Is it possible to find peace with infertility?
Infertility can be extremely trying both emotionally and physically. Some couples reach a point in their infertility journey when they claim to have "come to terms" with being childless. Can they really be at peace? I’m not buying it.
It's a roller coaster ride... the highest of highs, the lowest of lows and lots of bitterness and confusion swirled in for good measure. Nothing makes sense when you're battling infertility. There are so many emotions wrapped up in this disease: Confusion, anger, shame, fear, hopefulness, hopelessness and sometimes, if you're lucky, peace.
Personally, I am not in touch with the peace part yet. Still in the thick of things, I try to trust in the process and accept things the way they are but it's difficult for me. Try as I might, I've never been a "what will be will be" kind of gal.
Ways to find peace
I've read that inner peace can be achieved by:
- Appreciating what you have and expressing your gratitude.
- Releasing negative emotions such as anger and guilt.
- Feeling positive energy around you.
- Being present: Living in the moment by concentrating on something that allows your senses to come alive.
- Exploring your spiritual or religious beliefs.
What others say
When discussing finding peace with fellow members of my various infertility support groups, here is what I heard:
Shawna S., who tried to conceive on her own for over 11 years says, "I am as at peace as I think you can get. I still have moments where I wish. But I have stopped getting depressed every month when I get my period and I have been to baby showers and realized while I was there that I was actually having a good time. I have grown my family through adoption so I am at the point where I am thankful."
"I cannot find peace in giving up," says Felicia E. "I feel like it is meant to be but what I am doing is trying to enjoy my life more while I wait and trying not to focus on it so much, but I haven't conquered that part. I think about it at least a few times a day."
Rebecca G. shares, "We have pretty much given up, but I wouldn't say I've found peace with it. My husband turns 43 this year and he wants to be done. I actually went back on the pill last month, not to prevent pregnancy but to control my insane cycles. I hate taking it because I know it means there is no chance, but I have found knowing there is no chance is actually less painful than hope and disappointment."
"After four years of disappointment the ache in my heart has started fading," admits Sommer Q. "I think I will always feel like someone is missing but I'm now at peace with my only child. It's amazing how something can be so heavy on your heart and then simply go away. I have accepted that I am a family of three. It is so freeing. Enjoy who you have... with a blink of an eye they're all grown up."
The ultimate test
Our infertility journeys will all come to an end at some point... Some couples may choose to adopt a child or hire a surrogate; others may give themselves a time frame in which to try to conceive a child and when they've reached that deadline, they quit. Others can no longer afford the fight or believe they are too old; and others still have been given a diagnosis that they have, for example, a less than 2 percent chance of success. However and whenever the infertility journey ends, finding peace at the end has to be the hardest part of all this. When you have struggled and sacrificed and hoped for so long for something, it's hard enough to give up, but then to find peace and comfort with it as well, is the ultimate test.
For me, I believe when I can find a place within myself, away from the vicious cycle of pain and all the ups and downs, and into a space of calm and reflection, that is where I will find peace and that could be where wonderful things can then be born.