I couldn’t be an Ostrich

So in my previous post I wrote about my epiphany that I would never adopt with my husband because it would always feel like second best or settling. In my heart I know this is true – I wouldn’t want our family to be seen as less than, or something other than amazing and blessed and chosen….something that we both embrace every single day and feel grateful for. If we ever do adopt I want us to feel lucky and fortunate, rather than disappointed that our first prize didn’t work out. I spoke with my husband about it and he admitted that I am right, and that right now he would indeed feel that way – but that he doesn’t know how he would feel in the future.

I also said that I wouldn’t think about the consequences of this, because that was too scary. I said that for now I would be an ostrich and stick my head in the sand. But I lied to you and to myself. I’ve thought about it a lot and it’s scaring the living daylights out of me. Worse than that, it’s putting so much pressure on our last transfer…. I feel as though not only is this my last chance to be pregnant and carry my own child, but it could also be the deciding factor over whether or not my marriage fails or succeeds.

So I’ve decided to reach out, and to write about it, rather than keep it all inside of myself and make myself sick with worry. These are some of my thoughts:

  1. If he’s not prepared to adopt, that means the only option to have a child is surrogacy. Whilst this is amazing, I’m not 100% sure that I have the emotional reserves for this and I am 200% sure that I don’t want to spend so much money on it and the ensuing life limbo that, that causes.
  2. Is it fair for me to deny him the chance of a biological child if he can? There is absolutely nothing wrong with his sperm – he could father a flipping nation and the only reason he can’t is because he chose to love me with my crappy eggs and endometriosis and underlying immune issues and and and. Note – I do not feel guilty about this as I didn’t choose this, I’m more trying to figure out what is fair vs unfair.
  3. Is it fair on me? Is 4 years not long enough? In fact it’s longer than 4 years. We’ve been together ten years and after two years together we had been living together for a year and had just bought property together. I was very ready for children but he wasn’t – so I waited until he was ready. And then it didn’t happen so I waited another four years. I’m pretty tired of waiting.
  4. Adoption in South Africa is much more financially manageable and there is a guarantee of a baby at the end… we could be 100% assured of having a baby by next Christmas vs the fact that even surrogacy doesn’t guarantee a baby.
  5. What does it say about his character that he isn’t open to adoption? I’ve tried not to judge him and to understand where he is coming from, but I guess there is a small part of me that does. Does it make him unkind? Lacking in generosity? Narcissistic that he can only see himself loving an extension of himself?
  6. Is it fair on me that I have had to give up my genes and potentially even my ability to carry our child and yet he isn’t willing to consider adoption? I resent this.
  7. And then the big one. If we can’t resolve this, what does that mean for our marriage? Does it mean we will have to divorce? And then this is where I really start going down the rabbit hole… does it mean we should never have gotten married in the first place? That it wasn’t ‘meant to be’? Does it mean that the reason we haven’t been able to fall pregnant is actually because our marriage wasn’t meant to last and we weren’t meant to share children together? Does the fact that our sex life has taken such a dive mean that there is no longer passion for each other and a slow decline to a sexless marriage is inevitable and one or either of us will eventually call it?

Guys, I need help.  The truth is that we have a strong marriage. We’ve held each other through immense pain over the last couple of years and have a deep love and commitment to one another. He is my absolute best friend and the person I look forward to coming home to each day. We make each other laugh and choose to spend time together over anybody else. Over and above that, the whole aim of putting everything into this next transfer is that it will be successful and all of these ‘what if’s’ will have been for nothing. I don’t want to go into our last transfer sitting with all of these anxieties. I need to claw my way out of the rabbit hole. Has anyone else had similar experiences or feelings? It would be helluva reassuring to know I’m not the only one. Even if you haven’t, please feel free to throw your two cents in – as you can tell, ANY and ALL insights or advice would be appreciated right now!

