Over the years I have had the opportunity to know countless women and men struggling with infertility. For some, the journey is relatively short—they try to have a baby on their own, seek treatment and within months, they are successfully pregnant. For others, the journey is far more arduous—they move from one treatment to another, sometimes enduring pregnancy losses along the way. Every infertility journey is different, but what I have learned from nearly all my infertility travelers is that one way or another, people find a successful resolution to infertility. Occasionally, this means living without children or, in instances of secondary infertility, deciding not to expand their family. However, for most, the journey through infertility ends with the joyous arrival of a baby. This blog is about what I have come to think of as “getting to baby” or as I like to short hand it, “G2B.”
Here is a little background on how and why I began thinking of “G2B.” It started one December when the holiday cards arrived. I had a big pile in front of me and as I went through them, enjoying photos of adorable young children, I thought of the “back stories.” What a contrast it was to look at the beautiful pictures while remembering the miscarriages, stillbirths, failed cycles upon failed cycles that their parents had endured. I held photos of children who had joined their families through adoption and ones conceived through egg donation, sperm donation or both. There were photos of children who were born to surrogates and of kids whose arrivals totally surprised their parents. I remember, in particular, one card with a photo of three little girls. Their mom wrote, “I don’t know if you remember me. My husband and I went through eight unsuccessful IVF cycles and eventually gave up. Then low and behold, we began having babies.”
What the holiday cards brought home to me that year and every year since is that one way or another, people find a way to get to baby. I write about it now because I imagine that many blog readers are struggling with how to maintain hope when you are in the dark tunnel of infertility. You may question whether there will ever be a light at the end of the tunnel and whether all that you are going through will lead you to your goal. As disappointments and “failures” mount, it is hard not to see them as predictive: “if nothing has worked so far, how can I/we possibly believe that will have good news in the future?” You look around you at others moving easily or not-so-easily on to parenthood and wonder, “Will I ever be the one buckling an infant into a car seat or filling my shopping cart with diapers?”
If you are in the midst of an infertility journey, I encourage you to believe in “G2B.” No one can accurately predict when and how it will happen, but if you stay the course, you will get to baby. My favorite times in my work with clients come when they arrive at my office for the first time with a baby in a baby carrier. I always say the same thing as I greet them “If only we could have known a year ago that this is where you’d be today.” Then we sit together and kvell (a Yiddish word that is hard to accurately translate but most closely means means “bursting with delight”) over the new baby. I believe that these moments are so tender and sweet because of all that a parent went through to get to this baby.
Ellen is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in infertility, adoption, gamete donation and surrogacy. She is the author or co-author of six books, most recently Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation. Ellen can be reached by clicking here.