Infertility is a terrible disease- physically painful and emotionally grueling, as dreams and plans get delayed or outright replaced by doctor appointments, tests, and all those darned needles. Will the pain of infertility go away after I adopt? Will it ever go away?
The pain of infertility is so much more than failure to conceive a child. It is the death of a dream. And even if you do become a mother by treatment or by adoption, infertility leaves in its wake so many incomplete dreams and emotions that feel like they will never heal. Many couples wondering if the pain will ever completely go away. Recently, a member of the Creating a Family online support group asked a question that reminded us again of just how darned hard infertility is.
Will the Pain of Infertility Ever Go Away?
“We’re 5 years in trying to conceive and I’m TIRED. I have an opportunity to adopt an unborn baby girl. My question is, does it get any easier dealing with the infertility, the failure, the empty feeling. Does your heart stop breaking every month when you know you’re not pregnant? I’m so afraid that I’m gonna get this little baby but still need more…. hope I didn’t offend anyone!”
No, my dear. You didn’t offend anyone. In fact, you opened a fantastic conversation that allowed the community to share in your vulnerability. The wisdom and perspective shared in response to the question of whether the pain of infertility ever goes away was refreshing and the best, really, of this online community we love.
The Pain of Infertility After Adoption
Christi shared her story of multiple losses before connecting with a friend who introduced her to an expectant mother. She and her husband went on to adopt that expectant mom’s little one.
“Some people will tell you that you need to work through [infertility grief] completely BEFORE you ever consider adoption. Many of us realize, though, that infertility can affect you for a lifetime, and you can parent successfully without a long wait to deal with it all… My infertility hung over me until I completely took any chance of fertility away. Only after that did I heal much better. It was like taking out an emotionally festering wound, for me. It’s important, I believe, to make sure that you do deal with the underlying emotions regarding your infertility, no doubt, but you can do that, and parent at the same time.”
Joy and Grief Can and Do Co-Exist in Infertility
Quite a few experienced members pointed out that while it is difficult, it is possible for joy and grief to co-exist in life and the struggle with infertility is often no different. Erin summed it up well, saying “A blessing and a great trial can both be present simultaneously in our lives. Yes, [infertility] still hurts and always will, but alongside that, great joy will be had with your lovely daughter if you decide to take her…”
Changing Your Focus Can Be a Huge Relief
Each woman has to decide for herself what she wants out of this journey. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you want more to be a mother or to be pregnant?
- How much do you want or need to experience all the steps to becoming a parent, from pregnancy to childbirth to breastfeeding?
- What is your goal for your journey?”
There are no “right” answers. Adoption doesn’t cure the pain of infertility but the change in focus to adoption can be tremendously healing for the raw emotions of trying to conceive and being disappointed by each month’s reminder that there is no baby on the way. Jacqueline said:
“After 4 years of secondary infertility, working on our adoption made me unbelievably happy. Such a weight had been lifted. But in that time I went to my best friend’s baby shower, burst into tears and had to sneak out the back. The thought of adoption helped me in ways I could never have imagined, but that pain will always stay with me.”
Shayla offered that changing the focus from infertility to becoming a mom might allow the original poster to feel ‘normal’ and have the baby she always wanted and to talk with friends about the new stage of being a parent. Many women related to that, sharing that the ability to join friends in “normal” conversations about baby clothes, sleepless nights, and sweet parenting moments were also healing for the previous feelings of being left out of the loop.
Amber bravely shared that changing course and focusing on adoption helped heal some hard things in her marriage: “Once we decided on adoption and gave up trying, that was a huge relief! It brought our marriage closer and slowly started to repair our sex life (sorry, maybe TMI, but this is the truth. It was wrecked.) Each step I took to adopt made me feel like for the first time I was doing something constructive.”
So? Does The Pain of Infertility EVER Go Away?
The short answer is often “no” — the pain of infertility won’t completely go away. Infertility is a disease that alters the course of your life. But while the pain won’t disappear completely, it does diminish and change.
As Shayla said, “…the ache to give birth, carry a baby, breastfeed — that doesn’t ever go completely away. It does dwindle dramatically as everyone around you grows up and out of that stage though, when it’s not a constant reminder.”
The pain of infertility often gets softer with each passing year. Be kind to yourself while you are working it through. Educate yourself about your disease and your treatment options. But take time to also educate yourself about the other options available. Seek support (our online community is full of kind, compassionate women like the ones quoted here!). It is healing to remember you are not alone.