07 March 2014

Written Two Weeks After Our Failed IVF


 These photos are from Vigelandsparken in Oslo, Norway. The park contains more than 200 of these sculptures! They depict the different stages and emotions in life. Their beauty left us smiling and spellbound.

As you may remember, my last IVF was an extremely difficult experience as it just didn't feel like the right thing for me to do anymore. I literally had to stop all outside duties (including this blog) in order to channel my energy towards finishing the process. Before and during the IVF process, I knew that was going to be the last shot for me. I knew it was the last chance as the pursuit to have kids was not going to continue (more like, it felt impossible to continue). Though I also didn't exactly envision a childless life. Not at all. So I tried to face that complicated scenario. I laid on the couch most of the time. I didn't go for my walks. I didn't see the light of day for probably weeks. I didn't attend most events and if I did, I had to brace myself a bit just to be there. I did attend a Women of Faith lecture at my church and I often would conduct those meetings. But that time, I couldn't even conduct. I didn't have any outflow to offer.
 
This post was written two weeks after we found out the results of that IVF, but for some reason it never got posted. That happens a lot. I have exactly 302 unposted drafts at the moment. :) My thinking in sharing this is to unite with other women who may have similar struggles - or with people who experience disappointments of all kinds. Maybe it helps to know you are not alone. 


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It's been about 2 weeks since we found out the news of the IVF.


The process of surrendering to this rather huge life situation (ending the pursuit) has not been quick and easy, but more of a difficult process. I'm glad I know the process, though. I'm glad I know that if I choose to surrender my pains, worries, fears on the altar - in honor of pursing love, hope, gratitude, joy, peace - it works. It really, really works every time. It heals. It sanctifies. I'm glad I still have a belief in the process. I'm thankful I have a desire to go through that process as I know there is nothing better than feeling at peace. The alternative is not something I want to bear.

I've been trying to tackle the "surrendering" part each day with thoughts as they come in. It hasn't been easy. But little by little, it's helping. Life is feeling beautiful and good again, which I am so grateful for. I've been feeling waves of hope for this new chapter of my life. I've been feeling the weight lift. That inner peace that I've known so well for so long is starting to dwell within me again.

But there have been moments over the last many weeks when I knew this "surrender" had a ways to go.


These have been some of those moments...

-At times I've thought, "What is wrong with me? Why don't I have enough desire to keep going?" I mean, every parent I know says that their children are their greatest joys. And yet, every moment of that IVF I felt like "The Ten Year Pursuit" has just gone on too long and it just hasn't felt right to live my life like that anymore. I have felt annoyed that after all of this, I have to now face not having the desire any more (and all that that entails.)

-I have had moments of feeling sad that I won't experience pregnancy, the joint experience of creation, feeling a life inside, the miracle of birth, the love hormones of a new mother, breastfeeding a child, the 9 month excitement and anticipation of preparing for a new child. I looked forward to sharing in these amazing life experiences that have united women all over the world from the beginning of time. They seem so womanly, so motherly, so powerful, so miraculous. I hoped to take part in that. For years I read about natural birth (I devoured Ina May's Guide to Childbirth). I even got "well woman" exams with midwives, just to get to know them in case I got pregnant. So part of me has mourned that the experience of birth will not be in my future, unless there is a surprise miracle. But I can't live as if that surprise will happen. It's better for me to just live.

-I feel like most people, especially women and mothers, perhaps ache about this situation more than I do. It's like they're wanting to say, "But you don't know what you're missing by not raising a child." And it's true, I actually don't know. That is part of the reason why it's difficult to continue as I really, really don't know and could never know what it is like to have a child unless I had one. And so, there is a sense of isolation with not knowing what everyone else knows.

-I sometimes fear being alone. If I were to ever lose Danny, I would have no offspring, no immediate family of my own. One of us will one day die and leave the other alone. I can hardly bear the thought.
It's weird to think of not having any heritage. We will basically disappear one day.

-I need to re-invent my life and start from scratch. I don't necessarily want to. I don't have the energy for it. Up until now, my whole life has been geared towards "one day having a child." I took certain jobs and did things based on the idea that one day, I would be a mother.

-It pains me greatly to think of Danny not being a father. But that is a post for another day.



