Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Cancer and Widowhood.

Thank you infertility

If you had told me five, three or even one year ago that someday I would be thankful for my infertility, I’m pretty sure I would have clawed your eyes out. That, or punched you in the junk.

But I am.

I think this is probably true for anyone who experiences a significant challenge in their life or a health scare. So thank you, infertility:

  • For making me a more patient parent. After years of waiting and 141 days of bed rest, what’s a tantrum? My employer has also noticed the improvement!
  • For helping me not sweat the small stuff. With so much that has been out of our control over the last several years, we’ve learned to let small stuff ride.
  • For showing me who will stand by our side. I’ve been so lucky in my support through our journey.
  • For giving me strength I didn’t know I was capable of. After my girls were born, I went to the mat negotiating for a new job. I wouldn’t have done that previously.
  • For showing me what my priorities are. Because of the wait to get our girls, I insisted on a long maternity leave. And it was long enough for me to know that I am happiest as a working mother. Part of me will always want to stay home, but I am content in my choice. However, even though I want to have a career, my girls are my priority.
  • For making me infamous. To this day, I’m pretty sure that everyone thinks my hubby and I had a quickie in the bathroom at a wedding. We only wish it were that glamorous–we were giving me progesterone injections in the hope that my body would sustain the pregnancy.
  • For forcing us to focus on our finances. Prior to infertility, we were your typical Americans: charging on cards, tons of student loans. The process of paying for treatments and getting qualified for loans helped us focus on what really mattered when it came to our money. Discipline is easy when your priorities are focused.
  • And most of all, thank you for bringing us two (soon to be three!) wonderful children. Had the journey been any different, it wouldn’t be these specific children and we know we are blessed.
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I Have Trolls!

I knew when I decided to put our story out to the public via Facebook and a blog that not everyone would support it. To be honest, this is nothing new. Since we were open about our infertility, we’ve had to learn to have thick skins.

“If God wanted you to have kids, you would have them.”

You’d be surprised how often that comment came up. Wether well-intentioned or not, people would say hurtful things. “You just need to relax and it will happen. You’re not having a baby because you are too stressed out.” By sharing our journey, we found we had some of the greatest supporters in the world. But we also opened ourselves up to the opinions of others, and not everyone agreed with our choices. We did the same thing with this blog and through our fundraising.

“I pray the child will be able to stay with her natural, god given family. Nobody elses child should be given the job of making you feel better about your infertility.” (sic)

As I continue to post more blogs, I’ve begun to get comments from the outside world. Most of them are angry diatribes against adoption. When I read the first one, I was angry on our birth mother’s behalf. How dare they assume they know how the birth mother came to her decision? I don’t even fully know–I only know what she has chosen to share. Her thought process is between her, her family and her counselor.

The second comment made me re-evaluate.

“As a mother who lost her son to adoption 47 years ago and has mourned that loss every day of those years, I cannot read about another young mother about to give up her child without a feeling uncomfortably close to choking.” (sic)

It came from a place of hurt. She was against adoption, because she “had” to give her child up for adoption. It was the word “had” that gave me pause. The adoption world has changed a lot. In the past,  there were certainly adoptions in which the birth mother was forced or coerced into giving up her baby. I don’t want that. The only healthy adoptions are ones in which it’s the birth mother’s idea to do so, and she does it with full knowledge and a support system.

I can’t imagine that anyone would say that this is an easy decision or the easy way out for her. This is, in fact, the hardest path she could have chosen. It is also one of the reasons we are going to have an open adoption. This baby comes from two families and needs to know both the family of blood and the family who raises him.

I also think, at times, it won’t be easy for him to be an adopted child. We will shower our son with love, but there will still be tantrums and those angst-ridden teenage years. You know, all of that normal childhood fun. And our child may someday struggle with the fact that he is adopted.

All we can do is love him and support him.

Despite those negative comments on the blog, the support we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. Neighbors of coworkers have given donations after hearing our stories. Parents of friends have bought cookie jars. Our daycare has rallied around us and really promoted the sale of our jars, even though they know they will lose our business when we have a third child.  I even have followers now on my blog–people that do want to share our journey.

In the end, the response we’re receiving from everyone is honest, and you can’t get much better than that. Honest and real are welcome. Always.