I read about strangers journey through the emotionally challenging infertility rollercoaster and it makes me weak. Everyone has a tragic and painful journey. While everyone’s story is different they are still the same. People try to have a baby naturally, they strike out trying, go to a clinic, trust a doctor, try the suggested course of treatment, treatments fail, new treatments same results, doubt becomes fear and then self loathing, wash-rinse-repeat. Sometimes it goes on for years and sometimes a child is never born. Everyone in the infertility community knows this story. Each time you think you have heard the worse story someone tops it. It is a game of one-upmanship nobody wants to win. I want to pull you all up men and women alike, hug you, and reverse your present fortune. If only I could. I only have my words and experience. I am a painfully tenacious positive person. I will find the silver lining of the cloud if I have to destroy it to do it.
When do you give up on the baby dream and pack away your needles and fertility meds up for good? There is not an easy answer to that but it must be a well thought out choice. You must accept that the journey will be hard but the juice is worth the squeeze. Everything you are about to read is my opinion and only based on personal experience. You are trying to build a family but keep a couple of things in mind. First of all family is what you make of it. If you have a loving spouse and loving extended family you already have more than most. I realize this is not enough in this situation but my point is to not forget what you already have during the process. That is very easy to do and when you forget what you have you may lose yourself. The next thing to keep in mind is that any family strength is based on a strong foundation. If the love you share with your partner is strong and communication is open then you will go further and weather more. You should consistently let out your emotion and talk with ones closest to you. You do not need advice as much as you need to be heard sometimes. Communication is everything. Your husband wants to know where you stand and what you are thinking in most cases. Most of us men spend our lives wondering what you are thinking and it can consume some men who create their own conclusions without investigating your mind and heart. These are the times you should share the most. He should ask questions not only of you but your doctors as well. If he is the medical cause of the fertility woes I would suggest trying to make sure he understands the issue does not define his manhood and that many other men have issues the same or similar to his. Make sure he knows you love him no less than you do the day you fell in love (he should do the same for you. Now the communication is up and open but the fertility journeys pelts you with bad news time and time again. Your communication and love will keep you going but when does it reach the point of being unhealthy to carry on? If the relationship is in jeopardy and worth having that may be a sign to stop the journey. When the money and insurance has run out and finances are pushed to a point where you may not recover it is definitely time to consider stopping. These are easy indicators of when to quit. If the stress is unbearable it is not a bad idea to skip a cycle or two and recover emotionally and physically. That is what we did. We stepped away and I was thinking we were done with fertility clinics but my wife regained her strength and put us on the road one last time. There are two times I would consider throwing in the towel. If you are sure you have done all you can and taken every route possible but had no luck it could be time. Things could always change later (age always is a reason) and you could try again. But the truth is that if you have done all you can and explored everything you can afford to explore then you should not sacrifice your life and love on a journey that does not define you. Your ability to have a child is part of you and may affect you but you are already amazing for taking the journey. The other reason I would suggest giving in is when you are no longer sure of why you are doing it in the first place. Are you being persistent because you don’t like living not being able to do something others can or because your spouse wants a child and you are not sure where you stand on the issue. If you commit to the infertility journey then you must want the baby and not a challenge to bested. Do it for you. Do not be afraid of the journey. Do not be afraid to love. Do not be afraid to fail but know your limits and what you can afford emotionally and financially. I hope you never give up if possible but I hope you are happy and healthy first. I love you and hope you get all you want.