According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary the definition of an abyss is 1: the bottomless gulf, pit, or chaos of the old cosmogonies; 2a: an immeasurably deep gulf or great space, b: intellectual or moral depths.
Some days I feel like I have fallen into the great abyss of despair due to infertility. I try and claw my way out, sometimes making progress on the steep canyon walls, but often slipping...feeling the earth crumble beneath my feet.
Infertility is not something that I have blogged about in the past and I will probably not post about it again in the future. That is not to say that I am ashamed or embarrassed by our diagnosis, but I choose not to allow it to define who I am or how I live my life. I do not need an intervention or some over-priced therapy session with a "life" counselor. I just need to blog about some recent turn of events.
I am an in vitro mommy. After struggling with infertility and repeated losses for five years, my husband and I found ourselves at the point where we had exhausted all other avenues and needed to make a decision; throw in the towel and pursue adoption or child-free living OR use what little financial resources we had left and put all of our eggs into one basket...the in vitro fertilization basket. We went with the latter, and today, have an adorable 4-year old to show for it. But, there was lots of stress and anxiety that accompanied that decision. Time does heal old wounds and coupled with the unexpected conception of our "bonus" baby two years ago, I thought that I had put those fears and anxities to rest.
Recently though, (as in December) my husband and I experienced yet another loss, our 5th miscarriage. I guess in some small way I thought that we had "overcome" our diagnosis or at least tricked those nasty infertility gods!
Even more recently, (as in this week) my best friend (since childhood) underwent her 2nd round of in vitro with her husband. They experienced another failed cycle. My heart is filled with sadness for them, and while she is handling it with dignity and grace, I know that her heart is aching too!
A wonderfully-insightful friend of mine expressed to me the hope that I was not harboring any misplaced guilt. Guilt for getting to be the "successful" in vitro mommy; guilt for expressing my sorrow over our recent loss to someone who has yet to conceive her own baby; and guilt over wanting "just one more" child. She was right. I have been feeling guilty.
What I have discovered though all of this is that infertility is a life-sentence. While you may get a reprieve, (a successful in vitro process, the adoption of a baby, the surprise conception) it doesn't entirely release you from it's bondage. As my in vitro friend pointed out, "infertility takes away your choice"; your choice to choose when and how many children you wish to have to create your family. Every woman is deserving of the choice to have children (yes, even octo-mom, but that is an ethical discussion saved for another day!), but infertility takes away that choice. It is an emotionally painful cross to bear.
Thus, those of us who have have been branded with scarlet letter "I" (as in infertile) must then exercise our right to choose how we deal with with our individual situations. Do we allow infertility to define us and our happiness or do we rise above it by becoming stronger and more empathetic beacuse of it? I choose the latter!