Interesting Question

Yesterday I received a comment from a new reader to my blog. In her comment, she posed two questions to me, one which was rather interesting and I thought I’d address it here and also get the opinions of my fellow infertiles and the second, which quite unintentionally on her part, caused me to have the reaction of a raging bull having a red flag waved in front of it. I’ve decided to address both questions here in my blog because I’d like to get the opinions of my fellow infertiles. In addition, it would be great for all those not battling infertility to read so that they can perhaps gain a new insight into infertility and better arm themselves to respond in a more compassionate or sensitive way should they ever come across an infertile couple in real life.

Ok, so firstly, to the interesting questions – Am I Fighting To Find A Solution To My Infertility Or To Become A Mother?

This is an interesting question, mostly because I’ve asked myself this same thing a few times over the course of the past 7 years. I have wondered if this desire comes from the strong urge to be a mother or if its got more to do with my competitive nature and my steely determination to beat infertility. Frankly, I think the answer is a little bit of both and I think that each one goes hand in hand with the other. If it weren’t for my overwhelming desire to be a mother I would not have the steely determination to beat infertility. It if weren’t for my steely determination to beat infertility I’d give up my strong desire to be a mother. In addition, being a mother is something I’ve always wanted, its been a desire of mine since I was a little girl playing with her dolls. When my brother was born, to avoid sibling jealousy, my Mom and Dad bought me a baby doll with a carry cot and a pram. I looked after after my baby doll the same way my mother looked after my brother. When my brother fed, my baby doll fed, when my brothers nappy got changed, my baby dolls nappy got changed, when my brother was taken for a walk in his pram, my baby doll was taken for a walk in her pram. When I was 11 years old my Uncle & Aunt adopted a baby boy. My Aunt, interestingly enough, was infertile under almost the exact same circumstances as me, messy appendix operations as a child. I was so excited for this baby boy to come into our lives, every moment I could spend with my aunt and him was so precious, I wanted to do everything, hold him, feed him, change his nappies, rock him to sleep. You see, the desire to be a mother has ALWAYS been a part of who I am, its always been there, its not something that developed later in life, I’ve always known that I was created to mother, to nurture and to care for a raise children. So yes, while part of my drive comes from my steely determination to beat infertility, the underlying reason is because of my overwhelming desire to be a mother. I also want to add that I truly believe that once an infertile always an infertile. In other words, I will be blessed with a child (or more) but I will always be infertile. The things that make me infertile will never go away, they will always be there, along with the emotions and the lessons I have learned on this journey, so there is no beating infertility because being infertile is either something you are or you aren’t. To my infertile friends, how would you respond to this question? Would you also say its a bit of both?

The second question I found really upsetting, I realize, the intention was not to upset, its a question that a lot of people ask without thinking or realizing the hurt that it causes. I want to address this question so that every person reading my blog learns something from it because I believe its something that every single infertile person has to deal with many times along their journey and its a question that is often asked with out the person asking realizing how much hurt they cause.

So here it is: Am I sure that being a Mother is part of God’s plan for me?

Firstly, let me say, if God had not intended me to be a mother, he could not have given me the tools to create life. So I have to say, yes, it is part of God’s plan for me to be a mother. If it weren’t he wouldn’t have given me a uterus, he wouldn’t have given me ovaries laden with eggs, he wouldn’t have given me fallopian tubes to carry sperm to my waiting eggs. Yes, perhaps those things don’t work as well as they should, but this is true for many people and many different circumstances. I also wear glasses because I have poor eye sight. Because my eye sight is poor I do not for one second believe that it wasn’t part of God’s plan for me to not see. Some of us just need additional help in certain area’s of our lives and this journey to find the help and over come the difficulty builds character, it creates human beings with beautiful spirits and it strengthens our faith in God and in His promises to u. Secondly, I believe that my strong desire to be a mother comes from God. I believe He gave me this desire because He has a plan for my life and part of that plan is to see the desires of my heart fulfilled.

I know so many of my feritle friends and readers want to be a good friend to me and to so many who walk the same path as me, but we’re strange creatures, very raw and very easily hurt. If  you want to know how to be the best kind of friend/supporter of an infertile, please, I urge you to read This article.

