Sharing my story
From my earliest memories, I knew I was a mum. Its who I was destined to be. I would have children. The rest was all rather sketchy and changed over the years, but motherhood was never, not once in question. Since then, its likelihood has been questioned a great deal.
I wasn’t sure about sharing my story. Most people share once they’ve achieved their happy ending, it provides hope to others, but I’m still waiting for mine. However I have felt so alone during this that I really want to provide some hope and support to anyone experiencing what I did. The truth is, infertility is a painful and emotional rollercoaster journey, filled with hope, despair and often loss. It requires strength, resilience and compromise.
There is a lot of judgement, not only by those who have not struggled, but amongst other women who may have experienced some issues, if not exactly the same as others. I also found judgement and a lack of compassion among medical staff who should have been there to support me. There are so many who do not understand the difference between not having children and childlessness. Its a hugely painful difference.
I’ve also learnt a lot myself along the way, about infertility; about loss; about resilience and identity. I started off naively believing that egg and sperm equals baby. I had to learn the hard way that for hundreds of women this is not the case. I found myself in a position where I felt my rightful place in the world, the life I should be living; the one i deserved to be living, had been snatched away from me.
My quest for motherhood has passed through some difficult, painful and heart-breaking hurdles, namely Endometriosis; IVF; a low egg reserve and recurrent miscarriages. After being told that I would miscarry any pregnancy, we needed to think of alternatives. Accepting we needed an alternative was difficult for both myself and my boyfriend. Motherhood never felt optional to me. It always felt like a core part of my being and identity.
I think infertility is talked about more now than when I started my journey. I felt the perception was that if you are in your late 30’s or 40’s with no children, then you were somehow to blame, you had put your career first. Or, if you had suffered some sort of infertility, then perhaps you had just not tried hard enough, or weren’t relaxed enough. I was offered a lot of advice and solutions from people who did not know or understand the reasons for my infertility. I have so often wished I could tell people this isn't what I chose. I would have had children in my 20's, had it been down to me. Only by sharing stories will perceptions and knowledge about this be changed. I am hoping to share stories as we embark on our new adventure of adoption, but also cover some of the elements of our journey to get here to raise awareness but also offer a supportive hand to anyone still living these moments.
Initially we looked into fostering-to-adopt, where you become a foster parent to a new-born, then, when the court agree the child should go up for adoption, you become their adoptive parents. There is always a chance the court decides that the baby should go back to the birth family. I could not bear losing another baby. We were also told this meant you have to wait longer before being able to adopt another child. I am done waiting! So, we agreed to adopt a child already in the system.
For a long time my head knew this was the answer, but my heart couldn’t fully commit. What about the new-born of my dreams? Slowly, my mindset changed. I remembered that what I wanted most was to be a mother. I wanted the every-day, the caring for little beings, the smiles, the giggles, the tantrums, the bedtime stories, the school runs, the family days out, the Sunday dinners, the Christmases. The full shebang. To make a family. It didn’t matter how. I started to think my babies were out there. They were waiting for me and I was wasting time concentrating on what I had lost. The cliche is true, I had to close one door to open the next. Holding on to the dream of carrying my own child was holding me back from motherhood.
Slowly I shifted from heartbroken, to impatient. I just wanted to meet my children. We got in touch with Social Services and started the process. We have had some frustrating set-backs, we were not allowed to start Stage 2 because we were having work done on the house and due to delays with the builders and complications with the house due to incompetent Architects and now Covid-19, the process has taken a lot longer than we hoped.
Adoption feels the most out of reach method to motherhood. Whether you are trying naturally, or doing IVF, or even using a surrogate, you are involved in the process. Physically. With adoption it feels quite theoretical. Separate. There is a lot of reading and talking, but you don’t actually get involved in the making of the family until after you have been approved. Sometimes it has felt like the day may never come.
We started Stage 2 last week, our panel date is booked. The last leg on the road to motherhood. This feels monumental.