INFERTILITY...is a word that women who are planning to have a family never, ever want to hear. It’s considered a bad word. It’s a word that more often than not makes women feel inferior to their counterparts who are able to conceive. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, some women will never be able to have “a bun in the oven”.
Infertility – the inability of a sexually active, non-contracepting couple to achieve pregnancy in one year (World Health Organization).
About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States between the ages of 15 to 44 have difficulty achieving pregnancy or staying pregnant (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC).
When we are little girls, we play with our doll babies. We dress and undress them a million times. We change them into various outfits. We comb their hair. We carry them around with us everywhere we go. There are even some dolls, who are so life-like that it’s down right scary, so it’s almost like caring for a real baby. As we played house, we dreamt of being a mommy one day. For some girls, that’s all they want out of life — to be a wife and a mother. That’s it. Nothing else. However, things don’t always go as planned.
Fast forward 15 to 20 years or so. You’re at the point wherein you’re ready to start a family. You’re excited and maybe even have selected the month in which you plan to conceive Nothing happens. Susie comes the following month. You figure, perhaps, the birth control method that you had been using is still in your system. You try again, again, and again. Still nothing. Susie shows up every single month. You’ve bought ovulation kits, and still nothing. You get depressed. You’re angry. You’re hurt. You start to wonder if there’s something wrong with you. Why is it that everyone else around you seems to be able to get pregnant except you? You talk to your mate, and he reassures you that everything will be just fine. Finally, you make an appointment to see your doctor. They schedule you for a procedure to make sure that your tubes are open (hysteroscopy [to visualize your cervix], and/or D&C). The results of your procedure come back normal; everything appears to be in working order. You try, try, try and still no bun in the oven. You become so distraught and discouraged that you no longer want to participate in intimacy because of the consistent disappointment month after month.
After the allotted time period (over a year [under age 35], six months [over age 35]), you and your partner discuss in vitro fertilization (IVF [storing and transferring of embryos]) and decide to talk it over with your OB/GYN. You are told that even though this works for some people, it’s not successful for everyone. Also, you were cautioned that this could result in multiple births, i.e., twins, triplets, etc. Keep in mind this is a process, so you must be patient if you go this route (i.e., injecting of hormones, timing of the process, egg retrieval at the right time, etc.).
You check with your insurance carrier to see if it’s covered, and you find out that the infertility drugs and monitoring are covered and but not the cost of IVF. You and your partner decide to take money out of your savings account because you believe it’s worth the risk, even though you’re scared to death. What if you are in the percentage wherein it doesn’t work? You proceed anyway because what do you have to lose. After the embryo transfer, your doctor will probably perform a pregnancy test in two weeks. For more information on infertility check out the National Infertility Association at http://www.resolve.org.
At this point, you’ve done all that can be done, and still nothing. Susie has come every single month like clockwork. How is it that people who don’t even want to have children manage to get pregnant, and you’ve waited your entire life and still can’t? You know you’d make a great mother. IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!
Your inability to conceive is putting a strain on your relationship because this is all you think about 24/7. Your partner doesn’t understand, and is becoming frustrated with you. You don’t want to be touched. You don’t want to be encouraged. You don’t want to discuss your barrenness because no one understands. Everyone else has children EXCEPT YOU — or so it seems. You feel worthless — like you’re less than a woman. You feel like everyone pities you when they talk about their children and realize that you don’t have any yet. For those people who don’t know your situation, they might “insensitively” ask you “So when are you planning to start a family”? You want to run and hide. You feel the tears trying to come, but you hold them back. You respond, “One day”, and leave it at that.
Eventually, someone asks you if you’ve ever thought about adoption. You tell them you couldn’t raise anyone else’s child because it wouldn’t seem like your own. They urge you to do some research on the matter.
You’ve pondered the conversation over again and again in your mind, then you decide to look into adoption. It’s overwhelming, but for the first time in forever, you are getting excited. Perhaps, adoption wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Maybe, motherhood was still a possibility for you. You decide to look into the various agencies as well as your local Department of Social Services to see which route is best for you. After arming yourself with adequate information and even attending a support group for women who can’t conceive, you approach your partner. You’re really surprised that he didn’t need much convincing. His response was that “He just wanted you to be happy. No matter what”.
You guys go through the entire process to become adoptive parents, which seems to take forever. Finally, you are approved. Now, the day has come for you to actually meet your bundle of joy. You can’t contain yourself. You don’t remember the last time you were so happy. From the very first moment you hold your baby, it’s love at first sight. This is YOUR BABY! At long last, you’re a mother.
The reality of it is that every woman who wants to conceive will not be able to for one reason for another. Yes, it can be depressing; however, you’re not alone. Some of you will adopt while others will eventually go on with life and feel like you just weren’t meant to be a mother.
If you feel adoption is for you, it’s really a great thing. There are so many children who need parents because for one reason or another, their biological parents aren’t able to parent them. It’s perfectly okay. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
Keep in mind that genetics play a part in whatever child you become the mother of. Some people think because they adopt infants that they won’t have any issues because they’ve had them virtually from the time they were born. I hate to burst your bubble, but that’s not so. You can raise them and love them to the best of your ability but, please keep in mind, they will have their biological parents genetics. Having said that, don’t be discouraged. Adoption is a wonderful thing. You’ll be blessed and so will your child(ren).
Don’t make it a secret when you adopt. When you child is old enough, introduce them to the word. You have to keep in mind that people in your circle know, and don’t always think. Sometimes, people talk with children present, and you don’t want your child to be surprised. You want to be the first to introduce them to the word adoption, so that they understand it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You want to emphasize just how special they are. As your “little” darling grows, they may have some behavioral issues because they felt like their birth parents didn’t want them. Don’t take offense. This is normal. Unless you’ve been adopted, you couldn’t possibly understand how they feel. You can be the best parent, and give them everything their hearts desire, but some children will always feel that “void”.
Everyone has a different outlook on how the adoption process should go. Some parents don’t mind if the birth parents are in their lives while their child is young but there are others who don’t want that involvement. You have to figure out what’s best for you and your family. There really is no right or wrong decision.
There may come a time when your child desires to search for their birth parents. Again, this is normal. If they ask you questions, don’t shut them out. If they ask for your help, assist them. It doesn’t mean you were less than a parent. I’m sure they love you with every fiber of their being. However, they are curious about where they came from. It’s perfectly okay. Take a deep breath, shed a few tears, if necessary, and assist them. The fear of the unknown is quite scary for everyone who will be involved on this journey.
Just because there is no bun in the oven doesn’t mean you can’t be a mother. Weigh your options, and be happy about whatever decision you choose.