This is part of an email that I sent to some family members to help explain what we have been through on our infertility journey. For some reason I keep going back to read it and thought I would share it with all of you. I hope and pray for each of you to have strength and peace this holiday season.
Baking Christmas Cookies- An Analogy
Every year we make Christmas cookies. We go to the store, purchase all of our ingredients and plan ahead so that we have everything thing we need in advance. We spend our money on all of the ingredients. We anticipate the time that we will kick off the holiday season with laughter and yummy cookies. We look forward to making these cookies only once each year. We hope that each year the cookies turn out and that we don't have to throw out a batch due to mixing errors, oven issues, bad ingredients, etc. We are hopeful that they will turn out. We get frustrated when things don't go our way, ie., we don't have enough ingredients, our house gets messy, our hand gets sore from stirring, a task takes too long, we have to wait for the cookies in the oven to complete baking so that we can put more cookies in the oven, etc. There is so much to do in one day to complete all of the cookies, that it can be stressful at times, but well worth the time spent and the wait and work of putting it all together.
After thinking about it, this is a lot like infertility. We plan to have 2-3 kids and hope that things turn out okay. We build a home to accommodate children, ie., four bedrooms, a big mudroom, plenty of bathrooms for the teenage years, a playroom, etc. We make sure that our married life is secure and that we can provide a good home. We decide to have another child. We get all of the ingredients together each month. We anticipate that we will have no problems and that our home will be blessed once again and that we will be able to share good news soon to kick off this next step in our life. We hope that each month it will work and we will be able to enjoy our family as it expands. We take our medications, we go through treatments, ultrasounds and blood draws to find out that the "cookies" didn't work due to unknown reasons. We are frustrated that we will have to "go to the store" to start over. Month after month, we get our medications, filled with hope, go through procedures, and hope that our embryos will want to stay warm and cozy for nine months. We invest financially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We constantly evaluate and monitor each decision, measuring out and weighing each option carefully. There is so much to do, that it can be stressful at times, but well worth the time spent and the wait and work of putting it all together.
Eventually we will be beyond the struggle of infertility- whether we have another child or not. However, it will never completely go away because it has changed our lives. We won't be able to return to the people we were before going through infertility, but we will also no longer be controlled by it either. We, at some point, will leave the struggle behind us, but we will always remember what we went through and know that good things came from this situation as well. We will have improved our skills for empathy, patience, resilience, forgiveness, decision-making and self-assessment. We feel grateful to others that have tried to ease our journey through this struggle by giving us their understanding, compassion, empathy and support.