Lastly, to the commenter who sparked this response, I would like to say two things. Firstly, I know that you comment came with the best intentions and the reason for my response in this manner is not so you can feel slapped in the face, but because they are the types of questions that we infertiles often get asked and I believe the answers are valid for all readers. Secondly, I want to thank you for asking these questions because I’ve been in a very bad place the last week. I’ve been beyond sad. I’ve questioned my faith, I’ve questioned the reasons why I’m doing this. I’ve felt lost and defeated and I’ve wanted to quit. But by addressing your questions here today, I’ve remembered the reasons why I’m doing this. Typing this posting has given me the strength to put a smile on my face and in my heart and to push ahead. For a while I started to worry that I’d misunderstood God’s promise to me, but by answering your questions here, I am once again reminded of God’s promise to me and I know I am meant to be a mother and in God’s time, I will be granted this desire. I have new strength to go on and fight the fight till God’s promise is fulfilled.

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29 Comments

  • Reply Dee

    You have given such a mature response – well done. I would not have been so calm.

    April 2, 2009 at 9:52 am
  • Reply Tam

    I absolutely love, love, love this post. I feel the same as you, I have always wanted to be a mother, ever since I could remember. I have also been asked if I’m trying to prove a point, to prove that I can do this by trying so hard and like you, it’s a bit of both. I’m also not defeated easily, I don’t give up that easily either and I think that even my husband has wondered sometimes what it is that I want most….to be a mother or to overcome this obstacle. I’m not saying that the day to make peace with never having a child wont come, it might very well come but by that time I will know in my heart that I tried my best.

    I agree with your second answer too. I truly think that everyone has their own crosses to bear in life, infertility and everything that comes with it is ours. I hate it when people say that there’s a lesson in this or there’s a reason for us to go thru this, it upsets me because I know it’s true. I do believe that we will come out stronger for this, I do believe that when it’s time for our babies to enter our lives we will love them more than we thought imagineable, we will cherish them will all our hearts and they will be so much more special to us. I don’t think that God is punishing us in any way by having us walk this path, I know that our Faith wavers and we do question Him but at the end of the day it’s not our place to ask why but it’s human nature.

    We will all come thru this, one way or another. I’m so glad that this post has given you the strength to move forward, to remember why you are doing this. I don’t believe that anything we do as infertiles should be question, especially if it’s by someone who hasn’t walked this path.

    Big hugs Shaz, you’re so much more than you’re infertility.

    April 2, 2009 at 10:05 am
  • Reply Abbey

    Wow Sharon, Your post is brillaint! So well put. I’m so glad you have found your strength again.

    April 2, 2009 at 10:18 am
  • Reply Lea White

    I like your post too! I’m so glad you found your strength again!

    April 2, 2009 at 10:40 am
  • Reply jan

    wow your strength continually amazes me, you know what Sharon – I think you give hope not only to those that are infertile – but to everyone- when I read your posts and im feeling crappy I just think wow this girl is like a steel angel – and has been through so much Sh*t, yet just continues to get up and fight another day – you are just amazing and an inspiration and I know that your dream is going to be fulfilled.

    April 2, 2009 at 10:50 am
  • Reply charne

    i am so happy that you have found the strength that you need to carry on

    xxx

    April 2, 2009 at 10:58 am
  • Reply Sue

    Thanks Sharon. I’m at the point of questioning everything – my faith, why God hasn’t given me a child etc etc. I know that I’ll get through this, but your post has encouraged me, seeing how you are coping with your losses and finding your way through. Please God, let it be our turn soon.

    April 2, 2009 at 11:12 am
  • Reply Cheryl

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and I have to say that I find this post so inspirational. I have been battling with infertility for 2 and a half years now and I am in the middle of IVF 3 at the moment. Reading your blog helps me feel less isolated in this whole crap journey. I also believe I was ment to be a mother and I am not ready to give up on that yet.

    April 2, 2009 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Caragh

    I think the way you answered both questions was amazing.
    ..

    I don’t take kindly to anyone using god as an excuse for anything…
    And people do.

    God didn’t want this, or God didn’t want that.

    ARGH
    sorry I know your a person of faith… and I believe that your time will come.
    But I really hate hate hate that “gods plan” saying.

