Infertility… a word I never dreamed would enter my life. My mother was one of eleven children; I have 30-something cousins. One of my very Catholic relatives begged permission from the church to use birth control when they couldn’t afford to have any more children after five of them were born. I only had to think of having babies and it magically happened. I never realized how “magic” those pregnancies were.
My daughter, I think, was born “mothering”. Any of my friends or relatives with new babies or young children had best step aside to let her take control of their care when we visited. Even though she was not old enough, she begged her way into babysitting training classes. Toward the end of her college years, she expressed her frustration with finding a career – she wanted only babies.
She struggled with “female issues” – painful periods, cysts – not so unusual, right? So when she became pregnant shortly after her marriage, I was not totally surprised. The pregnancy was difficult and the late-term miscarriage of our first grandchild was terribly hard on all of us.
Enter the MONSTER named infertility. Difficulty in becoming pregnant again… several failed IUI’s… three failed IVF’s… one successful IVF – Hallelujah! Only to lose our sweet baby boy after only 7-1/2 months from a rare genetic disorder.
Even more devastating than all of this is watching my beautiful, loving daughter endure the losses of her life’s dream. Possibly even worse than the loss of her son, is the prospect of facing more difficulty and loss in trying to reach her goal of motherhood. Adoption is always an option, but now I understand the craving for the biological child. Is it possible? No one can answer that question, and that is what is so hard. Of course we would love an adopted child as much as a biological one, but the question is always there.
So am I an angry Grandma? You bet! I struggle every day with this anger. It interferes with my life in every aspect. So many of my daughter’s friends who have also faced the infertility issue have found resolution, some through adoption, some through success with fertility treatments, many with both. We remain in limbo and until I hold that baby in my arms – more importantly that SHE hold that baby in her arms, we have no true peace.
I know that people mean well, but when they tell me how young my daughter still is – “There’s plenty of time!” – “How many babies out there need homes”, I realize how little they understand about their claims.
So… I try to remember my past ignorance, I try to control my anger, and I try to be as supportive as I can through this struggle called infertility.
This post was written by Margie B., the mother of a woman who has struggled with infertility. She has been, and continues to be, an amazing source of support for her daughter and AGC Scholarship Foundation.