 

  
Dear readers, this is heavy stuff. And as I've read this again, I'm so glad to say that I've come so far and I'm constantly being touched by how much GOOD there is in my life. Every single person could write a list that haunts them. Every mother could write their own list of what might haunt them. But we all -we ALL- have to go through the same process of surrendering these fears if we want to be free and whole. WHY? Because there is so much GOOD to experience in this life. There is so much LIFE to be lived and experienced fully. There is so much LOVE that needs to be shared with the world. I have tasted all of these beautiful things in the last many months. I have felt love for strangers in Iceland, Norway, Denmark, and Vermont. I have felt giddy and joyful with my husband. I have felt passion and creativity for my endeavors (I just enrolled in B-School!) I have bonded and felt connected to other women, other mothers. I have felt IN it with them. Because we are all IN it. All of us together.

With love,

Mara

P.S.  I want to do a better job of explaining HOW this surrender works for me. On Monday I'll share how I've worked to surrender in each of the scenarios above.

59 comments:

  1. Thank you. Brave and touching. And now, after the storm, it's time for joy and adventure. All the best for your bright future. One of my favourite sayings: "We do not direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails". Adjust your sails and keep going!

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  2. Thank you Mara for sharing this. Your blog has been and continues to be a companion to me as I live through my own difficult circumstances. I want to write you more about it one day... I feel united with you, even if my trials are quite different from yours. Thank you for inspiring me to surrender to my own circumstances today, and to let go of fear.

    I love this: "But we all -we ALL- have to go through the same process of surrendering these fears if we want to be free and whole."

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  3. Such complicated waters, I wish you wonderful things as you navigate through this. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Great post! Looking forward to reading more on how the surrender works!! Thank you so much

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  5. Thanks for sharing, Mara. Lots of love from D.C. (Those sculptures are beautiful!)

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing. It is so hard to let go. I speak as someone in the same boat as you right now. I was raised to believe if you work hard at something you will get it, and as we know with infertility that is not always true. It is so draining to literally spend years and years of your life working so hard and investing all that you are into achieving this outcome, and when it does not happen it breaks your heart and crushes your soul. When I decided to let go I have to admit along with my deep sadness I felt relief. I felt guilty for feeling freedom and relief, but if I am to be honest it was there. This may sound weird, but there is a line in the song from Let It Go that speaks to me "I know I left a life behind, but I'm too relieved to grieve", and it makes me think of how trying for a child takes on a life of its own ~ you live that thought and breath that desire every minute of every day, and when you realize it is not going to happen it is like leaving a life behind. I decided life it too short I cannot afford to feel broken and sad everyday I just can't. There are blessings that need to be enjoyed and happiness to be felt. Let it go Mara and enjoy the beautiful life that awaits you! Love and thanks from Canada!

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    1. Thank you for this beautiful post. It is actually so nice to connect with someone out there in my same boat. So thank you. And, I know that relief, too. It's something you never expect, right? Much love to you from Brooklyn.

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  7. This is such a difficult topic to broach, but you are always so open and honest that I thought it might be worth a shot to bring it up. I am staying Anonymous because it's so hard to ask this and I don't want to come off sounding confrontational, but I'm afraid it might sound that way anyway...I met you recently and you were so (so!) lovely and inspiring, but I was literally shocked at how thin you are. When we hugged, I felt like I was going to break you and was both scared and saddened to feel all the bones in your back and arms and see your hip bones jutting out. I've been thinking ever since about your struggles with carrying a child and I wondered if doctors ever told you that you would NEED to have more body fat in order to carry a child. Studies have shown that though obesity is damaging to fertility, being too thin is much, much more harmful to reproductive efforts. It almost seems irresponsible for a doctor to go through with IVF (twice!), something so taxing on even the healthiest of bodies. I remember following Guiliana DePandi's struggles and her doctor insisted she gain weight in order to have a good chance of getting pregnant, but she didn't or couldn't and so never became pregnant. I know you are very health conscious and gluten free/dairy free and you feel so much better eating this way, but do you ever consider that you're not getting enough nourishment to maintain a healthy weight? Have you tracked your daily caloric intake? Have you spoken to a nutritionist? My comment is coming from a place of caring and trying to understand, so I sincerely hope you aren't offended or upset with this comment. I just thought it was one thing you hadn't discussed in regards to your infertility and may be able to offer some answers or help other women out there that may be going through the same thing.