    April 2, 2009 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Murgdan

    Wonderful, Sharon. Honestly, and I don’t know if my answer would be the ‘right’ one, at the moment I am fighting to be a mother, but I am fighting just as scrappliy to beat infertility. The thought of losing just pisses me off. Of course, I’m still fresh in this fight…but I’ve never ever lost at anything I’ve ever done, so I’m still over here in my corner, with tons of energy left in the fight. I want to KILL infertility. If I lose a few rounds, I may change my focus and start to simply fight to become a mother. Being a mother isn’t something I always ‘wanted’ in the sense that I simply always assumed I would be one…and I didn’t start to feel the intense WANT until I couldn’t HAVE.

    This was a great question….but I’m not even touching that God crap.

    (Hugs)…and I’m so happy imagining you with a smile on your face and pushing ahead.

    April 2, 2009 at 11:42 am
  • Reply Lesley

    If God does not step in and prevent unwanted babies from being conceived why it is even thought that when somenone can’t have a baby it is God’s will?

    April 2, 2009 at 11:48 am
  • Reply Jeannine

    You are a wonderful writer – very measured and articulate in explaining the depth of your pain. Have just read your most recent posts and your journey seems such a painful and exhuasting one – I really hope it culminates in the ending you so desperately want.

    April 2, 2009 at 12:21 pm
  • Reply Adi

    THANKS for posting this. Take it one step further and shout out from the rooftops, even if you find yourself without the uterus and the eggs and whatever else may indicate God’s lack of blessing for you to be a mom (parent), even then, you can never say, it is not God’s plan for me. Nobody knows His plan. You may think you do, but you don’t. At the end of our lives, we’ll look back and say, oh, that was the plan. Now I know. Until then, what we have been through, that is the plan. End of story.

    I think people truly think it helps and they are assisting with some process of acceptance – which they obviously think we need, for some reason, as if we’re in denial about our predestined childless status, as, you know, they “know”. I think they suspect we need to just make peace with the fact that we’re not having kids, that would make everything better, and rather than discussing the physical reasons we may not have had those kids yet and looking at the impact it has on our lives, they choose the coward way out: make it into a “bigger” issue that exceeds all medical arguments and emotional pain (self-caused, of course), propelling them to Wise Woman status and all-knowing comforter, you know, as we can’t argue with God’s plan and doing so proof us to be poor believers or whatever other unspoken (usually subconscious and unknown to the speaker!) reason moves them to even say something like that.

    God is on our side. That is all you need to know. He has plans for you, prosperous ones, not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. That is the bottom line. You are hurting. His plan does not say that we will not hurt. It promises to not harm us. There is a very small but very clear line between the two, and in your hurt, I hope you know that when our hope is low and our pain is much, nothing we (or anyone else) can do or say, even if our eyes are filled with emptiness and our souls feel drained, can change that ultimate path of prosper that is planned for us, promised to us.

    April 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm
  • Reply Jo

    Shaz, you totally rock. What an awesome response.

    I agree with you on all points.

    Amen!
    Jo

    April 2, 2009 at 1:28 pm
  • Reply Invivo

    Adi, I love that verse:

    “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” (Jeremiah 29:11)

    I agree with everything you said Sharon, and you said it so gracefully. Those two questions capture a lot of issues at the heart of infertility. What we fight for is a promise we believe in and the delay in fulfilment does not mean the promise does not exist and neither does it mean we should not fight for it. Some of us have to climb a few mountains and suffer a desert or two before we reach our promise. The fact that we have to fight for it also does not mean that it isn’t God’s will.

    There are no simple answers to the REAL trials in life. A comment such as “have you considered it to not be part of God’s plan” is a cop-out. A lazy mental shortcut to try and find the path of least resistance to resolve a problem with as little as possible energy. When the shit REALLY hits the fan we end up with a thousand but, ifs and maybes and we realise there is only one way through it, and that is one day at a time and a LOT of praying, fighting and crying until we finally arrive at our victory. And the victory comes from knowing you have fought as hard as you possibly can for what you believe in, and what we believe in is motherhood and family.

    April 2, 2009 at 1:50 pm
  • Reply Shalini White

    Shaz, your response to question 2 is so mature and well thought out – something I seriously wouldn’t be able to answer without copious swearing and childish fingerpointing. As someone who questions her faith and the existence of G-d daily, I would like to comment more, but my beliefs sway around the lines of “If g-d created us and we created ivf and all its wonders, therefore g-d in an implied way consents”. May not make sense to many, but does to me. DH is catholic and it is apparently against the religion to try IVF because it is not g-d’s will and unnatural. That kinda thing has always pissed me off!

    Good onya!

