My Hardest Infertility Lesson

I love a good plan! And I love the execution of a good plan even more!

I love organizing thing, and I love getting things right.

I find so much satisfaction in knowing that something went according to the plan I created. Whether that something be a work project, or a volunteer activity or even just a dinner party with friends. I love the big accomplishments like defending my master’s thesis and accomplishing two years’ worth of work. I love the small accomplishments like following a recipe and having the end result taste like something you’d actually want to eat,

I feel great when my hard work turns into great success. I take pride in my accomplishments.

So, then Recurrent Pregnancy Loss happened. And I lost sight of this.  I struggled to understand what success really was.

I worked so bloody hard, harder than I ever have in my life.  And yet, I could not make things go according to my plan. I could not sustain a pregnancy. I could not manage to work a high stress job and manage the grief of losing our babies and our dreams. No matter how hard I tried, I could not do it.

I felt like a failure. For the first time in my life I saw myself as a failure.

I also struggled to understand how I couldn’t control the outcome. It seemed so natural that after an egg and sperm meet, a baby comes along 9 months later. I couldn’t rationalize my way through an unexplained diagnosis.

I couldn’t understand that my efforts wouldn’t make a difference to the outcome of a pregnancy. So I did everything perfectly, to nauseam. I avoided all the bad foods at all cost, I wouldn’t eat anything undercooked, I didn’t exercise, I gave up sushi (my absolute favourite food), I obviously stopped drinking alcohol and steered clear of even regular Tylenol. I even gave up my career with the intent of having a completely stress free pregnancy. Yet, nothing worked.

I lost countless hours of sleep worrying, trying to figure out what I could do better with our next try. At my craziest I thought maybe I should eat more pineapple. Or maybe I need to only use organic cleaning chemicals. Or maybe I shouldn’t pick up after my dog, because they say not to pick up after cats.

And yet again, nothing worked.

So, what does all of this mean? It means, I took the slow and hard route to learn one of the most important infertility / recurrent pregnancy loss lesson:

Learning to let go.

Maybe even the hardest lesson I’ve ever attempted to learn.

Clearly, I’m a slow learner. My stubborn nature stood in my way many times in the last few years.

I wanted to control the outcome. In fact, I think part of me needed to try to control the outcome. My need to feel like I was doing something to protect my babies was paramount.

And in the end, that same need, drove me crazy. At some point, I think I started to understand that this was beyond my sphere of influence and power. And most days I am able to remember that while I am responsible for my actions in any situation, I am not able to control everything in my life and that life might just truly be messier then I ever thought (or wanted).

There are times in life where I have to accept what is and continue on. Even when the very thing I have to accept is the very last thing I would ever want to live with.

Learning to let go has been a hard lesson to learn.

I hope in my future life trials and tribulations I am able to remember this lesson. And move forward with acceptance and a little bit more grace.

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Thank you to Head Above The Waves for helping inspire this piece.

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33 Comments on “My Hardest Infertility Lesson

  1. Letting go is such a tough lesson. I know it hasn’t been easy for me either. But really, how much of our lives to we really have control of, when you think about it? This is actually what has made me cling to my faith in God, actually. Knowing that so much of my life is out of my control, it is comforting for me to know that, ultimately, God has a plan for me. And in spite of all the crap and horrible things, he will bring good from the chaos. ❤

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    • Thank you for understanding Connieannn – it really is a touch lesson. I am so glad that you have found a way to help your cope with the uncertainty and lack of control in this journey. Much love to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think all of our IF issues helped me learn to let go more easily. I tend to say, “there’s nothing we can do about it, let’s move on,” a lot more often now than I ever did before. I remember thinking, “What you will take from this is that you can’t control everything.” And you know, 4 years later, I am not near as controlling as I used to be. It’s awesome!

    I think it’s great that you’re writing this all out…. it will help you remember some day!

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  3. I’m struggling with infertility and miscarriage (I lost my first baby three weeks ago when I was 14 weeks pregnant after two years and three IUI). I’m still grieving that lost and trying to letting go. As you, I always make plans and I love following them. Till two years ago, when I set a gol, I made a plan and I knew that if I worked or tried hard, I would success… But getting pregnant and having a health baby is not one of the things that I can control and I can know when is going to happen. However, I need to know that I’m doing everything I can to move forward that aim. So, as you say, I need to let it go and continue on. I like reading your posts.

