"No Longer Hoping for a Miracle Pregnancy"

In this personal essay, an adoptive mother of three lovely kids shares how she struggled with infertility grief while acknowledging that she no longer wants to become pregnant.

A mother who adopted after facing infertility realizes she's no longer hoping for a miracle pregnancy

Mothers who come to adoption by way of infertility may think, in the back of their minds, that they could have a surprise pregnancy. It’s not that we aren’t happy with our choice of adoption, but it’s natural for a woman to feel the desire to be pregnant and give birth. My infertility stems from my body’s inability to release an egg. If you don’t ovulate, the odds of conceiving naturally are zero.

Ten years ago, when I did IVF, my odds of success were an unheard-of 80 percent, and I did become pregnant. After I miscarried, however, we began our adoption journey and never went back to fertility treatments. I now have three amazing children through domestic adoption, and I love being their mother.

Over the years, I’ve taken medicine a few times a year to induce a period, in order to shed my uterine lining. Otherwise, I’d be at a very high risk of cancer. There were a few times when I thought I had ovulated naturally, and I seized on the possibility that I could get pregnant. But that’s not how my body works. The only time my eggs have met my husband’s sperm was in the lab of the IVF center.

For the past year, the medicine I was taking to induce periods began to cause migraines. I worked with my doctor, trying different medicines, to no avail. One of my final options was to get an IUD inserted, which would thin my uterine lining. I was shocked at how upset I got at the thought of permanent birth control. I haven’t ovulated on my own since I was a teenager, but I hesitated to get an IUD because it would rule out the slight-to-zero percent chance I may ovulate.

Guilt overwhelmed me as I looked at my three beautiful children. I have never regretted choosing adoption over continuing with fertility treatments. So why was my heart breaking over the idea of ending any chance of pregnancy?

I had to remind myself that the reason for the IUD was to keep me healthy. Without it, I’d be at a high risk for developing cancer. What kind of mother would I be if I didn’t preserve my health? I want to be around to see my children grow up and their children grow up.

I got the IUD inserted. Unfortunately, my body did not like it very much. I had gotten the IUD because I want to be around for my kids, but I was having such horrible side effects that I couldn’t be involved in their lives. I cried a lot and beat myself up emotionally. I relived a lot of the anger and infertility grief I’d felt during my fertility treatments, anger at my body for not working like a normal woman’s. I loved my kids and missed being with them because of all the problems my reproductive system caused. I got angrier and angrier at my body, my life, and this situation.

I had the IUD removed five weeks later, and it was a freeing feeling. I got back to my role as mother. Unfortunately, the only option left was a hysterectomy. I had known this before I got the IUD. I tried not to think about it, because it meant the end of any chance I had of becoming pregnant.

After the complications caused by the IUD, however, I surprised myself by being OK with the hysterectomy. I knew that I no longer had the desire for a miracle pregnancy. I only had the desire to be an involved mother to my children. I had a similar clarity of mind after my miscarriage, when I realized that I no longer wanted to become pregnant — I only wanted to become a parent. That fueled my fire to begin my adoption journey.

My surgery is tomorrow, and I am an emotional mess. Is it because I think I’ll be less of a woman without my uterus? No. Is it because I’ll never experience a successful pregnancy? No. I am a mess because I know that, during my lengthy recovery, I won’t be able to do stuff with my children. I know they’ll be well cared for by my husband and visiting family members. Still, I won’t be the one sending them off to school, playing soccer with them, or carrying them to bed for quite awhile. I have to remind myself that it’s only for a short time, and that the alternative, cervical or uterine cancer, is not worth the risk.

I’ve talked to my children about my surgery and why I’m having it done. They didn’t say much at the time, so I didn’t know whether they understood everything. Then, the other day, out of the blue, my nine-year-old son said, “Mom, I hope this isn’t rude to say, but I’m really glad your stomach doesn’t work like other women’s. Because if it did, then you would never have adopted us, and I really love our family.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.


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