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    1. I'm sure you mean well by this comment, but I cringed when I read it. It actually doesn't seem caring -- either the message or your decision to post it here anonymously In fact, it seems unfairly personal -- I hope Mara doesn't feel like she got whacked by you, after meeting you in person. Who knew that a hug could be used against someone, to draw a negative judgment? Mara, don't stop giving hugs!

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    2. Gosh, I certainly didn't mean to evoke those types of feelings and I am so, so sorry. Mara, please feel free to delete these comments if you feel "whacked" as Pam put it. If you don't want to talk about it, then it's really none of our business.

      I really think it's an important topic though and that's why I posted it. Here is just one of many articles that discusses why IVF success is so low in underweight women: http://www.fertilityauthority.com/lifestyle/being-underweight-affects-fertility

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    3. I can assure you that when you go through IVF you know more about your body and its reproductive ability better than anyone. You see doctors upon doctors for years and years, and all you do is discuss fertility and what is hindering it. You research it day and night. I know your heart means well, and you do not want to offend, but I fear you may do just that. When people say "oh have you tried this" it can make your blood boil, because of course you have tried everything and anything to become pregnant, and for some of us it truly is out of our hands.

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    4. I would like to offer my humble perspective. Women who are underweight have often become open game for criticism in our society, when in reality, a body that is healthy and strong can take MANY forms. I had a number of well-meaning relatives tell me I should not carry a child until I gain more body fat, and after visiting a number of nutritionists, a very wise doctor told me, 'I have seen tiny women give birth to huge babies and big women give birth to tiny babies. I have seen it all.' This advice was freeing for me, because it gave me permission to let go of everyone else's expectations. I pursued motherhood, subsequently giving birth to a very healthy 9 lb. son. Our bodies are capable of amazing things, despite what might be viewed as a physical limitation. While I agree that weight is a factor in infertility, it is not ALWAYS a factor. Even though you have closed this door, please don't ever have hesitations about what you 'could' have done differently. You continue to trust your body. Thank you for your insightful post and your wise and beautiful spirit. You are an inspiration to me every day. Love to you both from Texas.

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  8. Mara, I wish you & Danny the very best as you move forward towards all the beauty & wonder of life ahead. & I want to thank you for sharing your infertility journey. As I prepared for my first round of IVF, your blog was the only blog I could find explaining what it felt like to go through IVF. I bought Belleruth's CD, I printed your 12 IVF tips. Those posts & many others prepared me for IVF & helped me handle it with a little more grace. THANK YOU! Best wishes always~

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  9. Mara, this was so poignant, insightful, sincere, and brave ... you continue to educate me and inspire me to be a better, more thoughtful and positive person.

    I recently read Anne Lamott's latest little book (only 90-something pages), called "Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair." I know you recently received one of her other books, but I liked this one better. As I read it, it both seemed like a book that you and Danny would love, and one that you could write! You and Anne both have a beautiful heart and way with words. All the best on this next round of adventure!

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  10. It's hard to understand why we aren't blessed with something that's a righteous desire like motherhood or marriage or whatever but sometimes I think The Lord can help guide our desires as well. It might be your lack of desire is actually a gift from Him who's felt your pain and the depth of your hurt as a way to give you some reprieve.

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    1. I agree with this insight. I know that I experienced that type of relief as I had my 3rd miscarriage in a row (at 20 weeks). At the time, I worried that there was something wrong with me that I could feel so "okay" after such a thing, but have come to realize that it was indeed a tender mercy sent to me.

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  11. I love the way you talk about the pain with such beauty and grace. We can't spend our lives wishing for something that isn't meant to be. I am happy for your peace. I also love though how you still respect motherhood and don't diminish its role.

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  12. I loved this post for so many reasons. I love that you are so vulnerable in the moment of feeling pain. That is tough to share. I love hearing it, though, because it's nice to see a "we are all human and this is what I felt, whether good or bad" moment. And then we can see how you are now, having overcome those feelings. I haven't commented in SO long, but I just had to stop by and say hello. It has been touching and inspirational to follow along with you and Danny's journey. To say you both have changed my life for the better is an understatement. I love this blog because it provokes thought and changes. Thank you both for that.

