I am a scientist; research is my job. So, when my husband and I decided to have a baby, I went for a checkup first. My doctor sent me off with the reassurance that everything was fine and the remark that we’d see each other soon for the first ultrasound. That was six years ago.
My job is asking questions, planning experiments and uncovering knowledge. I want to know how things in our body work. It can be tedious, but with proper planning and patience, you get results. However, all the proper planning and “experimenting” never led us to our desired result – a baby.
People know me as an outgoing and optimistic person, but there is another side of me – a side with cracks. I developed anxiety. I needed to take control of what I thought I could control – science. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as control in my job. You can plan as well as you want, but experiments will fail. With every failed experiment, my frustration grew despite having successful projects. I was consumed by failures and couldn’t see the wins. It took me a long time to realize that these feelings were rooted in my infertility.
My husband and I have a very unsatisfactory diagnosis – idiopathic infertility. Idiopathic = unexplained. There’s no pathological reason we shouldn’t be able to make a baby, which is devastating. I want to know why. Knowing the problem is the first step to fixing it – that’s how I learned to work in research.
Last year after another unsuccessful IUI, I couldn’t take anymore. I felt like going down Alice’s rabbit hole, tumbling and twirling. I didn’t like myself with all this anxiousness and worry. Getting a baby couldn’t be the only denominator of my life. I still wanted kids, but I needed a plan B. The idea started like a little growing sprout manifesting itself: maybe adoption could be an option for us.
I read about grieving the biological child that you might never have – the one with mommy’s eyes and daddy’s ears. And I started grieving these losses and accepting life as it is, along with my choices to make peace with myself.
As for my child wish, I feel that I opened a door at the end of the rabbit hole. One I didn’t anticipate.
This decision to move on with my life also started a professional transformation. I accepted that my job will never be a straight path and realized I don’t have to go down the rabbit hole to be involved in science.
Accepting that not all questions get answers and talking about infertility is part of my healing process. I am not anxious anymore. Suddenly, I see a dazzling array of opportunities. I hope that sharing my story empowers others to move on and start their next adventure. Let’s see what Wonderland has waiting for us.