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Fertile Grief

I started this blog years ago, in part to share my thoughts about comforting touch and birth work, and in part to share some of my personal reflections about my fertility journey. Finally now since these Covid years have passed, I have something to share.

I stumbled upon a great quote that says it quite well, so I’ll start here:

“There’s a difference between giving up, and knowing when you’ve had enough.”

The truth is, that is the pause covid gave me. When the fertility clinics closed and the endometriosis surgeon postponed my appointment from March 2020 to October of that year, it gave me time to sit with it all.

To sit with the grief. The grief of 5 failed transfers with donor eggs after 2 failed egg retrievals. After all the embryos were gone and the question remained, would we try again. Would I do the surgery instead of the medication now that I’d found a better health insurance plan that would cover it? Would that be the trick?

I really didn’t want to give up, but I was also so spent. And if I was to be honest, I had to admit I had had enough. My body had had enough. Enough of the medications, the side effects, the roller-coaster ride that is nearly 8 years of fertility treatments and “trying”.

The grief came in waves. Many mornings I would just wake up sobbing. Some nights I would find myself curled up in a ball, literally balling. Letting go.

The grief turned into prayers for some kind of Divine guidance, for how this mother instinct in me should or could be expressed. What was it all for?

Slowly, as one year turned to two, there began to be more space between these grieving sessions. I began to find comfort in my place as a mother for mothers. My eyes opened to all the ways I was and am able to care for and nurture others. I truly came into acceptance and peace.

The story could have ended there, but my husband circled back with his own nagging desire for a family. He could accept that I was done trying to get pregnant and birth my own babies, but what about the other options?

Surrogacy. Donor embryos. Adoption.

These ideas floated in and out, none feeling quite right, but as my heart re-opened to the thought of mothering a child again in some way, I quite literally began seeing signs everywhere around the Hudson Valley for Foster Care and Ulster County’s search for foster parents. These local organizations plaster their ads all over the lawns and billboards throughout the Hudson Valley, and they kept catching my eye.

Occasionally I’ll meet people who share that they’ve “always thought of fostering a child”. Not me. Not once ever had I imagined being a foster parent.

Until now.

We officially submitted our final piece of paperwork last week and should be officially licensed to open our home to a foster child any day now.

I have no idea where this road will lead. I promise to share as stories worth telling unfold.

What I do know is this, whoever the child or children are who will come through this home, are meant for us. The goal of foster care is reunification with the biological family, so I don’t mean or have any intentions to imply permanence. I mean, that whatever role we are meant to play in any young person’s life, for however long, is where this path has been leading us.

Although foster to adoption can sometimes be a pathway for some families and children, that is no longer our goal. The truth is our goal remains the same as it ever was, to love a child. (Though to be honest, it was always a dream of mine personally to be pregnant and birth babies as I’ve experienced with so many women over the years. I have truly come to accept that that is not my destiny in this body, in this lifetime.)

When the grief was at its peak, I would cry out, why?! Why must we go through this pain?

I certainly don’t understand all of it, but I do know that I feel more capable than ever to care for a child after all we’ve been through. I also know we would have never found our way here if we’d had a child of our own.

So the great mystery of life continues.

This is the story so far. Thank you so much for reading til here and being on this path with me. I hope there is even some inspiration for you in my story, wherever your own grief, your own having enough of something lies.


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