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  13. We are all IN it, all of us together. Those words!

    Those connections that bind us are strong and overlapping in our roles and relationships as friends, fathers, mothers, mentors ... such blurry lines between what we traditionally see as predefined in what our relationships mean and bring to us, as well as what we have to offer.

    This makes me think about this part of your post, you wrote:

    "I sometimes fear being alone. If I were to ever lose Danny, I would have no offspring, no immediate family of my own. One of us will one day die and leave the other alone. I can hardly bear the thought.
    It's weird to think of not having any heritage. We will basically disappear one day."

    The reality and pain of that is very real. I appreciate that you own it and that you express it. It also made me think about heritage and legacy. We leave a heritage in so many ways, physically through DNA, emotionally through the lessons we learn as we communicate and negotiate relationships, spiritually when our worship overlaps. Some people leave a physical legacy and never quite manage to leave a positive emotional or spiritual legacy. I guess what I'm trying to say after getting to know you and Danny and reflecting on that part of your post is that its not all even, steven. The heritage you leave may be light on the physical side and heavy on the spiritual and emotional sides. And although I do see our bonds and relationships in our families as important, when I meet people like you and Danny those lines become blurry and I begin to see something eternally important about what it all means to be here together on this earth, trying to figure it all out.

    Some people are just Good, like with a capital G =). And that goodness crosses all kinds of traditional boundaries. Thank you for bring more of that into my life.

    Love you guys!





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    1. Great comment! I don't want to single just one out because there have been so many beautiful things said in the comments to this post, but this one really resonates.

      Your thoughts on physical vs spiritual heritage goes nicely with the comments Mara and I have when we talk about these things, and your conclusions strongly echo our own as well.

      That doesn't mean that either of us don't occasionally think about physical heritage. I'm writing a post about that now as I detail what it was like going to Bornholm Denmark, the place were my great great grandparents were born. You can't help but think about physical heritage when you go visit the place so instrumental in your own existence...and the thought comes "will there be no one to come visit my birthplace some day, will there be no one to explore and wonder about the city that Mara and I met in, and the streets we walked?"

      It is interesting to think about. It doesn't cause me to despair. I'm comfortable realizing that my role may be much larger in terms of making a positive impact on others outside my family, but it is strange to think that there might not be anyone to come and wonder about who I was or the life I lived 200 years from now like I did as I looked into my own heritage and where I come from.

      Anyway, all good thoughts, might work some of this into the post I'm writing.

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  14. I'm so grateful for your blog and your honesty on hard topics. I am so happy you and Danny are taking life by the horns and making it fabulous filled with new adventures and sharing the ride with conferences and the blog. You are truly doing an important service to many. I haven't experienced many of the things you've written about but it has helped me empathize with friends and family who have and that has been such a gift. You gave me a language of love for others in hard places that felt like no one could possibly understand. Love you guys!!!

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  15. I think if you had posted this when you wrote it, I wouldn't have been in a place to appreciate as much as I have now! I am starting to feel inner peace again. It has been a long, hard struggle. Strange, but almost feels like I am starting to let myself be happy, to let myself let go of wanting to have children. I almost felt like I had to hang on to that dream. Ha I have to let go anyway since I am now 42! I look forward to your post on the pain you feel of Danny not being a father. My husband not being a father (I am the one with the fertility issues) haunts me, even though he has told me a million times that he does not want children anymore. What else can the poor guy say :)

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  16. What a beautiful, personal post! I think it is made so much more special by the beautiful photos of life, marriage, children that you took while in Scandinavia. I look forward to your follow up post on Monday.

    Also, congrats on doing B School...I'm so happy for you...would love to do that one day!

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  17. This was beautiful, Mara! Thank you for this post.

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  18. Beautiful post. Those images are also powerful. I look forward to hearing more about your process of surrender, and your future post about your husband. My wife and I ended our IVF process two years ago in April. We also decided not to adopt. There are still pieces of grief that we are processing, and I know some of that will always remain. It does help to hear your story. Thank you. Blessings to you and your husband.