 

 

18 thoughts on “I couldn’t be an Ostrich

  1. I couldn’t be an ostrich either when we were in a similar situation – I was ready for adoption and my husband wasn’t. The best advice our counsellor gave us was to hold space for different feelings and just give it time.
    And we did just that. I quit my job to reduce steess in hope that it would help with another pregnancy. We tried another pregnancy because (in large part my husband really wanted to). And we lost it. We saw a RPL specialist in the usa and we couldn’t afford the treatment, especially because there was not a garuntee that it would result in a living healthy child. Then we met with the adoption people one more time – we met with a different lady and learned about international open infant adoption. When we left the meeting my husband looled at me and said “I’m excited, for the first time in years I think we could have a child”. At this point we both knew we’d tried everything and we both had no lingering regrets or what it’s. And that was the day we decided to pursue adoption. And honestly, sitting here today with our son who came into our lives via adoption, both my husband and I 100% agree that this is the child who is meant to be in our lives. We love him completely and he loves us. We couldnt be happier that we chose adoption when we did.
    But I do realize if we turned to adoption earlier our hearts may not have been in it. Honestly if you asked me when we were in the throws of RPL what we would do if it didn’t eventually work I would have said we would end up without children. I didn’t think my husband would ever come around to adoption and I didn’t even know if I had the emotional capacity to get through the process.
    I guess I’m sharing this to share that we were in a similar space and eventually we both embraced adoption and it worked for us. I’m not saying it will necessarily happen the same way for you, but it could be similar in the end – who knows.
    If you ever want to please feel free to email me and I can share more and answer any questions you may have. Lots of love.

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    • Thank you so much mpd for commenting. I totally hear what you’re saying… that it can happen, but it is a journey where eventually my husband will arrive at that moment of no regret and a willingness to move forward in a different direction. After four years of fertility treatment and two miscarriages I certainly hope that, that moment is soon. We’ve tried counselling ..first time two years ago and again last year and I do belive space was held…but I’m not sure how much longer I can hold that space for him without feeling that we are simply stuck. I have decided to be more proactive though so hopefully taking my husband along to meet agencies/ social workers/ maybe meet other adoptive parents…something but shift.

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  2. Hi there, I was in a similar situation (but not the same) when I was 38 and had exhausted all options (failed IVF, decided not to do donor, no possibility of surrogacy). My husband was dead against adoption. I didn’t really examine why, because I was also undecided about it. So his conviction kind of decided things for me, luckily. I’ve often pondered what makes one person able to adopt and another person unable (unwilling) to do it: I think it’s fascinating. For me, and my hub too I think, we were fairly ambivalent about kids like a lot of people before they have children, so maybe we just didn’t want them enough to go through the long & difficult process (very hard in our country) and then take in an ‘unknown quantity’. I just could never imagine suddenly one day having a ‘strange’ child in my home. I don’t know what that makes me. I love and admire the idea of it, and I think if my husband had wanted to do it I would probably have been able to get excited about it. I’m explaining it a bit badly… I just wonder is your husband similarly ambivalent about having a child – e.g. ‘if it happens, it happens; if it doesn’t, we’ll be OK’; that kind of attitude? Obviously to adopt you have to passionately, absolutely want a child and believe that your life will be better with that child in it, and be worth all the upheaval and trauma of the process. I don’t think it makes him him unkind or lacking in generosity, or narcissistic. I have sometimes wondered if people who adopt are more altruistic by nature, but then I look at the two people I know who adopted (both women age 40+ on their own) and neither of them is in any way more generous or altruistic than anyone else I know. I totally understand your worries about the future implications of this: when one half really wants something, and the other doesn’t, does the first one have to make a huge sacrifice in order to stay with the other? It’s really hard and I wouldn’t know what advice to give. If as you say, you have a good strong marriage and a deep love and commitment to one another. and are best friends and the people that you look forward to coming home to each day, that is a good foundation for anything and I don’t think this thing will break that. Even if the worst thing happened (for you) and you ended up without children, you have better foundations than many people. Me and my hub came out of it all without a child and we’re really good, if that is any comfort (probably isn’t at this stage!). But since your dilemma is basically whether to stay with your hub and not adopt, or potentially go it alone and adopt as a single mother, then I suppose that’s what you should be mulling over: maybe if you look at it in those black and white (harsh) terms you could draw up pros and cons? I’ve just read the comment above in the middle of writing this and I totally agree that you should give yourselves space, especially head space – maybe just slow down – for different all the different feelings and just give it time. Take some time out mentally and just let the current stuff take its course, if you can. Decompress a bit and don’t feel as if everything needs to be decided now.
    Sorry for such crap advice but I can feel for your dilemma; hope you get some clarity soon. Hugs