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    • Vanesa, I am so sorry that you too are struggling with infertility and miscarriage, and have so recently lost another baby. My heart breaks for you.
      I still grieve our losses too, and for me, it’s so hard to try to learn to let go when I am so used to succeeding at anything I try. But as you say, I need to know i tried everything so that I can come to some sort of peace and acceptance so that I can move on. I still struggle to let go, but I am trying.
      Wishing you the best and sending you love.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Now that I have “Let It Go” stuck in my head…you’re absolutely right. It’s a hard lesson to learn. It’s hard to let go of that control that we so desperately want and feel like we need, especially while going through infertility/RPL.

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    • So, funny thing, I never even thought of the song “Let It Go” until I read your comment! How did I miss that?!
      You are so right about it being a hard lesson. And one that I feel like I’m continually working to remind myself to let go and to actually do it.

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  5. Such a valuable lesson but one that is to hard to accomplish. I think that’s a standard one for any of us who have faced infertility or pregnancy loss. You are doing an amazing job though! Don’t you ever forget that!

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  6. Thanks for the shoutout, friend! Oh, this is such a hard walk. And some days I feel like I am a conqueror standing on top of it and other days, I’m no winner. I’m not standing, let alone, on top of it!

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    • Thanks so much for sharing that you connected with this, I am honoured and so touched.
      Also, I didn’t even notice the link to the Frozen song when I wrote this! It’s so obvious I have no idea how I missed it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is the part where I confess that when I was running every day during our IUIs and early in IVF, the first song on my running playlist (for warmup) was Let it Go. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a hormonally imbalanced crazy woman treadmill dancing to Disney songs. But the song makes a good point! It was my reminder every day that I had to let go of everything I was trying so hard to control but couldn’t.

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    • I love that you started your run with Let It Go! I think that’s a great idea. And I also love the visual of treadmill dancing to Disney. 🙂
      (Also, I totally missed the link to the song in this post until you and everyone else pointed it out to me).

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  8. My therapist and I have narrowed down that a big part of my struggle with getting over the miscarriages is that it’s the first time that I’ve tried my hardest but have failed. It’s a tough thing to digest when you’re a perfectionist like we are. But what she’s trying to help me do is to draw some meaning out of it. I think that finding some meaning might take some time or distance, but I think it will help in letting go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I think you and your counsellor are onto something with all of this – it’s so hard and frustrating to fail when I’ve never failed before. And it’s a crappy thing to have to learn to accept, yet totally necessary to learn before we drive ourselves completely crazy.
      I hope you and your counsellor are able to find some meaning that makes sense for you. Wishing you the best my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You know … THIS is why I follow this blog. I am well past childbearing age, and had no difficulty conceiving or carrying my daughter. (Raising her alone was a bit more of a challenge!) I have never walked your path, and sometimes reading what you write almost feels as though I’m spectating. And then … you write something like this – about a universal truth that you reached on your specific path and that I too have had to face – and yes, our paths may be different, but they intersect at important and interesting places. Thank you for sharing this!

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    • Awe, thanks so much for this comment!! You make such a great point about universal truths and how most of us who are sitting back and reflecting on life see these truths on our own paths, even when our paths are so distinctly different. And as you say, the intersections of our paths are so interesting, so important and offer us so many opportunities to learn from each other! Thank you for pointing this out!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow interesting post! It really got me thinking about significant changes in my own personality through all of this. Good for thought…. Thank you for that!

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    • Now you have got me thinking about what other personality shifts I have had occur through the last few years! I wonder what else that’s a little less obvious has changed? Immediately I realize that I am way more emotional today then I ever was before, and also more sympathetic. I’m sure I’ll be thinking about it all night now. Thanks. 🙂

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  11. I totally agree that this is a lesson that I learned to. There is only so much that I can do and so much out of my hands. And I don’t know the future, there is no fast forward button, so you just have to live it. Stay strong!

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    • At times, the idea of a fast forward button sounds great!! But yes, it’s not an option in real life, so we just have to stay strong and take it one day at a time. Love to you as you continue down your path.

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  12. Yes to all of this. The list of things we’ve done is long, and probably crazy by some people’s standards. But like you, as a former high achiever, I needed SOMETHING to make sense. Letting go really is the hardest thing.

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    • You make such a good point about needing SOMETHING in all of this to make sense. Searching for meaning in all of this is so hard, and absolutely one of my biggest struggles.
      How are you by the way?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m doing okay, thank you – just taking it day by day and refusing to indulge my paranoia about anything. I won’t even google anything. The days go by very slowly.

        Liked by 1 person

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