    As for q#1 – it is a lot of both – but as I get closer and closer and get thrown back to step 1 with every miscarriage, it is now more about the need to parent (to be a mother in the ‘practical’ sense) rather than the need to conquer my infertility.

    Great, thoughtful post.

    April 2, 2009 at 2:36 pm
  • Reply skrambled

    Yes, very calm response I must say. Someone said to me the other day, “If this cycle doesn’t work, then it is not meant to be” GRRRRR. I didn’t like that very much!

    April 2, 2009 at 2:57 pm
  • Reply Mands

    Hi Sharon, all I can say is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. People need to learn to shut up and deal with the crap in their own lives. Off course it’s God’s will for you to have children, and whatever people learn from their journey is their’s alone, it has nothing to do with anyone else. And when you become a mother you’ve overcome infertility, it’s like asking if the chicken or the egg came first.
    You were in my opinion way too kind with this chick, but that’s just me, I can be a bit hard sometimes. Good for you.

    April 2, 2009 at 3:56 pm
  • Reply Hela

    Nice response! I would have to agree with it all. And I’m with Dee on this one… I wouldn’t have been so calm.

    I honestly don’t believe that anyone should question whether something is part of your life’s plan/path or not… or whether it’s meant to be or not! As you said… of course it’s meant to be… otherwise we wouldn’t have the tools.

    Just as someone can choose Not to be a mother… so can we choose to BE a mother! Isn’t that what life is about? Free will? God does not choose our paths…we do. We have our own minds. And whichever route we choose to take to get there… so be it.

    April 2, 2009 at 4:12 pm
  • Reply Flower

    Well Put!!!
    I would have written that response myself.

    April 2, 2009 at 4:43 pm
  • Reply samcy

    I love the way you tackled this – and I would like to do a similar post on my blog about my opinions and how I feel about this… u mind? I’ll show you link love and everything 😉

    xxx

    April 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm
  • Reply Busted

    Great answers, and good for you for taking this opportunity to not only answer the questions but explain why they can be upsetting to those dealing with infertility.

    My own thought?

    Q#1: I could care less about beating infertility, I just want to be a mother. Our infertility stems from the fact that my body has never ovulated and DH has very few normal sperm. We can work around these issues with IVF. Once we have a child or children, I don’t care if I never ovulate or if DH never has normal sperm. I’m perfectly happy to live the rest of my life with a “busted babymaker”, once I have my family.

    Q#2: Well, since I don’t believe in God, this one is pretty easy for me. No, I certainly don’t think that anyone doesn’t want me to be a mother or has a plan for me. I think that my body doesn’t ovulate because of a combination of (a) excess weight and hormones during adolescence which prevented my body from ever learning to ovulate correctly, and (b) bad luck. I think DH has a low sperm count because of a physical anomaly (actually very common in men) called a varicocele. I don’t think any supreme being chose us to experience these afflictions.

    April 2, 2009 at 5:58 pm
  • Reply Emmah

    Well said Shaz, I personally believe that it is God’s plan for us to have children and it is natural for us to have that desire of being a mother. I refuse to believe otherwise, yes i may have challenges in conceiving but that doesn’t mean that God is not willing for me to have children.

    April 2, 2009 at 7:48 pm
  • Reply C

    Well said! Many people in life carry different burdens and even people with the same burdens carry them differently and that is what makes us all unique. Glad you are doing better.

    April 2, 2009 at 8:06 pm
  • Reply Hollie

    Very Well said! Kudos to you girlie. I like the bright eyed Shaz in the corner of your blog better than dark Shaz. But I realize that dark Shaz has her purpose to. Its okay to be sad sometimes, and you have every right to.
    I got posed this question by a person I considered to be my friend several years ago. He (yes He) had to be overlooked because he looked at things in black and white. I think God uses different circumstances in each of our lives to teach us different things and we all learn differently. The way he teaches also gives us the heart that he desires us to have. YOU, my friend, have the heart of a MOTHER and he knows that. He is guiding you through this journey, not to hurt you, but to prepare for you the place he wants you to be. I wish you nothing but the best in all of your endeavors. You make me PROUD to be an INFERTILE, forever!

    April 2, 2009 at 10:58 pm
  • Reply stacey

    Obviously I’m a little late getting in on this, but WOW. Just wow. I agree with you here and I think you’ve answered well. I always appreciate your honesty. Thanks for being so transparent here and standing up for what you believe.

