Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Minority

If you are still in the TTC trenches, you may want to skip this post. Please take care of yourself.

When I first figured out I was infertile, I felt a deep sense of isolation.  Especially after my miscarriage. Of course, at the time, many friends were already pregnant and some already had children. I was one of the few in my circle who was trying without success. There was so much shame, embarrassment, and envy. Every time I secretly found out someone I knew was also infertile, it felt like a covert mission to let her know, "Me too! Me too!" The blogosphere became my safe place. It also became the source of several very close friendships that remain so crucial for me to this day. But the source of that closeness always has a hint of sadness. Because, when you make friends under such awful circumstances, there is that sense of knowing that the issue that brought you close remains, on the back burner.

Then, there was Little Fab. With our miracle baby, we agreed to hope for/try for at-least-one-more miracle, to make our family complete. We both have siblings. We want a sibling(s) for LF. Done.

As I adjusted to motherhood, some of that isolation from infertility went away. My focus was totally changed, and the kind of support I needed was as well. Instead of needing to crawl my way through infertility, I could put all of that on hold. I could focus on becoming the parent I want to be and on raising my sweet boy without worrying about injections, ultrasounds, and procedures. For the last two years, I've enjoyed leaning on both my existing circle of fantastic friends, as well as many new ones, in the best way. To feel a part of the community I so desperately wanted to join has been an amazing blessing.

But, lately I've been feeling some of that loneliness creeping back in. As more and more people I know (both infertile and not) have had or are pregnant with their second (and sometimes third) child, I find myself entrenched in self-doubt, uncertainty, and isolation. Again.

There are a few levels to these emotions. On the surface, there is the obvious: I am still infertile. I do not ovulate. My ovaries are ridiculously dormant without injectable medication. My PCOS did not magically resolve after the birth of my boy. Really, nothing has changed on that front. Secondly, we are lucky enough to have some frozen embryos in storage. But, there is no guarantee that an FET will work. It is all a taxing, emotional, physical gamble. Thirdly, there is also a new financial consideration to this, thanks to changes to my insurance. (Even though I live in a state where infertility coverage is mandated, that does not mean we do not have huge deductibles and fees.)

But, those aren't the core issue.

The real problem is that I am not 100% sure I can do this again, or that I want to. I may be imagining this, but somehow I feel like because I am an infertile, I am supposed to want as many children as I can possibly carry. I am supposed to go right back into the game, blazing with enthusiasm.

Except, I'm not.

Having LF has been the most rewarding and amazing experience of my life. I love this kid with my entire heart. He is a piece of me, walking running around on two legs. He is smart, beautiful, funny, charming, and everything else you could want in a child.

But, I have no words for how much I underestimated how tough parenting would be - especially the first year. There was reflux. There were no naps. There was crippling postpartum depression and anxiety. There is STILL postpartum anxiety. There was a deep sense of losing myself and not knowing how to get myself back. I ended up back in intensive therapy and worked very hard to regain some semblance of a normal life.

As LF has gotten a little older, many of those issues resolved. He felt better. I felt better. Life stabilized and has actually gotten really fun.

We are happy.

What if adding another baby fucks all of that up? What if I fall back into that hole? What if there is not enough of me to go around?

I feel like the clock is ticking, too. If we start the FET process next spring (the current plan), LF will be around 4 (maybe a little less, maybe more) when another baby is born, assuming it is successful. That is less age difference than my sister and I have, but more than many first and second siblings. Will they get along? Will they hate each other? Again, you never know. We are constantly asked, "So when are you going to go for #2?" Like we are not meeting the schedule we are supposed to be on.

I'm embarrassed to admit these feelings and certainly know how lucky I am to have what I have. I know so many people don't have a choice about this. But there it is. Every time we are on the playground (or with friends with more than one kid) I see mothers doing it - spreading their love, attention, and energy to multiple children. I constantly sit and ask myself how they do it. How do they look so together? How are they standing without an IV of caffeine?

I feel really alone with these emotions, like I am once again in the minority. Most moms want another baby. Most infertiles would kill to have another. Right?

So what the hell is wrong with me?


  1. Aww, big hugs! Nothing is wrong with you! And I don't think that you can make a wrong choice. You will make two kids work even if it's tough at times. And you will love your kids. But you don't have to have more kids for any reason; because you have siblings, because most people do, because you have embryos or insurance, or infertility. You have to do what feels the most right for your family.

