Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The difference an IFer feels about her children.

(children mentioned)

I am going to try to write about what's been going around in my head about this subject. I did want to start off my saying I do ~not~ think the actual LOVE is any different. I think a woman who ttc for 5 years loves her child just the same as a woman who was blessed with a C1 BFP. But I do think there are some differences, some of them so important, it makes me feel like the lucky one for going through infertility.

We were like any other couple who wanted children. We discussed it, thought it was time and started trying to conceive. Except we didn't fall under the "average" couple who could conceive within a year's time. It took us 18 cycles for the first child, one miracle month for the second and here we are, going through IVF on cycle 18 for our third.

I was thrust into a lot of inner dialog that would have never came up if I got pregnant in that first year. I was forced to think about the question "what if I never get pregnant?". It was a very real fear I had. I didn't know if I'd ever get a chance at being a mom. I didn't know if I'd ever get a chance to have children to love. I just didn't know.

What my infertility made me realize is just how much I wanted children. Some women feel "let's see what happens" in regards to having children - never really being 100% behind knowing they want a child at that time. I can't tell you how many women I've known who "thought" about having a child and before they made their decision, their "surprise" pregnancy had already made the decision for them. To me, I feel like these women were robbed of the knowledge of knowing they really, truly ~wanted~ their child. Sure, they loved the child once the baby was in existence, but they didn't get to make the decision for themselves.

Now that I have succeeded at least once, I'm glad I went through the time ttc. I knew what I would do for a child. Especially now, I know that I'll go through multiple daily injections and surgery and possible heartbreak for my child. I know some women who just wouldn't go to these lengths, but I know I would and I am. I will never take my child or my pregnancies for granted. I know how lucky I am that I did succeed. And I will never ever forget it. For the rest of my life, I will look at my children and I will know how much I wanted them. I will forever know what lengths I would have gone through for them - the lengths I did go through.

Like I said, I don't think women who got their BFPs right away don't love their children any less than women who have gone through infertility. I think ~love~ is universal and it doesn't matter how your child got here. But the feeling I feel, as every other IFer feels about their children, is something I can barely explain. The relief we feel. We look at our children and we know we won the lottery. We know we dodged a bullet. We feel this overwhelming sense of luck. It's in addition to the love we feel and honestly, I'm glad I feel it. If I didn't go through infertility, I wouldn't even know that this feeling existed. Women who conceive in their first year get the bonus of not having to go through infertility. Infertiles get the bonus of getting this feeling. It's all fair if you ask me.

There has been some really unfair negatives this time around. My friend Denise received a negative beta for her FET today - if you can, go over and give her a ~hug~ for support. Another friend of mine, Shayna, is dealing with her lack of even getting a chance (no ovulation) and things are hard for her right now too. They are both ttc#1 and are having those feelings I once had. I want to tell them both I just know it will happen for them, but obviously that's not something I can do. I try to explain how all of these failures will be worth it some day. If it takes 6 IVF cycles to get my BFP, then I'll go through 5 IVF failures. Because I know it's worth it. I know I'll end up being thankful for the position I'm in and I'll even feel that much ~more~ lucky. The problem is - I don't know if IVF#6 will be what it takes. And they don't either. But in my eyes, the risk is worth it. I'm in a unique situation though, as I have already conceived. I don't know if the risks are worth the chance of conception for them. I don't know what 6 IVF failures would do to my heart if that's all that was there for me at the end - failures. If there was a guarantee, I would say do everything you have to do to get there. But there is no guarantee, so all I can do is be their cheerleader. I'll be behind them wherever they choose to go.

I can only hope every infertile I know will eventually feel this ~bonus feeling~ along with their love for their children. That feeling is what makes IF tolerable.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Thats all I can say... that was really touching. I think you are very right. I know alot of girls that have gotten pregnant by accident and you know.. I've been telling myself that I'd rather cry over getting a BFN then cry because I got a BFP. I would never want the thoughts of not wanting my child. -Jayme

The Town Criers said...

I think you should print out this post and place it somewhere for your kids to read when they're older.

waitinginline said...

This is such a touching, beautiful and well written post. Wow. How beautiful.

Fertilized said...

Beautiful Nancy! Very inspiring and touching

jenn said...

Nancy- this is beautiful. As much as I know I haven't gone through that much in my journey, I do know how much this rings true-
To me, I feel like these women were robbed of the knowledge of knowing they really, truly ~wanted~ their child.
I can't imagine the day when I get a positive, much less the day I get to feel this about my child, but knowing that the reward at the end is worth so much more than I can even imagine being capable of giving gives me hope.

MrsDrink said...

I agree with the other posters. I totally ~heart~ you. This post ~is~ beautiful and you're amazing.

bleu said...