    I say if your heart has a strong desire to love and care for children, how can that not be God’s plan? I have no idea what the future holds in all of this or how it will be resolved. It’s very hard, but I am learning how to rest in Him and be open to the lessons that the struggles bring. I hope to develop the same resolve that you have! I think you’re awesome. Whether you ever “beat” infertility or not, I hope that you will someday fulfill your dream of becoming a mother. You already ARE a mother, Sharon: You have a mother’s heart!

    April 2, 2009 at 11:34 pm
  • Reply Sandy

    Sharon,

    As always, beautiful post. Question 1 is interesting and something I’ve only recently considered. We are infertile, have been (or rather have known about it) for almost a decade. Our surprise pregnancy (many years after starting to relax and not think about it) last year and then surprise miscarriage has led me to much introspection. One of the things I realized after the miscarriage was that when we gave ttc up years ago I only mourned the loss of the ability to get pregnant, but I had never really mourned the loss of motherhood since for years we had been focussed on getting pregnant. The pregnancy was the goal because it was step 1 and proved to be elusive. But after the miscarriage I had to mourn the loss of motherhood because I had finally gotten to step 1. Mourning the loss of motherhood was a surprise and has turned out to be way harder than the loss of infertility.

    Question 2 – we do not follow a set religion but I believe in some sort of benevolent being. My husband considers himself a humanist. Because we’re not overtly religious we don’t and didn’t get a lot of these comments (and fortunately didn’t hear any of them after the miscarriage). We each have such individual journeys through infertility that I think we each come away with a different sense on what is meant to be for each of us. I do believe that sometimes bad things happen, period. No rhyme or reason. Before the miscarriage I didn’t think that way. And everyone has at some point a different cross to bear. One of the things that we very much wrestled with during our decision of when to end ttc was how do you know whether you’re being tested by God vs how do you know when you’re being sent a message by God. And I think the answer is different for each person. I did have to give up on the question because I couldn’t detach the answer that we weren’t meant to have children from somehow that there was a God that was punishing me or deeming me so much more flawed than most of the rest of the population. So our infertility just is and there is no spiritual component to our infertility.

    I’ve typed several different answers here and keep deleting them or trying to re-word them. Ultimately I applaud you for your opinions, your strength, and your incredible stamina to keep fighting for something you so strongly believe in. You are an amazing inspiration and I’m honoured to have found your blog.

    April 3, 2009 at 2:53 am
  • Reply Annie

    Those who have not experienced the pain of the black hole and the loneliness that it holds as we strive for our dream to enter motherhood I would remind them that

    “The truth is life is precious and you are special
    The truth is you have to love you you are
    The truth is happiness comes from following your own heart
    The truth is you have to do what is right for you
    The truth is you have to be who you are
    The truth is you can change the way you see yourself
    The truth is it’s your life and you have the choice to make a difference
    In the end it is up to you” Anon

    And you are being true to yourself – persuing your dream and what you see as your sense of purpose, or one of, whilst here on this earth – I know that is what I am trying to achieve – a true sense of purpose. Those who have not been there – through the pain, the trials and tribulations, the feeling of failure – do not understand and will not understand as they have not experienced it first hand. Hang in there – I am! We are good people and we deserve happiness too and to have our true sense of purpose fulfilled!

    April 3, 2009 at 12:01 pm
  • Reply Denise

    Sharon, on the “was this part of god’s plan for you” comment. As someone who has spent the past 4 years obsessing about having a baby my take on this is that maybe the Universe didn’t intend for me to be bear children. It sounds harsh but I KNOW that one day I will be a mother. I said that I would do 3 IVF attempts and then stop. However with 2 in the bag I know that I will keep trying. In the meantime my desire to fulfill my role as a mother is so huge that I am starting the adoption process. Somehow knowing that adoption isn’t the end of the road for me really makes it easier. I will go into IVF no 3 or 4 or 5 knowing that I am a mother and maybe one day I will be pregnant and maybe I won’t but regardless of that I will be a mother.

    On your once an infertile always an infertile comment I completely disagree. I HATE BEING CALLED AN INFERTILE… I would prefer to think of myself as someone who’s taking the scenic route to pregnancy 🙂 Being called an infertile has a finality to it that i will not accept, even after I adopt a child I will never be ok with being called an infertile.

    April 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm
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