    It was very hard for me to come to grips with only having one, but accepting it allows me to get excited about knowing for sure that I will not be pregnant at x possible date in the future and that I don't have to worry about anything associated with having a baby.

    It doesn't make the envy go away completely, but I'm able to live in the happiness of the moment.

    I really don't think you will regret any choice you make.

  2. First, so glad you decided to post this! Second, I know I want more kids BUT I am so terrified of doing that first year again that every month that I turn out not pregnant again...I'm a tiny bit relieved, because I have just a little bit longer to come to terms with dealing with a 2nd baby. As the months pass and we creep farther and farther away from my ideal age gap, sure I'm upset, but again, that first year was fucking tough and you're not crazy for not wanting to do it again. All I can think when I look at my kid now though is that it was such a short period of time that was awful and he's so cool now that I know I have to do it just for him to have brothers or sisters. That's not to say that everyone should do it, if you don't want more than you definitely shouldn't! But there's definitely nothing wrong with you, I think we're all crazy for wanting to do it again, not the other way around!!!

  3. Thank you Thank you Thank you for posting this. You and I are kindrid spirits. I too have all of those doubts and worried. I feel like I am a freak for not jumping right back on the bandwagon of TTC. I feel alone...most of the time (except for now with you). Know you aren't the only one with these feelings, infertile or otherwise. There are some of us with either reservations OR resolve to remain a mom to one. You have time before Spring to really feel out what you want. Things may change or they may not and you can make decisions then. Just be open and honest with yourself and it will become clear eventually. You are a wonderful mommy to Fab and if he is it for you, that will be enough. The toughest part is the uncertainty. I feel like if I could just become SURE about SOMETHING I would be at peace. I wish that for us both.

  4. First of all, I think many many people are nervous about tryin for number two because one was such an adjustment.

    Even many fertiles I know wait 3-4 years between kids.

    For myself, I know I always wanted two. I may have not been 100 percent ready when trying but given my if history and starting so late in life (that I regret) I figure I will work through these feelings during pregnancy. I was nervous and elated when we got pregnant so fast, but already I can feel myself changing to welcome this baby into our lives.

    A lot of moms have told me, there is no bigger adjustment than zero to one. So I figure I've already done the tough work. I feel like I could be better prepared for two. I was nervous too because of my pp anxiety, but... I crawled out once and I think I could do it again.

    I guess I'm just as scared as you are, but I jumped in head first to keep the newborn years as close together as I could. Also, when Everleigh was a newborn, that time felt like an eternity, but looking back, it was such a short time.

    I'm glad you posted this! Maybe the parenting after infertility moms of two could shed some light on their feelings.

  5. I have so many things I want to say regarding this. I don't know why people feel they have the right to comment on our families size. Whether we choose to live child free or have 10 children (although sometimes it annoys me but it's an infertile thing) people always feel like they should comment. The number of people who said to me straight after Molly was born "when are you having number 2!" was astounding. Also, just because you can does that mean you should? I know plenty of people that have had more than one baby and seriously just because their ovaries work doesn't make them good parents. They should have stopped at one. All the reasons you described are perfectly valid reasons for having one. There are a lot of advantages to having one - especially the fact they get 100% of your love and attention. The age gap - try not to think of that. Make the decision at your leisure and if you truly feel ready then go for it and if you don't know you have a tonne of support at your door stop. Right now I am seriously contemplating my last IVF. I am a great mum and Molly was a breeze but I don't know if I can keep going through all of this just to get one more. And I am actually REALLY happy right now with Molly. She is awesome. I have become a parent. I am a mum! Whilst I would love to do it all over again it isn't the end of the world if it doesn't happen again. Great post!

  6. Finally have internet and can comment. Lady, stop beating yourself up about these feelings! Every good parent goes through this when they are deciding whether to expand their family or not. Frankly, I think it's healthy and an excellent sign as it shows you care. In addition, you have the added burden of undergoing fertility treatments with a toddler. Seriously, not an easy task and one that involves all of you as you move forward.

    I will say this: each child is different. I'm reminded of this daily with the Beats as they definitely are developing differently. Challenges we face with each of them can be different as are the worries. In short, all you went through with LF (reflux, sleep, etc) may not be an issue the second time around.

    So, stop beating yourself up. And know that what ever decision you come to, it will be the right one for your family. And we are here to support you.

