Breaking Through the Shame of Infertility

February 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Adoption, Megan's Blogs, The Nitty-Gritty | Leave a comment
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Lover's Bliss in AZ.


Even before Barton and I were married, we had dreams of having children. We talked about it often, even named them. When we found out that we would not be able to have children naturally, the way we had envisioned, we both took it really hard and grieved in different ways.

Once we began to talk about different options that we were or were not considering, we were met with the long list of questions and opinions from others, family, friends. In each one, there was a sense of concern, shame and failure.

Compounding this sense of failure was that we were faced with questions of how we would manage with time, energy, financially, and support. Nearly every one of my friends were pregnant, but we were being told that we should not have a family because we would not be able to manage with Barton’s disability. Instead of looking at the missing pieces to find strategies on where & how fill in the holes, I did the worst thing I could have done- I believed them.

I completely shut down, and so did Barton. I threw myself into trying to be it all in everything else – in my work, getting Barton up in the morning, getting home very late at night, housework. Once Barton even told me he never wanted to be a father, completely denying the dreams we shared together when we first met.

Recently, I have found a small contingent of women who have been through similar experiences or conceived using other techniques. Whether it was through medical technology or adoption, many stories began to seep out. It wasn’t until I began meeting other women who shared these experiences that I stopped believing in the illusions that surrounded the beliefs about our own family.

Yesterday,  I had lunch with a mother of two, and we talked about our paths. Afterwards, I realized how deep the sense of shame and failure had been, how detrimental it had been to cut myself off. How different and free I felt to even speak about our dreams, our visions, our challenges. I could ask the questions I was afraid to ask others because I knew the response I would get. I found myself believing again, and dreaming again.

Barton & I don’t know when or how it will work out. Whether we are successful at creating a family through medical advances, adoption, foster care or even in volunteering at a school or daycare. Slowly, we are shedding the shame and failure to find the vision and love we once had, and how important expanding our family is, to both of us.

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