneously the cutest and most heartbreaking moment.
When you’re struggling with infertility, you just don’t know what seemingly innocent or simple, kid/family-related thing will hurt you.
Choosing to Adopt
After three failed IUI (intrauterine insemination) procedures, Mike and I chose to pursue adoption instead of IVF (in vitro fertilization) as the next step in our journey.
From a financial perspective, choosing to adopt worked out to about the same cost as doing one IVF procedure. The key difference, or main appeal of adoption for us, was that adoption is somewhat more of a “guarantee” that we’d eventually get a baby, even if it’s not biologically ours. Dropping $10,000 on the *chance* of getting pregnant through IVF was not a path we wanted to go down—at this time.
The mental toll that three failed IUIs has on you, we imagined it would be significantly worse with IVF, and not just the mental toll, but the physical and financial toll the procedure would have as well, especially if it failed.
Another reason we chose to adopt is because we know there are babies and kids out there who need families to care for them because their birth parent—for whatever reason—isn’t able to in the way the child deserves. We know we will love our baby, and that it will be our baby, whether it is biological or not.
We understand everyone’s feelings on adoption or IVF are different. And each perspective is valid.
This is just what felt like the right choice for us. We have not ruled out IVF. But we felt that trying adoption first made more sense for us and our specific situation.
We started the adoption process in late July 2019 and as of writing this post April 2020, we still have two steps left to complete before we can be added to the adoption wait list. The adoption process—like our attempts to conceive—has taken much longer than we thought it would.
The two-day adoption workshop we attended as part of the adoption process was really enlightening for us. It’s something I may still blog about separately because we learned SO much. But for this post, I’ll say it made us think about things we hadn’t necessarily considered, or at least verbalized, before.
For instance, there was an exercise in the workshop where couples were asked to rank the level of “loss” they felt for different scenarios, like coming to the realization that by choosing to adopt we are closing the door (at least for now) on having a baby that is biologically ours, or ranking the loss of friends—because for many couples facing infertility, it’s a very real situation that they end up losing friends because it’s either too hard to be around friends who have kids when you don’t, or how you hang out changes—of course you’d want to spend more time with others who have kids that can play with your own kids.
Coming to terms with our infertility
When we first opened up about our infertility, we received such a wide range of responses. Couples sharing their struggles, their successes, their advice. It was so helpful to know we were not alone, but also shocking and sad to see that conceiving was such a challenge for so many.
Something that was shared with us a few times was that some couples who couldn’t conceive just eventually “came to terms” that kids were not “in the cards for them.”
At the time, we couldn’t imagine reaching a point that we would think—and accept—that kids would not be part of our future. But six years into this fertility journey, with each day that passes, we’ve found we are coming to terms that there is no reason why we’re infertile (just that we are) and that we still don’t have a child (even adopted), and that it may still be a very, very long time until we get a baby—if we do at all.
It’s hard that we now “get” how other struggling couples came to these terms too.
Life must go on.
We tell ourselves it’s okay, it’ll happen when it’s meant to happen, or maybe it will never happen… and what started at first as something we would say just to try and cope and make ourselves feel better, turns into something we start to actually believe.
Maybe we’ll just be fur parents (we LOVE our fur kids and will always have fur babies in our lives!), maybe we’ll just be aunts and uncles (we love our nieces and nephews!), maybe we’ll get on the adoption list and a birth parent will pick us right away, maybe we’ll be on the list for a very long time, maybe we’ll try for IVF in a few years, maybe we will have a baby soon, maybe we will never have a baby.
We know there’s still lots of life left to live.
But who knows what that life will look like one, two, five, ten, twenty years from now.
Mike and I still so desperately want to be parents. We want to have kids. We want to give so much love to this baby (babies) we don’t have yet. But six years in, our hope is draining… a bit. We think that’s… fair.
I hope my next infertility / adoption blog post update is a lot happier!
But I also just don’t know—if or when that will be.
Photos by: smcrory.photography
Infertility Awareness Week
We still believe there is so much value in talking openly about our infertility struggles. To be very honest and even educate those in our lives. To show that our lives are not perfect (no one’s is, no matter how good it looks). To remind others they are not suffering alone. And to remind others that the loved ones in their lives may be suffering silently and your well-meaning, well-intentioned questions or comments might be more hurtful than you think.
Infertility affects in 1 in 6 Canadian couples.
It is very likely someone in your life is dealing with infertility.
They just may not be comfortable sharing that with you yet.
These annual “weeks” are meant to provide support and empowerment for those who are struggling, and also highlight and change the conversation and stigma around infertility.
Being there to listen—if they choose to share—trying to understand or being compassionate and empathetic to the pain, and the range of emotions, that a couple with infertility may be dealing with, can really mean a lot.
So that wraps up this fertility/ adoption journey update!
If you want more as-it-happens updates, I do have an Adoption Instagram Story Highlight you can view.
If you want to share your own story, have a question, or a comment, feel free to leave one below, or message me. As I said, I believe there’s value in being open about this.
And I do truly hope our next update is a happy one!