Monday, October 22, 2012

IF: Surviving

Read part 1 here.

I can't run.  I can't hide.  This is my life.  I've got to deal with it.

How? Dear Lord, how?

When Himself and I got married we both wanted “a lot” of children, at least four or five.  We both grew up in small families, me with just one sister and Himself an only child.  I even had names picked out for the first couple.  A boy would be Samuel or Daniel with Himself as the middle name.  The first girl would be called Victoria Rose, for his grandmother and my mother. 

I could picture them.  They would all have Himself’s beautiful blue/green/hazel eyes.  Boys would be blond like him and girls would be brunette like me.  They would have great smiles and be quick to giggle.  Of course they would have their father’s brains and patience.  From me they would be crafty and would like to make and build things.

Nice fantasy, huh?

Besides being disappointed that the family plans aren’t developing as expected, or at least as hoped for, there is a sense of brokenness.  Both of those, the disappointment and the brokenness, can take its toll on both the individual and the marriage.   

I think the first thing to living through IF is knowing your priorities.  Yes, we wanted to have children, but we wanted our marriage, our faith and our sanity all to remain intact and uncompromised more.  Without those, what would we have to give to our children?    We had seen families and marriages where that didn’t occur and the view was not pretty.  We didn’t want to go down that road.  Not at all.

With that in mind, it helped us set our limits.  We would not do IVF.  It did not fit in with our faith.  That was a nonnegotiable.  When the “fertility specialist” suggested we start injectibles, he wanted us to consider “selective reduction” if a high order pregnancy occurred.  Huh?  Get pregnant and then kill my babies??  Are you nuts?  So  we walked away from that treatment.  Compromising our beliefs just wasn’t an option.

We also respected each other’s comfort zone.  If one of us was at ease doing X and Y but the other only could handle X, we did just X.   

A number of years after we were married, Himself’s aunt was in town visiting from California.  She paid us a great compliment.  She told us to her it seemed that we lived life to the fullest.  We continued to do things we enjoyed or found important.  We volunteered at church.  We had season tickets to our favorite baseball team.  We saw plays and traveled.  We read books that we loved so much.  Weekly we met with our prayer group to recite the rosary.  Himself played golf regularly with his buddies.  I had my season pass to Cedar Point.  We took walks in the park. 

We kept on living.  We didn’t put something off just in case I got pregnant.  Run that race.  Take that trip.  Decorate that room.  Heck, if a baby comes along you’ll get to decorate it again.  What fun!  Keep on living. 

There’s still more to say.  Tune in next time.



  1. It's my first time here, I found you via JBTC. :)

    I LOVE this post. When we lost our first baby, and then it took a long time (to us) to get pregnant again, I did stop living. I stopped looking for a "career" job (had just finished grad school when we started TTC again), we moved and I did not try to meet people, go out, or anything. I dried up and part of me died. It was so awful, even though we tried for much less time than many others do.
    Now that we are embarking down the road of secondary infertility (our little miracle is almost 2), I am bound and determined to not stop living just because my heart is broken. Thank you for the reminder!

  2. Yes, continuing to live is such an important part of this journey. I also love that you mentioned that maintaining your faith and marriage were priorities for you.

    IF has brought us many gifts, one them being a strong marriage.

    God bless you for doing this series! I can't wait to read more!

  3. Great post. Love the advice to keep living. It's so easy to stop what you're doing because of the "what ifs." Cedar Point! I used to go there when I lived in MI.

  4. I love this post as well!! Such good advice. I should plaster that mantra to my forehead "Keep on living!". Thank you for this series, I am learning a lot!

  5. Thank you for this series, Donna. I enjoy reading your words. I put so much of my life on hold at first and then I realized that I had to stop. I ran races, I drank wine, and I planned trips.....granted a baby was always in the back of my mind.

    Great advice!

  6. I wish I would have paid heed to your advice to "keep on living" a long time ago. I was always "holding out" for when I had a baby. I missed out on a lot of LIFE!

  7. Like everyone dh and I missed out on some time of life waiting and waiting...but then in one moment, we realized that we had to live...and that is when IF became less of a burden and it no longer defined our lives.

  8. Great post! Thank you for your wisdom, it is a great reminder to me to not just stand still and let IF take over.

  9. I feel like you've become my personal infertility counselor with this series so far. Thank you! Keep on living, keep on living.

  10. I feel like a broken record, but I am so glad you are doing this series. This post, specifically, has been so validating for me. Sometimes as I read the blogs and hear other people's stories, I start to feel like we're being too passive, not doing enough. But your reminder to set our limits, to respect one another's comfort zones, and to be clear on our priorities are like beautiful gifts to me. The Man and I always, from the very beginning of our marriage, said as long as we had each other, it was enough, just the two of us. We had no idea how much that promise would come to mean.