Late last week, we went through some steps that shut the door on us ever having children. We have left behind the ambitions of becoming parents and I am processing the finality of it all. We decided adoption was not the route for us and IVF was out of reach, not only financially but emotionally. The tenor of our conversations about this event were a little strained, punctuated with gallows humour and more than a little tension. I am not sure we ever really will let go of our wish to raise another human being. watching them grow up to carry on our little family traditions and help us create something greater than the two of us could add up to in a hundred or so years of life we have left combined. The feelings are still pretty raw and couple that with an already shaky truce with anxiety and depression and we have a potential tornado of emotional meltdowns coming up.
It's been an interesting ride since we decided at a swim up bar in Jamaica many years ago that we were ready to have kids. We laughed a little at our drunken tears but we truly believed that before the clock turned on that year we would at least be pregnant and expecting an addition to our home. As time went on, we sought professional help and had many hours of unsolicited advice from everyone else. We didn't worry much because we figured there was a lot of time and one of the treatments was sure to work. Enhanced ovulation pills, needles and constant tests and procedures left us drained financially and emotionally, the loss of my business made clear we couldn't handle what was happening and we slid further from the dream. It became an unspoken agreement not to talk about it while we tried to tread water and figure out how to save our life that we had built from total annihilation.
A year and a half of working at a job that almost killed me didn't help matters and when the smoke cleared and I found a new job that had better hours and medical benefits, we started again, a little bent but unbroken in what was feeling like our last few chances. Despite an ever shrinking window of possibility we ventured forth again into the world of doctors and tests. It became a quicker trip than we had hoped.
It was apparent early in this next step that we didn't have our hearts in it any more. We knew it would be expensive, outside of what we were able to spend without changing everything about our lives and I think after 6 or so years of constant disappointment we just gave up. Gave up hope, gave up trying and almost gave up on each other. It was dark and looked like dawn would never come.
The truth that we were never having kids came after countless pregnancy tests, late nights, temperature logs, needles, pills and doctor's appointments. It came after moments of elation and hope followed by crushing and heart breaking defeat. It felt like we went to war with our own biology and failed as people. The questions and quiet mummers we thought we heard even though they may not have existed, our own minds filled with what could we be now that this path was closed to us. Who knows what they're supposed to do when life doesn't let them complete their perceived right to reproduce? Everyone who has ever been where we were knows their own truth, a little of ours and days ahead that seemed too bleak to consider.
The end didn't come with anything special, a routine exam and medical procedure that millions of people have experienced. The decision was not only mutual, it was necessary for us to move on as humans, a little damaged, but together at the start of the next chapter. How will it all play out? That is still a little too raw to really consider, I'm prone to snap decisions and that has never been a good idea for us so we are taking stock and moving at glacial speeds toward whatever we decide is best for us. I have withdrawn again into myself a little, letting few inside my circle for fear of showing too much. While at the same time trying to support the other half of this equation who has her own thoughts, fears and dreams about what we did or didn't do and where we will go now. Life most definitely was not what we thought it was going to be almost two decades ago when we first fell in love and despite setbacks, huge mistakes, break ups, make ups and stuff only we will ever know about, it's still standing. A little wobbly and unsure of what corner to go to when this round is over, we will rise through this moment and step back into the ring to fight another day, a little wiser and a whole lot sadder but with the knowledge that the story we write will have to have a different ending than the one we thought we started with.
Days like this end like all others and it will be how we face the future filled with unknown tomorrows we never considered that will make the difference to us. Our happiness and our direction is now unfocused and we will have choices to make about what we do, where we live and what we our time has become worth to us. We go out every day knowing we missed something but hoping we find out what we are really supposed to be now that this time and this dream has come to its final conclusion.
"It's been a long time running", Gord Downie sings, and the journey though the morass of infertility doesn't always have a happy ending, no matter how much you want it to. It will never really go away, this life that could have been. But swimming in and immersing ourselves in self pity and navel gazing won't be how we learn to live with purpose once again. Waking up tomorrow will be the same as today, but we can choose happiness if that is what we truly want to do. A new day gives us a chance to live again in the right here and now.