Friday, August 21, 2009

Fears of Infertility

After so many years of "IF" (infertility), my heart will never be far from the journey nor from those still walking this heartache. Recently a member of the Hannah's Prayer Community Forums posted her thoughts and fears in the early steps of realizing she was no longer just trying to conceive, but now living the realities of infertility. I will not comment further, but rather let her post speak for itself...

Since introducing myself and lurking around here a while, I've finally come to the point that I can identify what I'm feeling, and right now it's fear. I KNOW that we are to be anxious about nothing, but all of this seems so new and terrible to me that I don't really know how not to be afraid of it without ignoring what I'm fearful of, and I know that's not the answer either. I'm hoping some of you wise women will have some wisdom to share, although to be honest I'm hoping I'll magically end up with a BFP ["Big Fat Positive" pregnancy test] this month and not have to worry about it anymore. But here goes.

I'm afraid I'll be "sick." - I've always been healthy and I'm afraid of finding out that I'm really afflicted with something and spend the rest of my life seeing doctors, trying different meds, and having surgeries. I'm a nurse- I've seen this life, I've never wanted it. I'm afraid that this not-conceiving thing is just a symptom of whatever is medically wrong with me.

I'm afraid of losing my ability to love children. - All my life all I've done is work with kids. In church, at my job, in social gatherings. I gravitate towards them naturally. I'm afraid of not being able to enjoy them any more, and of losing that part of my identity, the one that's "good with kids."

I'm afraid of financial strain. - I know that we'd like to adopt, but I'd also like to start that process as soon as possible instead of using all of our resources on fertility treatments first and then having nothing left over to adopt with. This isn't really high on my list of fears, but I find myself researching adoption options already when we haven't even been to see the doctor yet. DH won't even discuss a "what if" until we've tried for "a while longer" (how long is 'a while' again?)

I'm afraid of depression. - Self-explanatory. Both my parents struggled with depression, and the pain is so overwhelming sometimes that I wonder if I'm not slipping towards it too. I really don't think so right now, but can I take years of this?

I'm afraid of being outcast. - Having to explain my status to every new person I meet. Right now it's not too hard, we've "only" been married for 2 years, after all, and I look several years younger than I am. But this can't last much longer. I'm a pretty private person (read: pronounced introvert), and I hate being known by my 'status.' It can be hard enough for me to make friends sometimes anyway. I don't want a stigma over my head too.

I'm afraid of no babies. - Obviously! But really, I always wanted 6 kids at least. Can I really handle none?

I'm afraid of a spiritual reason for IF. - Sometimes, I know God doesn't allow "good things" because of something else we'll deal with in our lives. What if I can't have kids because I'm going to die of cancer next year and God didn't want to leave my husband alone and with an orphan? I know that's far fetched, but maybe you'll understand. If I can't have kids because of something coming that would be terrible for children, I don't know if I want to go through that either.

*sigh.* That might be it. We have an appointment with my gyn soon. Hopefully we can get most of my blood work paid for by using the "irregular cycles" and "painful menstruation" card since IF labs aren't covered. Anybody know how much a SA runs?

But, to be positive too:

I'm grateful for my DH [Dear Husband] - He is kind, understanding, and (almost) totally on the same page as I am. He holds me when I'm sad and tells me we're just going to take it 1 step at a time. And he's not scared of "putting sperm in a cup" as he calls it!

I'm grateful that I've been through pain in the past - Because I have some idea how to handle rough emotions. Not the same, but helpful nonetheless

I'm grateful that we had 1 year of of marriage footloose and fancy-free before baby-making started to hang over our heads. I'd hate to have started my marriage with months of disappointment.

I'm grateful, of course, for God's grace - And try to remember to pray for the sons he wants to bring into His kingdom when I feel the pain of not having any in my life yet. I'm grateful His heart for the world hurts just as much (more, actually) than mine at the thought of the children He wants for himself. Our God knows the spirit of ALL our infirmities, and I am so grateful to know that.

Thanks ladies, for listening, and for any strength you might be able to add to my journey. It helps a lot to know that I am not alone in this battle, and to be reminded that my worth isn't based on the outcome of a child.

Kristina, thank you for your courage to put into words what so many of us have to process in our hearts and for graciously letting me share these fears with my readers.