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  19. Thank you so much for your thoughts. Fear has been trying to work it's way into my life often lately, tempting me to worry about things that could possibly go wrong in life. My most empowering thought to combat this has been "Let it be what it is, and be grateful." It's so assuring to me. Just to let life be what it is -- allow it to exist and unfold as it does, do my best on all the things I have a say over, and let the rest (that I have no control over) be what is it and be grateful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are such an inspiring, honest and strong woman. It's so good to read your words.

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  20. Mara - thank you for sharing this honest and open post. It will resonate with so many. I'm excited to see all the energy you would have directed at 1 little person now get directed to helping thousands in all the ways you affect the world around you for the better.

    To the original anonymous commentor - thanks to you as well. I have had the same concerns about Mara's weight for quite some time. It is brave and good to constructively give those you care about feedback about life's tough issues - in this case, health and possible eating disorder. The easy thing to do is to say nothing, but that approach buries too many important things in our culture. Regardless of the fertility aspect, perhaps your comment will help Mara think about her weight for the sake of her own health.

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  21. Your honest words are so strengthening. Thanks for sharing them.

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  22. These two things exactly: "But I can't live as if that surprise will happen. It's better for me to just live," and "Every single person could write a list that haunts them."

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  23. What is b school??!

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    1. Business school! I'm taking an online business course. I'll probably write about it soon. It starts on Monday.

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  24. Have you guys ever thought about using a surrogate?

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    1. I've wondered the same thing. We too have struggled with infertility, and definitely had that as an option.

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  25. Thank you Mara. I've loved reading this...we are all in it together. Love to you.

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  26. I went to Vigelund Park right before my first (failed) IVF, and I must say that the tree of life statues terrified me. Also notable: I was in Stockholm on the weekend of the royal wedding, last June...and wouldn't you know--Princess Madeleine of Sweden just had a baby girl a few weeks ago...right before my 3rd & final IVF cycle. lovely.

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  27. Beautiful images to match a beautiful post. Reminds me of a quote by Elizabeth Kubler Ros: "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."

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    1. This is one of my favorite quotes in the world. thank you for reminding us all of this.

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  28. I, too, am excited to read about surrendering. Interestingly enough I've always struggled with "living in fear" during different times in my life. It has gotten worse. While I was engaged I felt fear that something would happen to my now husband before he had a chance to become my husband. I recently became a mother and am fighting similar fears again. Sometimes I feel like my LDS faith plays a role in my fear. When good things happen and I am blessed I expect trials. It is definitely something I struggle with and am currently working on.

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  29. I was the same as you during my ivf cycle. I couldn't focus on anything else, put work on hold, had such a hard time socializing. It's so consuming. I kept reading and rereading you post "what if this ivf doesn't work". That was so helpful. Whichever way things work out, life does go on.

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  30. A very poignant piece, Mara, and very well written. Thank you for sharing.

    I am 42 and my partner and I cannot conceive naturally. We tried for 3 years before having tests that showed my partner has some issues. We were told that we were perfect candidates for IUI (less invasive than IVF), but in the UK, if you are over 40, you do not get this on the National Health Service, and oh boy, it is REALLY expensive. We just don't have the income to afford that. So, we cannot have children, or a chance at having children, because we are not rich enough. How sad is that?!

    I am still at the grieving stage, and at the stage where I see new mothers with babies I want to cry. I hope this passes soon. I feel like I have a big rock in my stomach, weighing me down, at all times. :-(

    Your posts are helping me to wade through my feelings too, so thank you so much. xxx

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  31. Mara beautiful words on such a beautiful subject. I do think of you as a mother, you have been through this blog to me. Your words of love and kindness, your insights, your beautiful testimony. I would not be the woman I am today without you being my teacher. I feel like so many of us readers feel that way, you touch the lives of so many of us here that we in a sense are your children. Whether I have children or not I will use the lessons I have learned from you and teach them to those around me. Your words will effect generations of children whose parents are your readers. That is an unbelievable legacy and heritage. You will never be alone! You touch the lives of every single person you meet, and I hope to meet you someday in person. Thank you for being the best blogger mother I could have through the most difficult period of my life. I know you do that for so many others. You are amazing!

    With love, Rebekah

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    1. Rebekah, I can't even tell you how much this touched me. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'll gladly try to be the best for you here. Much love, Mara

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  32. What a beautiful post and gorgeous pictures.

