I don’t talk much about our personal journey with infertility. I do talk about our beautiful children who we adopted and the journey since. So, today I thought I might delve into the dark shadow of loss that can sometimes creep up on me.
My husband and I had been married about 2-3 years when we started to try for a family. All my friends at the time were in the same season of life and as they started to conceive around me it became apparent that this might not be the course for us. I won’t lie and say that it wasn’t a hard time. It was. Especially seeing others have their babies and start to be surrounded by children and families. The times it struck me the most were when I heard of a new person getting pregnant and the feeling of jealousy was strong at times.
I’ve since met many others who’ve struggled on this journey but when you’re in the middle you can feel isolated and alone. It wasn’t also that I felt desperate for a baby. We just knew we wanted a family and when you know you can’t have something that others seem to achieve so easily it can become overwhelming.
Throughout this chapter there were many good moments and times when I felt ok about our situation. We had plenty of time to go out and be with our friends, we baby sat others and enjoyed being part of family life.
Once we made the decision to adopt and jumped into this complex world the concept of loss took on a whole new meaning for me. There is so much loss and grief in adoption. For us of course – letting go of the dream of giving birth and having a small version of ourselves (scary thought) and being ‘normal’ like my friends. But, also for our children who have lost so much before coming to us. We can’t forget also the birth parents who experience huge loss that might be hard for others to comprehend. So much loss.
What I’ve begun to understand, as the years have progressed, is that loss doesn’t really go away. It changes its form, and may be closer to the surface at times, but it never really disappears. A few of my adopter friends have recently had to support their daughters through pregnancy, labour, childbirth and raising babies when they’ve not actually done that themselves. A very surreal experience and triggering of those long-buried feelings of loss.
For me, the loss is still there but I am also acutely aware of the gain. My life is so much richer through adoption and through having our children. There is complexity yes and this will continue as they work through their life stories, but I will stand alongside them and navigate those waters with them. Loss is a part of life. For some more than others but in every loss finding the gain can help.