I’ve thought about this post for the past few weeks. I knew I wanted to say something, but I wasn’t sure what, and everything I wrote just didn’t seem right.

A few weeks ago, we made a decision – we’re not going to actively try to get pregnant anymore.

I have felt it coming for a while. It started with feelings on the other end of the spectrum…a growing impatience, an increasing fixation on all things ttc, fleeting feelings of doubt about our decisions not to pursue infertility treatment, frustration with my progress in acupuncture…It made me question where we are, and what we’re doing.

I started acupuncture with optimism, but with more of a feeling of ‘wouldn’t it be amazing if this worked?!?’ than ‘this is going to work.’ I thought it would be beneficial to my overall health, and I think it was, initially. After a while, though, I felt like I was doing more and more to try get pregnant…charting my basal body temperature, using ovulation predictor kits, using castor oil packs to try to get rid of whatever ‘blockage’ the acupuncturist thought I had, taking vitex, and using progesterone cream (I was supposed to add a Chinese herb to the mix, but I couldn’t find it). It started out so simple, but over the past three months, I found I was doing something to increase my chances of getting pregnant every day, and thinking about it more and more. I know that a lot of people dealing with infertility can’t help but think about it every day, but after two and a half years (and many more years, if you count my previous marriage), I felt I had moved past it a little bit – where it wasn’t at least a daily topic of conversation. Acupuncture was initially relaxing, but over time, I felt like the pressure to get pregnant was growing, and the whole experience was becoming something that I hadn’t expected. Looking back, I could have discussed all this with my acupuncturist, but I just felt like she wouldn’t understand. Most people who are getting acupuncture for infertility are desperate to have a child – so why not try some herbs, if they might help? She had a few adult children and several grandchildren, and she said many times that being a parent and grandparent is the best part of her life. I just didn’t think she’d understand that I was feeling overwhelmed by all her suggestions to try to get pregnant.

Last month, I started to wonder…if I was spending all this money and putting in all this effort, were we sure we didn’t want to see an RE? I considered getting a second opinion, and maybe even going through a few cycles of treatment. I found myself thinking that maybe the solution is right around the corner, and we have to just spend a little more time, money, and effort to get there. I felt that familiar anxiety – the fear of regret and giving up too early and knowing that my decisions could lead to a life without children – along with the dread of facing fertility treatments. M had assumed acupuncture was the last thing we would try, and he wasn’t entirely thrilled about the idea of going back to the doctor to try a few medicated cycles. He wasn’t even too keen on getting a second opinion or more testing, since he thought it would be a slippery slope from testing to additional treatment. At that point, I wasn’t sure what to do, but it started to occur to me that maybe it was just time to put an end to all of it – and to just move on. But I still wasn’t sure.

I went through all that internal debate about which doctor to see for an annual exam, and whether or not I would also ask for infertility testing (again), and I think that in that process, it became clear to me – I was tired of thinking about infertility, and I was losing the desire to keep trying to have a child. I’d still, of course, love to have a surprise pregnancy, but I’m ready to put the whole trying aspect of it behind me. I’m glad I tried acupuncture, but I think that it’s just time to let it go. It feels like the right decision.

My first step – the one that caused the most anxiety – was breaking up with my acupuncturist. It wasn’t easy…I had to cancel my last appointment because of a work-related conflict, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go the following week, either – also because of work. I could have gone after that…but deep down, I was sort of dreading it. Some of my issues with my acupuncturist were personal, but most of it had to do with me, and the way I need to handle this process. I really liked my acupuncturist – I just think her expectations were somewhat unrealistic. I think that being infertile and not being able to fix it were foreign concepts to her, and I think she believed to some extent that every woman could have a baby, given enough effort. She never came right out and said it, but I think that’s what she believes. She felt we were seeing progress, and we were, but in my opinion, it was minimal. Maybe if I knew what the problem was, I would feel differently about it. Maybe if she hadn’t become convinced that there was a problem with my uterus – like a fibroid or some malformation – I would have remained hopeful, but I knew that wasn’t the problem, and I started to dread going, because I knew she would want to talk about it.

I initially felt that I just needed a break. I wanted to make plans and enjoy life and not think about whether or not I’m ovulating or how my temps are doing or having an embryo trying to implant or whether castor oil packs will get rid of the cysts or growths my acupuncturist thinks I have and are preventing me from getting pregnant. I had been able living life under the assumption that we would be childfree – and did it happily – so I thought that I just needed to spend some time back in that space.

Now that some time has passed, though, I realize that the reason that breaking up with my acupuncturist and deciding to take a break has been so emotional and anxiety-ridden is that I know it’s a permanent break. I’ll be 37 within a few months, so I’ve felt like we need to do something now, if we’re going to do anything at all. There isn’t time to take a long break and revisit it later. After giving it some thought, I realized that I’m ok with that. I just need to put it behind me and move on. And I am…and I feel like it’s the right decision for us. While this isn’t the outcome I would have liked overall, I honestly feel content with it. I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m thankful for that.

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