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  33. Thank you for this beautiful and meaningful post. This is something sooo many of us can relate to, even if our stories vary in their details.

    And I hate to give it attention it doesn't deserve, but the comment about weight above is inappropriate. Many of us are just naturally slender and we have seen from your posts, Mara, that you enjoy food and seem to eat well indeed. For a stranger to make such assumptions after a brief meeting and extremely glib.

    Thank you again, Mara. You are such an inspiration.

    Kristin

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  34. Thank you so much for sharing this. I also had an IVF (and three IUIs) that failed and wasn't able to try again (I emailed you my story in January). It has been a difficult experience, yet people still say that "it could still happen," "you never know," "it will happen when you least expect it," etc. Recently I was holding a friend's baby and she said I was "practicing" even though she knew about my struggles. I didn't quite know how to respond. Obviously if it happened, it would be a huge blessing and a surprise, but now at 38, I'm just ready to move on to the next phase of my life. I'm tired of getting my hopes up, only to deal with disappointment at the end of every month. How do you deal with people that want you to not give up hope and similar comments?

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    1. Hello dear - sorry that you've face some awkward moments. I guess I've been pretty lucky as I don't experience too many comments like this (I think maybe cause I've been so open with people?) Though there is one that surfaces from time to time and it is... "you just need to take some time to heal". I know people mean so, so well. I think they really do and I'm thankful that anyone out there would try to soothe or help, even if they are so far off from knowing me or understanding where I'm at with all this. ha. And so, I usually will try to use the moment to explain or educate. In this case, I might say: "Actually, I've been healing for nearly all of the last decade. It's been incredible and I've actually lived with so much peace for years and years. I'm so grateful. But it turns out there are some medical conditions holding up a pregnancy." If my explanation doesn't seem to help and they are particularly adamant, then I just let it go and let them continue to talk while I smile (it's not worth the energy to me to try and convince someone.) If someone said, "it could still happen, you never know" I would say, "Well, there is certainly a possibility, but it's better for me to focus fully on other things now. It's better for me to not obsess or anticipate and think about pregnancy with every cycle that goes by." I think my responses are hard for people as maybe it's not the norm to be so open and blunt. But I guess I prefer to just put it out there. Best of luck to you. I know these are tricky waters to navigate. Wishing you all the best!!! Much love, M

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    2. Those are some great responses and I will keep those in mind next time I'm in one of those uncomfortable situations. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! It's tremendously helpful to other women! xo

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  35. Mara, I want to start off by saying that you are truly wonderful for sharing this with us. I also want to say that there are so many other ways to share your love with the world.

    I have two aunts that were not able to have children. They took the energy (and money) that they might have expended on their own families and spent it on us and the other children in their lives. I owe so much to them, and I love them so much. I too don't have children and after much sorrow I have come to accept that I will probably never have children of my own. It was such a hard thing to accept, but I feel much better now that I have accepted it. I have to admit that watching my aunts through the years has made my acceptance much easier.

    One thing though that I realized from my aunts was that I could put my energy into trying to impact children's lives through outreach programs. I do a lot of outreach with children, and I spoil every child I can (even my housekeeper's children). I'm a physicist and I volunteer to teach kids about physics as often as I can. Even though I don't have kids, I've found that I love all of the time I get to spend with them. Most days it fills the void of not having kids. Listening to them, and encouraging them is actually really fulfilling. As I started to do more community service, I started to realize how often kids aren't encouraged, especially when they are from disadvantaged homes.

    People have said to me that I should have had kids because I am so good with kids. Its heartbreaking to hear that because I would give anything to have kids of my own. I've come to realize through the years that if i'd had kids of my own I would only have been able to influence one person, whereas through my outreach in the community I have an effect on many lives. I know I'm not going to change the world, but I wouldn't change the world as a parent either. By spending my money getting to know disadvantaged youth, and listening to them, and just outright spoiling them. I volunteer my services to help tutor the children at my housekeeper's church. I volunteer as a mentor for middle school girls. There are so many ways that you can impact people's lives, and I promise you that it will feel so good when you do it.

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  36. Loved all of the comments and loved this post! Hugs Mara and Danny!

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  37. Hi, Mara!

