If I ever wished for a how-to book to exist, it’d be called How To Accept Childlessness. And the byline would read something like ‘…Without Being a Failure Who Gave Up.’ It’d be pretty awesome to have a guidebook to know if I’m doing the whole ‘I surrender’ thing the right way.
Acceptance of our childlessness state has majorly been on my mind these days. Not that I’ve fully accepted childlessness (yet). But I am getting there, little by little. This… Thing… in me that I never before knew existed is starting to pop up—a Thing that’s okay (*gulp*) with not having a child. The fact that The Thing even exists causes me unease. The Thing has evolved slowly, in myriad little ways that are impossible to describe. Regardless, The Thing is here. And it grows stronger with each failing cycle.
We’ve been fighting for more than seven years to have a baby. It’s been degrees of fighting though—from the trying-not-trying phase to full-out maniacal trying. We’ve had months when we were lackluster in timing intercourse, and we’ve had months when we’d frantically take pregnancy tests the moment my period was late. Either way, we’d always fight and try and keep going—the idea of giving up just didn’t exist.
But those lackluster months are becoming more frequent lately. Somewhere along the way, I’ve quit taking my daily basal body temperature. Two out my last three cycles I’ve left my fertility monitor and ovulation tests forgotten, to gather dust on the bathroom shelf. Anymore, the prospect of monitoring my cycle seems both tedious and monumental.
I think to myself, “So this must be how it begins—acceptance.” And I feel a mixture of peace (mixed with melancholy relief) and apprehension (as I watch the sand dwindle down in the hourglass of my fertility window) when the thought comes.
I don’t know how someone knows when it’s time to accept childlessness. I guess there’s no magic formula—like most things, it seems to be a slow fade. And, like all journeys, the road there is traveled one step at a time. I’m at a crossroads, where my options are to either: (1) accept childlessness, or (2) dig my heels in and really, REALLY try for a child with all my might. But option two means another IVF and that’s not something we can afford now (and possibly ever again). I mean, how else can someone “really try?” There’s obviously only one way to “really try” for a baby naturally, and we’ve had nearly 90 of them.
I guess the real question is: How badly do I want this?
And the answer seems to be, not badly enough to throw down and continue to fight.