The holiday season is a time of joy, laughter and the gathering of family and friends. It's a time to be thankful for all that you have and will receive in the coming year.
Yet in the year of 2017 in between all those wonderful things I was a mess of sadness, tears and anger as I grappled with the reality that I may never be able to have children of my own.
As the doctor slid the test results over and gently explained my diagnosis, I sat in stunned silence surrounded by the feeling of utter isolation.
Here I sat at 32 years old and my eggs were all but gone. Depleted. Vanished.
I felt betrayed and, in that moment, as if my mind and body were in two different times. I sat there still as the feeling of guilt settled into my bones as if we were old friends and yet my mind raced with questions.
My husband Christian and I had been married for 10 wonderful filled years. However, we were determined together to wait until we were a hundred percent ready to have children. We bought a house, paid off all our debt and had amazing adventures and travels all over the world.
Then at 32 and him 36 we finally were ready to start a family. Yet as soon as those dreams came up, they came crashing down around us.
Infertility is a loss.
It's the loss of a dream.
A loss of an assumed future.
I've always wanted to be a mom. It was in my plans for the future and I believed that I had a choice as to when I would make that happen.
I believed that all I would have to do is decide.
But, that's not how it happens for everyone and that's not how it was happening to me.
Infertility is an all-encompassing feeling that isn't easy to understand unless you've experienced it.
I can't properly explain the feelings of loss, sadness, anger and guilt. The feelings of grappling with your faith and wondering if you're somehow being punished or abandoned by God.
The feelings of being so naive to think that it would just happen when we were ready.
I can't explain the feeling of the loss of a child that never existed. Never getting to know their eye color or what attributes they would have ultimately inherited from either of us and never getting to see whom they would become.
For a year it felt like my Infertility was a never- ending cycle of doctors’ visits, blood work, tests, hope and heartache.
From the end of 2017 to 2018 we visited Infertility doctors and specialist whom kept telling me that despite my diagnosis and PCOS I had a chance to conceive with treatment.
They laid out plans before us that could potentially get us to our dream of having our own child. We heavily discussed, agonized and weighed our decision that were given to us. However, at the end of it all we came to the soul crushing realization through doctors that given my earlier diagnosis of Chiari Malformation is would be dangerous for me to give birth to a child. So ultimately, we were left with two options; to adopt or remain childless.
It must be said that adoption does not take away the grief of infertility. Nor should it be considered a back-up plan. I have always told Christian from the beginning that I wanted to have a child of our own and then one day adopt another.
So, we sat down, read books, articles, attended a course and learned more about the options and process. However, what we came to find it that with the reality of adoption right now, the process and the costs we were simply overwhelmed and at the time didn’t feel like something we wanted to pursue. I was adamant that if we were going to adopt, we were only going to go into it with a hundred percent mentally and emotionally commitment.
At this point the grief had taken on a new form and I started to not be able to recognize who I was. I felt like my choices had been stripped from me and I had no control or power.
I felt like the equivalent of a lab rat constantly being poked and prodded to come to the same conclusions. I was missing time at work, spending money on unanswered questions. I was tired of doctors trying to stop my heavy menstrual cycle with birth control or start a skipped period with synthetic hormones and my husband was tired of seeing me struggle. He was tired of having to see the side effect or potential scary hazards that would be required for me to go through for us to have a child.
My thoughts and actions were so focused on becoming a mother that I didn’t have time to work on and process through the grief.
I wanted to get back to who I was and in order to do that I had to ask for help and I had to finally realize and come to terms with one simple thing. “Infertility is not my fault.”
It was after this that I had to take a step back. We sat down and had at length conversations where we both came to the same conclusions that we married each other for our life together and everything else we had or will have was a bonus. Our path now needed to be focused on continuing to put each other first and that my life was more important that an invisible child.
For most having a child is as easy as sexual encounter, but for those of us on the Infertility journey, the lengths and costs we must go through to have a chance at a child can feel never ending and all encompassing. This can induce a feeling of resentment and anger for those pregnancy photos or announcements that we encounter on a daily basis and a society that celebrates motherhood, but with time I've learned to view these moments with a deeper understanding and happiness. To sit in the feeling, they may or not bring and find peace.
I just wanted to live life and not in this cycle of hope and grief. I was tired of getting lost in the dark and the fear or never becoming a mother outweighed the fear of living without children.
I heard someone once say that you've always been childless so embrace who you've always been and beginning to love and live that life. Others will have a hard time accepting your life and your decisions but remember that it is your path. Every person has their own stopping point whether that be right after you find out, or after treatments, etc. Your journey and path are unique to you and when you get there you will know. There is no one answer to how to life a fulfilling life. A fulfilling life doesn't just look like a life with children.
We haven't yet called the time of death on our dream and it's usually an awkward conversation with others we first meet who don't yet know our story, but we have decided at this time to step back, take back my power, seek new adventures as we live a childfree life. Now we are taking the time for travel, self-growth, a deeper purpose, a new identity and love to spread around to family, friends and their children.
Missy Desiree lives in Orlando, FL. She and her husband Christian found out about her infertility diagnosis in 2017 and after a year and a half of doctor’s visits, tests and discussion concluded with her doctors that remaining childfree or adopting was their only option. With that in mind they decided to take a step back and focus on seeking new adventures and finding a deeper purpose. In 2020 Missy founded The Infertility Chronicles, a blog dedicated to sharing her story with infertility as well as the stories of Infertility warriors. Through this blog Missy has been able to not only share the benefits of a childfree life after infertility but also raise awareness on all the aspects of Infertility.