Losing Hope and Finding Hope
For years I had the diagnosis of Unexplained Infertility. No doctor or specialist could give me an explanation as to why I could not conceive, thus landing me in the "Unexplained" basket. What they were basically saying to me was that something was wrong with me that meant I couldn't reproduce but they weren't really sure what. I felt as though they had put me in the "too hard" basket, and that I should just go away so that they could spend their precious time fixing all the women who had something concretely wrong with them, something that could actually be fixed. I felt like they were saying "there's something broken and it's too hard for us to find out what, so shove off now please".
I limped along in my Unexplained Infertility world for a number of years. Every day I would invariably wonder, was there something I had done wrong in my life thus far to have caused my infertility? Was I not worthy of being a mother? Was there something more I could do to increase my chances of having my miracle baby? You have to understand that, at that stage I was still utterly convinced a miracle would come my way. I would be like those success stories you see on the news or read about in magazines, where all I had to do was just relax, stop trying so hard or not want it so bad and my miracle would then happen. At that stage I was still clinging to the hope of motherhood; not much hope, mind you, just an itty bitty tiny glimmer of hope, but hope none the less.
I endured more treatments, more drugs, more herbal tonic concoctions, more chakra cleanses and invariably more failed IVF attempts. And still I was hopeful. We threw more money at the problem, endured more treatments, more tears, more acupuncture needles, more awkward questions from friends and family regarding our childless state, and invariably more failed IVF attempts. Finally, due to our persistence, we came across a doctor who was able to give us an answer. Through a diagnostic laparoscopy she discovered that there was in fact no hope of me conceiving a child. She had found the concrete medical reason for my infertility. It was a relief in itself just to have some answers, but in giving us those answers she had effectively killed off all hope for us. The problem was unfixable. There would be no miracle baby for myself and my husband, and, with that knowing, all hope was lost to us. We would remain childless for the rest of our lives.
As you can imagine, this was a very dark time for us. Thankfully this dark time drew us even closer together, strengthening our bond as a couple. We would endure this, and we would endure it together. My heart goes out to the many women who lose their marriages or relationships along with their dreams of motherhood. I am so very grateful to be able to say that my husband and I lived through that tough time together. As much as we felt isolated from family and friends who just could not possibly understand our pain, we banded together on our own little island of grief.
During our time spent grieving, I had a well meaning relative try to cheer me up with the remark "well you should be happy that you have an answer now and you can move on". While I understand her intention had been well meaning, it occurred to me that the "uninitiated" have no understanding of the devastation of lost hope. I explained to her that while having an answer was a form of relief, it also was the end of our hope of having a family, it was the end of our hope. The loss of this hope was something that I found most difficult to come to terms with. No hope of our dreams of having a family, so now what? What was I supposed to hope for in life now? I felt as though, in order for me to move forward, out of the stagnant cesspool that is "infertility", I would have to rediscover my hope. It is here that I came against a brick wall. What was my hope now?
What did life after infertility look like for me? What does a childless-not-by-choice future have to offer me? As I sifted through some pretty heavy questions I found that connecting with others in a similar situation helped me, as did journaling. I found that talking with my husband, and continuing to strengthen our bond through shared interests and hobbies was crucial for our relationship. I also often found myself pondering what my big purpose in life was now that I wouldn't be fulfilling the purpose of motherhood. As yet I have no answer for that question, but I'm still working on it. I am pleased to say that although I don't have an answer yet to my life's purpose beyond infertility, this is actually where I have found my hope again. You see, I am hopeful that sometime in the future I will discover my purpose, and that tiniest glimmer of hope I now feel makes my heart soar.