I liked what you wrote but I just feel I need to add a bit to this.
As a lesbian AND a single mother by choice those were wuestions I had to go through long before I ever even began TTC. Every lesbian single or couple has to face tough questions long before ttc and the fear of never becoming a mother starts years before for many. SMC's also go through this process.

I also think pregnancy loss prior to having children bring on these same feelings. What if I never, and devastation plus fears during any subsequent pregnancy that overshadow any possible early joy that so many IF'ers know so well.

I know from my own experiences I was so fearful of never becoming a mother at 25 when I couldn't understand why dating men was so wrong for me and didn't understand why. I know at 30 I had so much fear because I was so much older and knew it was never going to be from a hetero relationship. By 33 I was almost in a panic with my latest relationship so obviously not going to be lasting. Then after my second try on my own I was so lucky and got pregnant, but I lost it after heartbeat. I had a complete breakdown and truly was convinced I would never get my dream. My only dream. Then I got pregnant first try back with Bliss, but there was no excitement until halfway into the second trimester. After he was born I would make my arms black and blue pinching myself thinking it had all been a dream. I can honestly say if I think to much about the fact that I am a mother I start to cry, deeply. I cannot tell you if it is because I am just someone who wanted it so deeply that it is still shocking to me I am or it is because of all the thought and intent that went into it and the loss beforehand.

I just wanted to add that.


Rachel Inbar said...

I'm not sure I agree with you, since I've had it both ways... I guess with my first I got pregnant on cycle 30+ (by my 2nd IVF) and later on my 3rd IVF. I was able to 'plan' my last pregnancy and got pregnant on C1, as you put it. I knew how much the baby was wanted and was walking on air when I got my BFP. In fact, when I cleaned out my purse to go to the hospital to give birth, I found the peestick I carried around - I would take it out whenever I just couldn't believe it was real during those first weeks...

Perhaps there are women who always took it for granted that they would have as many children as they wanted, and those are the ones who don't appreciate the children that they have as much as they should.

Maybe before going through infertility I was one of them. I can't really remember...

Christy said...

I totally understand what you are saying. I have one friend in particular who got pg on her first try and she can not understand why I would go through so much to have a child.
I know she loves her child just as much as I love mine- but its almost as if she takes hers for granted. I have often wondered if she had had to struggle to conceive would she still be this way toward her child. She is a good mother--but just different than I am with my child (who took 18 LOOOOONG months to conceive!!)

Great post!!

nancy said...

Rachel, BUT ... you went through IF ~first~. I planned #2 and conceived her on C1 too - but since I went through the initial IF, I didn't expect the C1, in fact, I expected another long drawn out TTC experience with no promise of a child at the end. So even though I conceived on C1, the fact I had already gone through IF allowed me to have this same "feeling of luck" with her. You've been through a lot yourself and you most likely share that feeling of disbelief even though it was C1. You can't erase your IF past in your heart.

After IF with the first few, and everything you did to get them, you did NOT take this last pregnancy for granted. And C1 BFP from a "let's stop birth control pills" is WAY DIFFERENT than a C1 BFP from IVF or FET. Doncha think?

Laurel said...

I know many of you probably won't like my post but I just think none of us know what anyone else is feeling. I don't know what it is like to go through IF, and a lot of you don't know what it is like to have a m/c (I know a lot of you do but some don't as well, I am sure). I have the stigma of being one of those girls who got pregnant without really really trying(On C1). When I enter this world I feel judged by that continually. It isn't something I should feel bad for even though I feel extremely badly for those of you who go month to month wishing, hoping and praying. I have those questions too. Will I be able to get pg again, will my body cooperate, will I be able to make it through a pg without confining myself to my bedroom and not calling the dr. everytime I feel a twinge and what if I never get pg again? I don't feel robbed by not knowing what it is like to really really want a child. I have always had that! I have it so bad that my heart aches every day. Yes, a C1 BFP from a "let's stop birth control pills" is WAY DIFFERENT than a C1 BFP from IVF or FET. But that doesn't make it any less of a miracle for the person getting the BFP. I think everything happens for a reason (I know groan.... but I do think that).

Anonymous said...

This is in response to, I cannot believe any mother would say that! ("she can not understand why I would go through so much to have a child.")I have children and have experienced both the suprise BFP and the TTC BFP. I cannot understand why anyone ~wouldn't~ go through so much to get pg. I know had I not been one of the lucky ones I would have done whatever it took.

Knucks said...

This post is amazing. I totally understand it and totally agree with your feelings on it. There IS some special feeling associated with battling fertility and finally achieving the goal and you have no idea unless you've experienced it. I'm going to share this post with a co-worker battling infertility now. This will be perfect. Thanks Nancy.

nancy said...

