I realized today that this summer marks four years of M and I trying to start a family. I spent three years trying to have a baby with my previous husband, and I realized today that I have spent, in total, 7 out of the last 10 years of my life trying to get pregnant.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m not more upset…about being infertile, not knowing whether I’ll ever have a family…but then I remember – that’s a long time…to accept it, and to thrive despite of it. 

And the thing is, it’s a lot easier this time around. When I was married to my ex, I was devastated when we had difficulty conceiving. I really think that infertility was one of the things that eventually led to our divorce. It wasn’t the only thing, of course, but it was a contributor. During the first year, he always told me I was overreacting, and he complained to his mother about how poorly I was handling things. And then she told me that he told her (which is an example of how infertility may have contributed to our divorce, but certainly wasn’t the sole cause). I was devastated and felt unsupported. I was angry, and later became resentful. Years later, he wanted to aggressively pursue treatment and said he couldn’t imagine his life without children. He said I was ruining his life when I was hesitant to move forward. So, I did, and went to almost every single appointment alone…including the one when I was getting an IUI and had to tell my ex that we had almost no chance of conceiving because his sperm were deformed, heading in the wrong direction, or missing all together (they suspected he had an infection that they somehow missed in the SA and previous IUIs). He was supposed to follow up with them, and didn’t. I was finished – with all of it. 

And even though it was assumed that my ex was the one with “the problem,” as so many people like to say, I knew that wasn’t the whole story. I honestly hoped that it was true, but I didn’t believe it. And 3 years later, when he went on to have a baby with his new wife, I knew.

When I got remarried, M and I didn’t plan to have children. I wouldn’t have married him if he was desperate to have a child, because I didn’t want the pressure. I didn’t want anyone to ever tell me again that I was ruining their life because we couldn’t have children. 

I was a different person when I got married the second time. I was 33 instead of 26. I was well aware of how fragile a marriage can be, and that life is what you make it – there are no guarantees. I married M because I could envision my life with him – just the two of us – and be happy with that. 

Our decision later to try to have children has hard – for both of us, but for different reasons. I was afraid I wouldn’t get pregnant (and with good reason), and that our marriage would suffer. M was afraid to have children, period. But we set our fears aside and forged ahead. I was heartbroken when I realized I would be dealing with infertility again, but as time passed, I realized that I confronted what was, at the time, the scariest thing. I was afraid dealing with infertility would damage us, but it didn’t.

It’s so different to be blind-sighted by infertility than to confront it a second time. It’s still upsetting, and I wish I would just (after four years!) get pregnant already, but the grief and despair just aren’t there for me anymore. It just is. I am infertile. I have been for the past ten years.

There’s a different pressure now – because I’m 38. I’m running out of time. I have a lot of friends who are 38 and are getting pregnant without even trying, but that’s not me. My ovaries think I’m in my early 40’s, and even sans-endometrioma, odds aren’t on my side. We were really torn about IVF vs adoption, but since I have insurance coverage, we’re going with the IVF. I don’t think there’s time for both. And I’m still waiting for insurance approval for my IVF cycle.

I have no idea if it will work or how many cycles I’ll be able to tolerate. I’d love to say that we’ll have a family one way or another, but that simply isn’t true. What I will be able to say is that we tried, and if it doesn’t work, that has to be enough. And if that’s how it ends, then it will be ok. I guess that’s the gift of time. Over the past four years or seven or ten, I’ve accepted that I may have a family, but I may not, and life will go on – and we’ll thrive despite of it.