This is not the life I planned.
It’s a wonderful life — full of joy and love and laughter. But it’s definitely not the life I had planned.
It was a really good plan. There would be several children. (Mostly girls, of course.)
I did all the things I was supposed to do: worked hard, went to college, got married. Check, check, check. I was well behaved and super responsible. I did all the things in just the right order. My husband and I spent five solid years together, just the two of us. And then we were ready for the logical, reasonable next step: parenthood. We were ready; we were excited.
But pregnancy didn’t come as easily as we expected.
Infertility catches most of us by surprise. It’s an unexpected detour down a long, lonely road.
We pursued adoption and fertility treatments simultaneously, trying to be open to every opportunity, to leave each door open. Eventually, I did get pregnant. I was one of the lucky ones.
It took us nearly three years to have our son. To anyone still in the middle of the infertility journey, the most encouraging thing I can say to you is that the day I held my sweet boy for the first time, it was like someone turning on a light. I felt like I had known this precious baby my whole life. Oh, there you are! Where have you been? I’ve been waiting and waiting for you.
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The Plan (Again, A-hem)
The infertility treatments had worked. So, clearly, they would work again — immediately and easily. We waited a year to try again. There was no rush. I felt like I had figured it out; I had solved the problem. I knew how to get pregnant. I deserved to get pregnant.
But, I didn’t get pregnant. And then, I still didn’t. Years passed. We considered adoption; we explored and tried different medical options.
My friends and family were as supportive as they knew how to be. But, at some point, I began to feel like I had worn out my welcome a bit. Was this my whole story? Was this the only thing I was talking about anymore? Was it the only thing I was thinking about any more? Had I accidentally become obnoxious?
I realized I was spending so much time, so much energy, focusing on the children I wanted instead of on the amazing child I had. So, I made a decision to let go. I decided to celebrate the son I had waited so long for. (He’s pretty fantastic and definitely worth celebrating.)
I have been able to shift my focus, to be grateful and content. I cherish this sweet boy and delight in being his momma. I’m not sure, though, how to completely release the old dreams.
I find myself in an undefined space. We aren’t actively pursuing pregnancy or adoption. I no longer spend my days at doctor appointments or my evenings dreaming and researching and worrying. I’m not spending money on ovulation kits and pregnancy tests and fertility treatments. I’m not spending my time with friends talking about the next step or the new plan. I’m not spending quiet moments with my son imagining his little brothers and sisters. Not usually. But sometimes I am.
If there is a space that lies somewhere between letting go and holding on, that’s where I am these days. Some doors just close on their own. I am on the other side of my mid-thirties, and my husband is well into his forties. At some point soon, I suppose we’ll just “age out” of this whole conundrum. For now, I’m not entirely ready to say that I’m all done. I don’t know what that means exactly, and I think I’m okay with that.
The one thing I can say for sure is it doesn’t matter what I plan, what I decide. I cannot control the future. I know for sure I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.
But do you know what? Even if tomorrow isn’t what I planned it to be, it might just be wonderful.