On Infertility, and Baby Loss, and Childlessness

In case maybe you were wondering, on August 11, 2016, my husband and I transferred our last beautiful embryo — and then we waited, and hoped, and dreamed, and imagined our life as parents.

As much as I wish I could say otherwise, the transfer was not successful. We are not pregnant. We are disappointed, and angry, and sad. We are out of money, and options, and time. We cannot conceive naturally, and we do not feel called to adopt. We will have to be a ‘family’ of two.

The finality in that realization is devastating, heartbreaking, absolute.

My husband and I have done a lot of talking and a lot of crying, and we’ve come to recognize that although we know our families and friends care very much about us, we also know that they do not and cannot truly understand what we are going through. We feel so very alone. Everyone else already has their children and their family, or they are childless by choice. No one else has experienced failure after failure after failure of something that is supposed to be natural and automatic. No one else has had to abandon their dream of being parents.

I long to see my husband holding our child. I long to look into our child’s eyes and see parts of me and my husband reflected back. I long to discover the world anew through a life we created. I long to experience pregnancy and childbirth. I long for every discomfort I hear pregnant women complaining about. I long for the sleepless nights and tears and frustrations of mothering a newborn.

I guess it’s fair to say that this experience has changed us irrevocably and I’m not sure it’s for the better. We are plagued by the worst feelings — envy, jealousy, guilt, doubt, anger, and so much grief. We are grieving the family we wanted, the baby we lost, the embryos that did not develop, the parents we will never be, the life we envisioned for ourselves.

We gave everything asked of us — time, money, body, emotion, hope — and got nothing in return.

We are trying our best to move on. We are trying our best to focus on other things like saving money to buy a larger home, and getting my husband back into school, but everything else pales in comparison. We are bruised and broken in every possible way. We are defeated.

No matter where we go from here, this childlessness is something that will never, ever be okay.

So…

Let us agree
for now
that we will not say
the breaking
makes us stronger
or that it is better
to have this pain
than to have done
without this love.

Let us promise
we will not
tell ourselves
time will heal
the wound
when every day
our waking
opens it anew.

Perhaps for now
it can be enough
to simply marvel
at the mystery
of how a heart
so broken
can go on beating,
as if it were made
for precisely this—

as if it knows
the only cure for love
is more of it

as if it sees
the heart’s sole remedy
for breaking
is to love still

as if it trusts
that its own stubborn
and persistent pulse
is the rhythm
of a blessing
we cannot
begin to fathom
but will save us
nonetheless.

(Jan Richardson)


3 Comments

You are right; the grief you feel and the path you are on is one none of us close to you have personally experienced. But I want you to know something that I don’t think I have adequately expressed to you, and this seems like the perfect time: My heart is broken right beside yours. I had dreams of our children growing up together and forming a bond something like ours; I fervently wished to be an auntie to your child. I so wanted to hold your hand down the path of pregnancy and birth and motherhood; all my life you’ve done that for me, and for once now I was so eager to return the favor and help you with your transformation. It kills me that this won’t happen. But I believe in the words of that poem. None of this is okay or makes any sense, but in the brokenness please know there is still so much love. I have faith in it, and in you.

Posted by Brook on 8 September 2016 @ 6pm

I am so sorry. My heart is breaking for you and your husband. Motherhood has/is my hearts passion. I cried in awe at every birth I assisted in my professional life. My pregnancies (I lost 5 babies) were my joy and being a Mother feeds my heart and Soul
So your Pain, your Loss is So Big it has me sitting here weeping for you. I am So Very Sorry Heather. Love still…
Ida (Kenny & Lindsay Hyman’s mom)

Posted by Ida Doetsch on 15 October 2016 @ 6pm

Ida, thank you so much for your words. I appreciate it more than I can say. I hope you and Kenny and Lindsay are all well. xoxox

Posted by heatherdyan on 15 October 2016 @ 6pm

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