When I was a child, I dreamed of becoming a mother someday. My sister and I would often play with our baby dolls—feeding them, dressing them, and rocking them to sleep. I wondered what my future child would be like. Would she resemble me? Would she enjoy the same activities? Never in my thoughts did I consider my dreams would be shattered or I would suffer heartbreaking pain and loss.
Becoming a parent is supposed to be easy, right? Unfortunately, for many, the road to parenthood is paved with unexpected obstacles. Some discover they are unable to get pregnant. Others, like myself, cannot carry a baby to term. But no matter the challenges, infertility takes a toll on your mind, body, and soul. It’s not an easy road to travel, and it can be very difficult to let go of the life you have imagined and come up with a new plan. How do you know when it’s time to move on? How do you accept that giving birth may not be the way you’ll form your family?
There are no easy answers. Only you know what’s right for you. What I can tell you from experience is to trust your intuition, and let your heart lead the way. After my first miscarriage, I spent the next several months in a state of utter despair. My body had failed me. At times I even believed I had failed my husband and myself. Deep down I knew that losing our baby was not my fault, but I still felt responsible anyway. Anxiety, panic attacks, and depression took over my life. And for a while, I didn’t know if I would ever recover.
When I did finally resolve my grief, friends and family encouraged us to get pregnant. But I knew it wasn’t time yet. I wasn’t ready to go through the process all over again, and I couldn’t bear the thought of losing another child. So instead, I focused on other areas of my life until I felt ready to try again.
The second time, I was emotionally stronger and more prepared. I knew the risks. I knew the possible outcomes. And I was aware of the intense emotions I could experience if I lost another baby. I was ready to take a chance and hope that everything would work out this time.
It didn’t. Once again, I miscarried. I was devastated. How could this happen again? I cried many tears and went through a wave of emotions—disappointment, anger, sadness, and frustration. My family felt sorry for me. I told them not to. Along with my grief, another emotion had emerged: fierce determination. I would become a mother someday. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew it would happen. I would make it happen.
This is the point where my soul searching began. I wanted to be a mom more than anything. I had already suffered two losses and the unbearable pain that followed. What were my options? What was the right choice for my family and me? My husband and I discussed trying again. Because I tested positive for two clotting antibodies, I would need to inject myself in the stomach with Heparin throughout my pregnancy and also take aspirin. My pregnancy would be considered high-risk, and I would need to regularly see my OB/GYN, a perinatologist, and a rheumatologist. In addition, I would have an increased risk of preeclampsia, preterm labor, and bleeding problems during delivery. And, of course, there were no guarantees. As much as I wanted to be a mother, this option just didn’t feel right. I had been through enough physical suffering and emotional upheaval. Did I really want to put myself through that again? Did I need to give birth that badly?
For me, the answer was no. I knew that somewhere out in the world, a child needed a home. My dream was never to carry on my genes or the family name. It wasn’t necessary to have a child who looked like me or shared my mannerisms. What I wanted most was to be a mother to a precious child. I wanted to love, care for, nurture, and encourage another life. Adoption seemed like the natural choice.
When you get to the point of reconsidering your options, it is never an easy decision. Moving from infertility to adoption isn’t as simple as “We’ll just adopt!” My advice: be sure you’re ready. Before you can move forward, it’s important you resolve your grief over your infertility and/or losses. Adoption doesn’t cure infertility. Your child will no doubt bring you immeasurable joy. But he or she can never eliminate your pain. That is something you carry with you, and only you can find the path to healing.
My husband and I spent seven long years trying to become parents. Although excruciating, I’m glad we trusted ourselves and the process. All our tears, struggles, and soul searching led us to the decision that was right for us. We are now proud parents of a happy, healthy daughter.