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    • Thank you for commenting and for sharing your own experiences and providing a different perspective. I’ve recently stumbled on your blog and your writing has been very soothing for me. My husband isn’t ambivalent about wanting kids… if anything, he possibly was prior to our infertility but has gained a lot of clarity on what he does want. I am not ambivalent at all, can’t imagine a child free future for myself. I don’t really understand my husbands perspective as he hasn’t been able to verbalize it himself but knowing him, I think you may be right about the fear of bringing a ‘ strange’ child into our lives. This is probably enhanced by two factors… my husband is Italian and is very passionate about his Italian identity. We live in South Africa where he is a minority and so continuing the family heritage and culture is very important to him (ten years ago on our first date he made me promise that he would speak only Italian to his kids and I would allow that). Here is south Africa the only feasible option for adoption is Trans racial adoption and so I think he can’t get his head around how those two cultural backgrounds would meet and blend in a way that he is comfortable with. And this makes him worry that he wouldn’t be a good father, and that is his biggest fear. He says he would rather live alone than mess up a child’s life. We are planning a whole month of decompression in December after a year with no real breaks, so hopefully that will help things to settlex

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      • Hi, that’s funny, my husband is Italian too and it’s part of why I wanted our own child (rather than adopting an older child), so he/she would be bilingual – I probably had overly romantic views about this. Mine says he is absolutely fine without kids but I do worry about what goes on in his head – we can never really know, I suppose. I hope he doesn’t have a realisation in his 50s that he has missed out, and my biggest fear is him meeting someone and them having a kid together; I don’t know how I would handle that… Very good idea to decompress, December is not a good month to do anything too serious…

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  3. I’m sorry you are going through this. Could you try going to see a therapist together to help talk things through? There was a really good podcast I listened to about what to do when you and your partner aren’t on the same page which might help: https://beatinfertility.co/couples-same-page/
    My husband has never felt the same strong desire to have kids like I have and he also didn’t want to do IVF at all and we had some difficult arguments about it! We eventually were able to get on the same page but it was hard.. He also said he wanted to stop if IVF round three fails but then I also feel a lot of pressure then! But have spoken about it again since and we’ve agreed if IVF round three doesn’t work, we might try a fourth round if my doctors are optimistic and I think I can go through it all again. At that stage if it fails we’ve decided to accept a childfree life, though I’d probably still always be hoping that it might happen one day.

    I think you are being a bit unfair about your husband and his thoughts on adoption to be honest but that’s probably because I don’t personally want to adopt and I don’t think it makes me an unkind person (I hope not anyway!!). It’s hard to explain but I just don’t feel drawn to it and it’s something you should be enthusiastic about. My mum sadly passed away when I was younger and I really want to have my own baby to pass on some of her genes. So my point is not everyone feels the same way about adoption. I don’t know how you are going to decide what way to best move forward now, whether to go with a surrogate or what, I’m wishing you lots of strength in this difficult time. Infertility is also really hard on a marriage. And bad for your sex life! I don’t think you need to end your marriage, just talk to a therapist and find a way forward. Hugs x

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    • Thank you for bringing your perspective on adoption… this is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to hear. I need to hear from other people who don’t want to adopt to get it in perspective if that makes sense. I’m going to work hard on being more understanding and less judgementalx

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  4. Felt like i was reading my mind/story written by somebody else. First of all, i am very sorry for all that you are going through.
    Kindly do not feel its unfair on him that you are his infertile wife and he would have had a flipping nation as his kids. Too many would haves could haves can happen. He could have been sick with a deadly disease and not have had any children also. So dont think so hard. You guys love each other, dont think this wasnt meant to be. If you guys have supported each other through thick and thin then this is ur major test. Pass it too! And you guys can.

    Adoption or surrogacy is not a small deal to face. Hell even donor eggs or donor sperm is. Dont hold bad feelings against him , you guys will go for adoption when you guys will be 100% ready. My husband and I have backed down from surrogacy twice! Imagine that.