  7. Nothing is wrong with you! I have three kids and the hardest decision was for number two, a child is born with a great deal of love, he brings it into the world and it is impossible to neglect the first child. And it is NEVER AS HARD as the first time, believe me.
    If you have the desire you have to have another child the fear goes away very quickly, love remains.
    I have three boys and all are wondering when we will try with a girl ... I hate it that never ends ...
    You must do as YOU wish.
    Kate from Slovenija

  8. The same thing that's wrong with me. We've put our bodies through hell and aren't that keen on doing it again, and we love our lives just as they are now, so aren't in a hurry to change them.
    Makes perfect sense to me!
    PS - sorry for the long lurk and silence. I've been reading along the whole way...

  9. We were fortunate to get built in siblings thanks to twins, but hubby has talked about wanting another. While there are times when I can imagine myself pregnant again, I honestly have no desire to battle infertility again either. Anyway, I hear you.

  10. Wow. I have been thinking and feeling the exact things. I am envious of others having second or more babies but at the same time, my husband and I think that maybe we missed our window. We're older and tired and don't know if we can return to the baby phase. Plus, my son just turned 5 and would be much older than a sibling. And my son is great! So energetic, funny, and about to start kindy. Throw in the fact that we'd need to find another surrogate, the cost, etc., and it seems so undoable. But we have 5 embryos frozen :-/ Tough, tough, tough decision.

  11. I have not made it to the "other" side. But we always wanted only one child. That may change but I think it is reasonable to want to give it some serious thought before charging ahead. Always follow your heart.

  12. I totally get where you are coming from, however, our experience was slightly different. Adjusting to motherhood the first time was hard, but I didn't have it nearly as hard as you did. If I had, we wouldn't have transferred our two frozen embryos when my son was just 15 months old. He has been a very easy child all around, and I have not had any postpartum depression or anxiety. We always knew we wanted at least two, and we wanted them to be two years apart in age.

    Well, we are having twins. Yep, both embryos took - the chances of that happening with a FET are very small, but it happened to us. We put two back with our first fresh transfer and only got our son, so we didn't think twins was likely. Our doctor gave us a 20 percent chance of twins - very low. Honestly, when I found out, I cried and secretly hoped one would "vanish." I thought I had messed up our perfect family. We did not want twins.

    Our three will be just two years apart. Our boy/girl twins are due in November, a month after our son turns two. While I am still terrified of what it will be like, I have a good support system in place and I realize how incredibly lucky we are to be in this position. I love these new babies now - I know this will be incredibly hard, but I am glad it is working out this way.

    You will know what is right for your family. If your feelings don't change by Spring, don't sweat it. Many, many families are happy with one child. That is absolutely fine and wonderful. You can always change your mind later.

    If I could go back in time, we would not have transferred our two this year. They were frozen in the same straw, so we had no choice but to transfer them together unless we didn't care about destroying one, which we did. I would have waited until our son was 3 if I had known we would end up with twins on the second time around - but I definitely would have still done the transfer.

  13. Hello!

    I want you to know that you are so not alone! I am still deep deep in the trenches of I.F. and have never managed to conceive. But I still have days where I look at myself in the mirror and wonder if I'm nuts. Where I wonder why the apathy is settling in and where all the joy and excitement about making a baby went. What if I just don't want this enough anymore? How do people try for ten years?! I am ready to throw in the towel after two.. JUST when we are really starting to hunker down into treatment. It is so so SO hard. Not racing in guns blazing all the time is normal.

    Emotionally, I.F. was a hard journey for you. Of course diving back into the shit storm after you have finally emerged and had a breath of fresh air seems unpalatable! Know that whatever you decide will feel right in the end. Your life will be yours and you'll love it to bits! At least that's what I keep telling myself. Hang in there! You'll figure it out, what's right for your family will be something only you can know.

    I am so glad I have found the blogging community. I started my blog 2 weeks ago and already am forming some of those deep bonds you are talking about.

    If you want to dive into my I.F. world come and take a peek:

    I try to keep it a little funny. You have to do something to survive.

    Wishing you all the best! XOXO Kaeleigh

  14. I believe in a higher power and feel like sometimes that power will let us know things if we listen. Make us question some assumptions, some "rules," and especially some plans, were never meant to come to fruition. So at these times of pause that you write about here, I think it's healthy to dust off all our old assumptions about how our lives will go now and then and throw out the ones that don't make sense or feel right any more. If you look inside yourself and seek help from that higher power, you'll know what to do. And it's o.k. to be o.k. with that :)


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