    This post has impeccable timing. While struggling with infertility for years, crying so many tears month after month, and feeling like I wasn't truly living, but merely waiting to live, my husband and I have made to decision to release ourselves from this guilt and to just LIVE. It feels so strange to just decide, "I will be happy today," and there's a kind of guilt that comes along with it, like, "But, I SHOULD be feeling sad," or, "I SHOULD still keep trying." But letting go & letting God is powerful, and therapeutic, and wonderful.

    At a church service of ours, the pastor said "You cannot do anything to make God love you more than He does now, and you cannot do anything to make God love you less. He loves you because He chooses to. In that way, you do not have to perform for God to love you." Now here's the tough part: "God also does not have to perform for you to love Him." Those sentences really resonated with me and helped me realize that I can continue to live, and love, and be happy even if I can't have children, even if what my plans for my future don't pan out how I originally thought they would.

    Your fears & reliefs are exactly as I have described them to people. I"m so glad to know I'm not alone. Thank you, thank you.

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  38. I have never commented before, but I can't tell you how grateful I am that you are willing to write posts like these. I think we are coming to the end of our own path with secondary infertility, and it gives me hope to see how you and Danny are living a different sort of life than you had planned with such grace and love. The comment above about responding to those who don't want you to stop hoping for a child, and your response, really resonated with me. I have been open with my family and close friends as we pursued treatment, and about how little energy I have to continue lately. I know they mean well by being hopeful on my behalf, but... I'm praying for trust and clarity after the IVF we have planned for next month.

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  39. I thank you for sharing this journey as well and hope you continue to give us insight into your thought process around these issues. I have been through a similar journey and am now trying to come to terms with the idea of not having kids and seeing others' experiences and how they get through it helps me.

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  40. Dearest Mara, just reading this now. You are so incredibly brave and so openly, beautifully vulnerable. I'm inspired by how many people find healing & compassion in your words. I'm so, so sorry the IVF didn't work, dear one... I can't fathom the disappointment, after so much effort and trial. That park with the statues would have completely finished me. Wish I could have been around while you were lying on the couch, just to have a cup of tea & listen. Biggest hug from Brooklyn, gorgeous one!

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  41. Oh Mara,
    I just want to give you the biggest hug. I can't fathom this sort of pain.
    You are so blessed to have Danny as a partner and I know the two of you will figure this journey out. Thank you for sharing all that you do. You are so brave to continually give of yourself.
    This may be a leap, but dare I compare we readers as your children, ready to soak up all you have to teach and share with us? I'm ready to learn more!

    With love,
    Mary

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  42. I am new to this "process of surrendering to this rather huge life situation". We are about a month out from our last failed attempt at IVF...and by "last", I mean very last, not just most recent. It has been a 10-year-long journey. I have an incredible therapist who is a friend of yours helping me through this ordeal, and she recommended your blog. I have to admit, it is quite triggering...but it is also the most useful and helpful blog I have read yet. I had actually quit looking for blogs because it seemed like everyone's journey ended in eventually getting their little miracle, and I resented it. I could no longer bear the "just don't give up; keep having faith" or the "have you tried this" advice. Yes! I've tried it all. In vitro didn't work for us any better than hormone therapy or standing on my head or "just relaxing". It's time to let go and move on...and that has nothing to do with whether or not I have enough faith. (I believe in miracles, but that doesn't mean a miracle is going to happen for us.) It's time to create a future that does not include children. It's time to redefine who I am, because until now, every decision I made revolved around one day having little ones who will look up to me and depend on me. In addition to grieving the loss of the only thing I've ever wanted, it's an identity crisis because I am not going to be the person I thought I was.

    Rereading this, it sounds like I am in crisis mode. On the contrary. I have, for the moment, made peace with the universe. That doesn't mean the aching or the tears are gone. It means I trust my Heavenly Father enough to believe that someday I will feel joy again, even without the blessing of my greatest desire.

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    1. Sometimes we miss comments that come in to old posts, but in case you come back to this, just wanted to let you know that we saw it, and were moved by it.

      I do believe that you will feel joy again...and I believe it will come in part because of what you've had to surrender. It is in the act of surrender that sometimes the greatest peace is felt. At least it has been that way for me. The trouble sometimes, is knowing what it is that you're surrendering, and how to actually do it.

      But it sounds like you're on your way. May you find joy in this journey.

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