    Be easy on yourself.. life isnt complete for everyone. There is always smthing that makes a human being feel sad about. At least you both arent dying and are in the hospital for that. I have exactly the same story as urs… immune issues and im the infertile one. We long for being with eachother over anyone else. He is perfectly fertile and he could hv had 10 kids by now. But falling for these would haves and could haves only drives us insane. Would haves and could haves can be negative also but we dont realise that.

    Sometimes it takes long to hv kids…infertility is very common nowadays..it doesnt mean that you think that your marriage will end. Kids dont hold the marriage, the husband and wife do. I have seen couples with 4 kids get divorced. So be calm and only being calm can help you get pregnant! Good luck! And dont ever give up!

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    • Thank you so much for your comments… I think your suggestion of not thinking too much is a great one as I tend to overthink things and get into a state. I’ve been following your blog and know you’ve also had a really rough road. I hope your visit with your father in law passes quickly and that your next cycle is positive.

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  5. All such totally normal feelings. It is such a complex subject and one that really can’t be ‘decided’ until you are at that point. Who know was will happen with this next transfer. Who knows what will happen in his heart. I say keep your head up certainly but your mind open and take it step by step.

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  6. Totally normal feelings! I don’t have a magic answer as I’m going through a similar set of questions. But for what it’s worth I don’t think this means your marriage wasn’t meant to be, who really goes into it knowing what you’re going to face together? Infertility places a huge stress on marriage but you can come out stronger for it. After all, it’s probably the biggest test it will ever face. It’s obvious you love your husband very much. Don’t judge your husband too harshly for not wanting to adopt. I find that in decisions regarding IVF etc my husband is usually a bit behind me before we often arrive at the same place – I get frustrated about this but have learnt that you can’t force these things – the decisions are just too big. My husband also doesn’t want to adopt – a big reason being that here in the UK you are now quite unlikely to get a baby through adoption. But it took him a while to come round to donor eggs as well and in the end he did (after we went to a talk on it). Have you ever had counselling? Have you considered couples counselling? We had couples counselling just once and it was fairly helpful. For me though the most important thing is to keep talking to each other. It’s tough, and when you know you might come to the end soon it’s even tougher as you’ve been so focussed on the next steps. I wish I had the easy answer for you as I’m looking for it too but I don’t think there is one. Best of luck, really hoping things work out. x

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  7. I think you have to ask yourself, do you agree on absolutely everything else too? Do you both love the decor in your home, are you both driving cars you absolutely dreamed of driving? Or is it all a work in progress? My guess is that it is all a work in progress, and that things change as time goes on.

    I think you’ll find that your husband loves you, not what you might be able to give him (as in a child) – I know we wanted lots of children, and we were blessed with our one; but it still wasn’t what we had planned. And it’s ok, we adjusted our life view, and are living a dream anyway. It might not be the dream I had when I was 22, (thank heavens for that!), but it’s awesome, and I have a partner with whom I share this adjusted dream. He loves me, I love him, not because we can or can’t have children, but because he’s Charlie!

    I hope you find a peaceful place in your hearts…

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  8. In my limited experience, men seem more hesitant on adoption than women do. They just don’t have a paternal instinct, in general, as strong our maternal instincts. Men seem much more comfortable accepting fate and living child free than women seem. What frustrates me is that once they do have a baby through natural or sciebtific means or adoption, THEN they get it and say, “I wish we’d done this sooner,” or, “yeah, we definitely need to have another!”. My husband REFUSED adoption and now that we have our two kids (IVF), he says that he can’t imagine not being a dad and that he could adopt a baby now without a second thought (if there was one in the family needing a home – we are not expanding our family unless there is some type of teenage pregnancy situation). He would happily raise any baby… And before, he REFUSED. All that to say, I think your husband is sounding pretty typical and probably just wants to focus on the task at hand before shifting gears to plan B. And it is plan B, but that’s ok. How many of us are with our spouses because someone we loved very much and wanted to marry didn’t want to marry us? My little sister is her husband’s plan B and they have an amazing family and life together and wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel the same way about adoption…. Once you’re both mentally there.

    You’re dealing with hard stuff. This is all very difficult and I’m sending love.

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