It's a terrible
thing to watch a dream die. It's a physical and emotional trauma
that some couples who really want children go through when they
are told they cannot have a child. After all, most people grow up
and get married assuming that they will have a family when they
are ready for one. We usually believe "it's our decision."
10-15% of couples in the United States face infertility. It's often
seen as 'unfair', and can be a blow to a couple's dreams, future,
and, perhaps, pride. Emotions can be overwhelming and, in some cases,
marriage can die along with the couple's dream.
infertility, like any other crisis, does not have to destroy lives
or marriages. While not always easy or inexpensive, many pursue
medical treatment and are eventually successful in their effort
to start a family. Those who have faced this challenge together
are often stronger and wiser for their experience.
infertility treatment is not always an option nor is it always successful.
In time, some couples are forced to realize or finally admit, 'it's
not going to happen for us'. For couples who have been unsuccessful
with treatments, it is important to know when to 'let go' and stop
them. The fertility clinic or specialty physicians involved can
offer guidance about when time for this is right. When a decision
to stop 'trying' is reached, couples must cope with the realization
that they are not likely to conceive a child.
go can be a personally heart-wrenching time, and a challenging experience
for a couple. Grieving is both natural and important. The process
is personal and cannot be rushed.
life altering loss such as infertility should not be faced alone.
Other people can be of great comfort and help. Many couples have
been where you are, and have gotten through it. Resources
and support groups can put you in touch with others who offer
the wisdom of their experience, compassion and a willingness to
just listen. Counselors can also help you grieve and explore other
options for a rich life, filled with joy and abundant love.
takes time to grieve infertility but some couples decide to pursue
adoption. While this process can also take time and is filled with
emotional highs and lows, adopting a child can be a wonderful and
totally fulfilling experience. Entering the process with eyes wide
open, and having a good adoption consultant are important factors
in a positive, relatively low stress adoption outcome. As with other
new parents, adoptive parents are encouraged to network and seek
support of others who have been through the experience of adopting
and raising a child.
(To An Adopted)
by Fleur Conkling Heyliger
flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone
But still miraculously my own;
For a single minute
You didn't grow
Under my heart
But in it.
couples choose to live child-free. They find fulfillment in other
ways and through other meaningful relationships. For many, the energy
previously invested in infertility treatment is redirected toward
other creative avenues and brings rich rewards of another type.
forward, individuals and couples who have faced infertility are
often stronger for their experience. Their powers and gifts manifest
in other important arenas. As
you come to accept infertility, try to remember:
your dreams have not died.
You can always have new dreams.