Laurel, it's something I can't explain. That's why I was ~so careful~ to say that the love is no different.

There are just going to be a lot of things I say from an "infertile" standpoint that is going to offend you. You know it's not my intention. But I'm not writing this blog to make sure I encompass all the feelings of everyone. You know this is an infertility blog and other infertiles read this. Please try not to take any of what is said here against you.

ANywho you aren't one of the "c1"ers I've been talking about anyway. Spend some time on the WebMD "just starting out" board and you'll see what I'm talking about. You are in a different position than these girls in their early 20s who post "We're wondering if we should have have a baby" and then 2 days later they say "update! I got my BFP so I guess we're going to have one!" Bah. THOSE are who I'm talking about.

You, on the other hand, have had other health issues in the way. You've wanted to be ttc for over a year now and you couldn't. And then you had a "whoa!" pregnancy when you weren't expecting it. You hadn't actually started officially "TRYING" had you? Regardless if you did or not, it was a long time coming.

Just rememember this blog is from the long time infertile. Things I say would have also offended ME when I was first starting out in the ttc world. There are many "in the beginning" and "ttc after loss" blogs that you would probably feel more comfortable with. I'm not saying to stop reading this one - not at all! But to keep in mind things here will inherently offend you when I don't want to offend you. It's hard to make sure I don't offend you, because I know you are reading this. Know what I mean? I don't want to censor myself yet I don't want to offend you. I'm sorry that I'm IF and you aren't. That sounded bad - not what I meant. I meant that I'm sorry that you are offended by things long-time infertiles are apt to feel. All I can say is that I felt different about continueing to ttc after over a year of failures and how different I felt about the WANT of a child. Of course I wanted a child back when I was first trying. I just feel this different feeling - this "luck" feeling, that I know I wouldn't of felt had I gotten pregnant early.

Without being IF, I'm sure it's almost impossible to understand that I'm not talking about "a C1er being robbed of the feeling of want". It's not actually the "WANT" that I'm trying to convey, because of course anyone ttc WANTS a child. It's the underlying want - the knowledge that I'm just not going to be able to live withough it. Not just the "want" of a child. You may actually have the understanding because of your loss. But I've never had a loss that's been confirmed, so I couldn't tell you.

nancy said...

and "But that doesn't make it any less of a miracle for the person getting the BFP."

TOTALLY agreed. I think the miracle of a baby is the same regardless of how it was created. And I think the love of a child will be the same.

Just think about it, think about someone trying and failing for 6 years straight. Not just wanting a child "someday", but trying every single month for 6 years. Once they get that BFP, it's GOT to feel different than someone's BFP in those first few months of trying. It's ~that~ feeling I'm trying to convey. The feeling that I really didn't think it'd be possible to get pregnant and it did. Such a miracle. Such a lottery win. I think it's definitely due to having those feelings of "this will never happen" suddenly being dismissed with the appearance of a second line.

Yes, the love of a child would be the same. The miracle of the baby would be the same. But the miracle of a BFP after years of ttc failures - it just can't be parallelled.

Laurel said...

I'm not offended. Far from it. And I didn't mean to come off that way. I just think we all need to think that none of us know really how the other is feeling. All of our day to day issues are different and I think I have somewhat of a grasp on how you feel since I know you so well and you feel comfortable to pour out your feelings and thoughts to me.
BUT, I am one of those "c1"rs that you are talking about. And I did feel guilty. I have spent time on the "just starting out" board and I know what you mean(Too much drama-just can't do it. Plus I am just not patient enough to deal with the stupidity) I have spent time on the "TTC after loss" board.
I don't want you to censor yourself either. You wouldn't be Nancy if you did. I just put my point of view out there because it is from a different perspective. Like I said I am not offended by what "IFers are likely to feel" and I don't want anyone offended by how I feel. Each and everyone of us is different and even when we had similar or distinctly the same issues we still all feel, act, and hurt differently.
I also think it is great that we now have forums like this so that we can meet people who understand our issues. I feel badly for those generations before us that didn't talk with anyone about anything and bottled it all up. I think the support we all receive from all the tools out there is so beneficial.
Sorry for the long *ss posts I seem to be making. Can you tell I am having a hard week.

Ahuva Batya said...

What a beatiful, honest and heartfelt post, Nancy. I love the fact that you can identify the "bonus feeling" that IF mothers have, and look at it as a unique and special benefit of going through IF.

~Joe said...

