Letting go, not giving up.
Every time I've shared about our fertility journey, despite the disappointments, frustrations and flat out grief over the past 7 years, I've always written with some kind of clarity and hope about what's next. This time, the road ahead is less clear.
Our fifth IVF transfer with our last remaining donor egg embryo failed last month. With no embryos left, the next steps are uncertain. After all, it's not like embryos, or the money that pays for them, grow on trees!
Part of me is thoroughly embarrassed by my body's failure. Why is it so much easier sometimes to have more compassion for others than we do ourselves? I certainly don't judge other women who struggle.
Part of me is grateful at this point to have been able to confirm a diagnosis of endometriosis (a sometimes silent, but treatable factor that may be present in some fertility challenges and repeated implantation failures - if you're curious about how it's diagnosed or if this is something you should look into, feel free to reach out).
Part of me is also embarrassed that I'm not giving up. Like I'm some kind of glutton for punishment. But something in me knows we are "not there yet", and as painful as it sometimes feels to continue hoping, I just can't ignore that knowing.
So where does that leave me, us? Because as much as I know I'm not ready to give up, I know I can't grasp or grip or cling anymore either. That is truly the most painful part.
It's like I need to let go, without giving up. But how? How is letting go not giving up? How can not giving up be letting go?
I'm new to it, but I think I've started.
For the first time I feel like I'm not being forceful in my decision-making. We had one invitation to adopt new embryos, that fell through because it wasn't the right fit, and I didn't get attached. I wasn't insistent and I didn't suffer over it. I'm engaging with options humbly, as opposed to insisting I know what step to take next. Clearly what do I know about the path this is meant to take?! It is now more clear than ever that I'm not driving this train.
But I'm on the train.
The phrase that comes to mind for this reality is "committed but not attached". Staying on the train but relinquishing the wheel.
The path of fertility is not unlike birth in this way. The value of preparation aside, when it's happening, when that train has left the station, there's no getting off, and all that's left is to surrender to the impulse moving through you. Listening and following its inner direction.
Have you ever been in this place? I'd love to hear how you moved through.