Learning humility through infertility

Before starting to try for having a baby I was a typical person with hopes and preferences on the future babies. Had you asked me then, I would have wished for a baby girl, born preferably in January or February (to be either Aquarius or Pisces). Silly and naive, I know.

I’m not one of those people for which things are easy: I stress a lot, work hard, take things seriously. But before infertility I have always managed to have what I wanted. I studied abroad, traveled, succeeded in my studies, went successfully though grad school, found a job while being at grad school, went to conferences, met people, found a job when I decided to move in with my hubby, etc. I worked hard for all of this, and gave up plenty of more fun things I could have done. But I got what I wanted.

Love is different, because you can’t just work hard to meet the right person; you also need to have some luck. I had that bit of luck so I am very thankful for that.

When we started trying, I was so happy but deep inside I knew it wasn’t going to work. I had heard contrasting opinion about my problem of never having my period. But enough negative opinions to fear that conceiving naturally wouldn’t be easy. So I quickly got over the naive view that we’ll have a dream baby girl respecting all my wishes.

When we started looking into getting some help from technology, I made some researches and met some people who told me they had to wait for a very long time before it worked. The first person I met who had issues is a colleague who told me she had done injections to stimulate ovulation. It took her 6 months of injections and a trip to Mexico for it to work. It was nothing more than simple injections followed by sex at home, but all I thought was: 6 months? I don’t want to wait that long! What a fool. Right now I would love to have had a 6 month wait with just injections.

When we moved to IVF I looked at statistics and met people who had done several and others for which it never worked. Again I was scared by the statistics but I thought: we are not those people, it’ll work for us. Why did I think that? Why would it work for us when it has not worked for a lot of people?

I guess it was fear or denial but it is not anymore. Now we are those people. We are those people who have tried IVF and for which it hasn’t worked. Not just that, we’re also a rather difficult case according to doctors since it’s not just one of us having a problem but both. Not just that, but we both have a rather big problem. My husband doesn’t just have a bad sperm quality; he has an awful sperm quality: 1% normal shape, of which only 4% are of top quality. Can you think how hard it is to go find that one swimmer who can actually properly fertilize an egg? And as for me, I can’t even go through IVF normally, as I have bad reactions to the meds, hormonal peaks leading to bad egg quality and a huge tendency to hyperstimulations (OHSS). Because of this I have less eggs retrieved, which lowers the chances. We are the people for which it may never work. We are lucky enough to still have some chances to try before giving up, but it is a possibility I have to accept.

When my husband first proposed adoption, I thought: I want a baby of ours, not someone else’s baby, and I want to be pregnant. Then I thought about it, learned more, saw adoptive families and now I would love to adopt. It moves me to see adoptive families and I believe strongly that adoptive parents love their children just as much as biological parents. They are parents. And that’s what I want to be. But I met people for which the adoption process did not work. And we may be them too.

I don’t what is going to happen but now I stopped thinking “that won’t be me”, since now it’s pretty much the other way around. I have never been pregnant and I am very far from being so, but I am already scared of miscarrying or all the other things that could go wrong.

I don’t know if, how and when I’ll ever get to be a mother but I surely have learned some humility through this process. I have learned to be more open minded, to appreciate the gifts life gives you, the luck that some people have, my luck in having met my husband. I have learned I shouldn’t give things for granted and that you cannot just expect that everything will work out for the best. At least this I have learnt.

What else is there to learn from this process?

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7 Responses to Learning humility through infertility

  1. If only the lessons weren’t QUITE so painful. Y’know?

  2. Ah, thanks for sharing this wisdom, which is helping me to pinpoint the assumptions I’ve had along the way too. One thing I have learned, similar to this, is that I am not in control, even of my own body. I’d been fooled into thinking I was for most if my life, but that was a farce. An extremely difficultly lesson to learn but also a teeny bit freeing. Thanks for sharing this post.

  3. E v e l y n says:

    I think some of the lessons we learn are good ones, I just wish I could have learned them some other way, but maybe I wouldn’t have.

    I never thought I’d be the one who it wouldn’t work for either.

  4. I relate to your post. I think this process had taught me that I can’t control everything in life. Up until now, I have controlled everything in my life and always been lucky enough to see very far down the road. Now I’m learning to take life day by day a little more. Thinking the best for you.

  5. i, too, am an ex-pat, and i, too, have dealt with infertility issues. i just wanted to wish you luck on your journey and say that i hope you and your husband find your way to your child(ren)…whether through IVF or adoption.

  6. Jodois says:

    Your situation is twenty years in my rearview mirror, and I have to say, in some ways it does get better. Should you remain childless, as I did, you will eventually find yourself living in a way that allows you to do so BECAUSE you don’t have children. Your life is flexible, with more choices. You have time to pursue different things solely because you can, and perhaps take a more spiritual path if that helps you. Eventually you gain an acceptance of how things are, as opposed to how they should be…and yes, life is not fair. Big milestones to conquer: when you realize it REALLY IS too late and you’re no longer of childbearing age; when your friends who had children (as you stood on the sidelines) become grandparents and turn ever more inward toward their own families; losing your parents and there’s no longer a “trunk” to your family tree, let alone any branches extending from yourself. So even though you learn to get a grip, there will always be lots of “what ifs.” It’s just the way it is. But hey… I needed to learn humility and grace anyway — and there are worse ways to learn strength and courage.

  7. knalani says:

    I love your blog! This post especially felt like I was looking in a mirror. In the past 10 months, after 33+ years of getting pretty much everything we ever wanted (with lots of hard work and sacrifice, but still…), C. and I went through pregnancy loss, a serious car accident and began infertility treatment. The only lesson I can come up with is “We are not in control!” Hoping God is satisfied that we’ve learned the lesson and will bless us with a rainbow baby soon… Hugs to you and your hubby!

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