I am one of those people who likes to plan things… and I’m not just talking about planning a party or a vacation, although I enjoy organizing those things too; I’m talking about planning my life — I’ve always had my next move figured out. In high school I always knew the classes I’d be taking the next year. In college I carefully planned out my courses way ahead of time in order to fit in all of my requirements for a double major. During our engagement we planned for our new lives across the country in addition to planning our awesome wedding, and since we’ve been married we’ve always been planning one or two steps ahead. I’m always looking into the future, working on achieving my goals.
But I never planned for infertility. I never planned for not being able to have children. I never planned to lose a pregnancy. I never planned to have to cope with such heartbreak and despair. I never planned to figure out what to do with myself in the event that I’m not able to achieve my goal of being a mom.
I used to be able to see my life ahead of me so clearly, but now when I look into the future, I have no idea what’s coming — I only see the dark haze of uncertainty. Nothing is clear anymore in my future… and it’s terrifying. Thanks to infertility, the uncertainty of my future scares me daily. I truly have no idea where my path is going… Will I have children or not? If I don’t, will I be okay? Will I recover?
Infertility is uncertainty… not knowing what to expect, not knowing what to do, not knowing what the future holds. It is not knowing if any particular month will be *the month*. It is not knowing if the next treatment is worth it, or if I have it in me for another treatment. It is putting everything on hold while we pursue treatments… and as a result, infertility is not knowing when we will be able to work on certain projects, do this or that, or travel here or there. Infertility is not knowing when or how this journey will end. It is not knowing if I will ever become a mother to living children. It is not knowing if we will have biological children, or if we will adopt children. It is is not knowing what I’m going to do with my life if we do not have children in our family. It is not knowing how to cope with all of the disappointments of infertility or how to heal from the deep wounds it has created. The uncertainty of infertility has turned my once carefully planned future into a giant question mark.
For my whole life all I have ever wanted to be “when I grew up” was a mom… but infertility is crushing this dream more and more everyday. I no longer know for certain that I’ll be a mom; it actually might not happen. And unfortunately infertility isn’t one of those things I can work harder at to achieve my goal. Unlike most things in life I can’t study, learn, or work my way out of this problem — in the end the result is entirely out of my control. None of the family building options for those of us struggling with infertility are guaranteed… treatments, fostering, and adoption are all risky endeavors with uncertain outcomes. The uncertainty and the constant, repetitive disappointments make it very difficult to have the hope and courage necessary to continue trying to move forward in reaching our goal of becoming parents. Decision-making has become very complicated and almost paralyzing at times. It is hard to know what to do when we have absolutely no idea what to expect and when we’re already so heartbroken — we’re afraid of being hurt again. The uncertainty is overwhelming.
Sometimes I think to myself that if someone could tell me the future and end this miserable uncertainty of mine, it would be such a relief. If someone could tell me whether or not we will become parents to living children… if someone could tell me whether or not our treatments will be successful, or if someone could tell me whether or not we will end up adopting… I like to tell myself that knowing my future would let me accept it and move forward. I would be able to start making plans again. I would be able to know whether to keep pursuing treatments or not. I would be able to start finding my new direction and working towards closure.
However, when I consider knowing the future, I think I’d only find comfort in knowing the outcome if it is the one I want. If children are absolutely not in my future, then I probably wouldn’t want to hear it right now because it would not be a relief; it would be devastating. It is not safe, nor comfortable living in limbo, but while I’m here I still have hope that living children are in my future… and that hope keeps me going. If I were to find out that all hope for children is lost, I would be lost. I do not know what I am going to do with my life if motherhood is not in my future. I hope that I would be okay and find a new direction of some kind, but I am terrified of facing that reality and I am so uncertain of how to cope with that disappointment.
Either way, there’s no one who can answer these questions for me, and I’m left with my infertility and its uncertainty, and all of the heartache, stress, and hard decisions that come along with not knowing what’s ahead. I’m left feeling lost and confused, and I don’t know what I’m going to do now or what we’re going to do next or what we’re going to do down the road… Resolution, closure, and future planning are out of my reach in my painful, scary, uncertain world of infertility.