I guess I would be on laurels side of the spectrum.But I'm also not at all offended.I agree it is something that I will probably never feel.But,I just want to explain the other kind of joy that comes with that unexpected BFP(unless of course you didn't at all want to get pregnant and if thats the case what are you doing having unprotected sex genius) while you love the child and know that you'd go to the ends of the world to have that child before its even conceived,I on the other hand loved my child from the moment I knew she was there.And I can say from experience that there are some TTC'ers that don't really understand that.I'll explain-Two days after I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I started having horrible pains and we went to the ER,my beta numbers were low and the Dr.s thought maybe she was ectopic.My husband and I were devastated at the thought,even though it had only been 48 hours since we found out about a pregnancy that wasn't planned.I told a friend about this (she had TTC her child for about a year before she got pregnant)and she said to me "well now you can wear condoms" That hurt to hear more than words can say.But I knew that she didn't "get it".That even though this child I was carrying wasn't yearned for before, she was yearned for the second her existence was known.I know this is an infertility blog and I'm in no way trying to counter what your saying or to say your wrong(because I think your right) I would just like to say this for people like my friend that may be reading this that "don't get it" on my end and may say things to family or friends that can be really hurtful,I know after reading your blog I am a lot more careful with my words or I try to be. I think this was a wonderful blog by the way :)

JamieDH said...

Beautiful post and well articulated. I read one time where a TTCer had written that once she was able to have a child, the first time that baby was placed in her arms it would be the most refreshing drink of water she had ever tasted. That is exactly how I feel - the ~love~ won't be any different, but living with the insatiable desire to feel life growing inside me is something I will never forget.

Nic said...

Beautiful, thoughtful post, Nancy. I can't speak for anyone else, but I can fully agree with you for me. When we first started trying (i.e. I went off the pill), I did have some feelings of ambivalence about having a child, that I think a lot of people feel, especially with their first. It's such a big unknown - how is your life going to change? Will you be a good parent? Do you have enough love to give? Initially, I thought, "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. And if it's not, I'll be okay". But then when I didn't get my period, and had to think about starting treatment or living without a child, it became a whole different story. And especially after my IUIs failed and I became convinced IVF would never work either - I was in a very, very bleak place. I had realized by then how very much I wanted a child, how even though I had said I would be okay if we couldn't have them, I actually couldn't picture my life without a child. All the ambivalence was gone. And I don't think I would have gotten to that point, at least until after the baby was born, if it had come much more easily.

Poltzie said...

It's funny because when I first saw this post I wanted to make a comment about how untrue this is. Now that I have read all the comments it does seem that the IFers would agree with you and those of us that have never experienced IF have different feelings (not opposite but different). So I think you may be on to something!
I do think that a 12 cycle or under BFP is not nearly as exciting as a IF BFP. It took us four months to conceive and after cycle 1 I was crying at every period. Knowing the longing I felt with only four cycles makes me ache for the women who have to go through much more.
What I hate however is the comments that I have seen on blogs where women are dealing with infertility such as "of course we will care about our children much more then anyone who didn't have to try hard". It sounds so stupid but I've seen those types of comments everywhere and they make me crazy. How could anyone know how much I care for my child because I didn't have to "try". It would be horrible of me to call an IFer selfish for not adopting and it is horrible for someone to say I don't appreciate/care/love my child as much as them because I didn't have to work as hard to get it. Ok, end of rant.
I just wanted to say that I'm glad you are able to see some positives about IF and while I will never think it's fair at least there are some advantages to it.

Pamela Jeanne said...

And then there's me. Yes. you are on to something. Infertiles who succeed with treatment can't help but have a deeper appreciation for the miracle of their their children. Most who conceive effortlessly go on thinking it's just that easy their whole lives, which is why someone like me finds it so hard to stomach their ignorance. Sigh. I'm just glad there are some parents out there capable of understanding that not everyone finds the pot at the end of the rainbow. thanks for the post.

K. said...

Very well written Nancy. You have great insight. If it's ok with you, I would like to quote some of your thoughts on my blog. Would you mind? I will give you full credit, I promise!

Your words are so well put that I would like to copy them for some of my readers, along with some of my own thoughts. I won't do it until I hear from you.

Thanks and I'm cheering for you this cycle - I've been there and can fully understand where you are. Take it one day at a time, don't get discouraged and keep the faith! Thanks for being you and hanging it all out for us to read.


Sarah R said...

A girl I know has been trying for 5? years and she just had a failed IVF in January. I feel so bad for her and I wish I could help her, but there's nothing I can do but keep her in my thoughts. She doesn't want to adopt--she wants to go through the whole pregnancy and carry a child so bad. She is 31 or 32 now, so she does have time....I just hope it happens soon for her! I know she was frustrated with her best friend (my SIL) who got pregnant w/#1 on her honeymoon when she missed a few BCPs, and then pregnant w/#2 when #1 was 6 months old (they weren't even trying, just had sex for the first time since having the baby). I can completely understand the IFer's feelings towards her BF.