If you had asked me at 21 if I was thinking about having kids you would have very promptly received a very firm “no.” Here I am, 13 years later (and very quickly approaching my 34th birthday) and it seems to be the only thing I want, but can’t have.
Not many 21-year-olds worry they‘re going to struggle with infertility. In fact, I didn’t even think at 29 I was going to have an issue. I met my (now) husband at the age of 25. I had just returned from travelling Australia and a quick trip to Cuba for a family wedding. I loved my social life and was heavily focused on my career.
Fast forward to 27, we got engaged and then married in three months. It was our intention to have a long engagement, but just two weeks after he popped the question, we entered a wedding contest, won it six weeks later and had 30 days to plan a wedding. Since I had so much time on my hands (insert sarcasm) I also decided to make a career move and started a new job three days after the wedding.
With the craziness of that summer and fall, we decided to wait to go on our honeymoon. In early 2011, we backpacked with no agenda around Costa Rica for two weeks. Things were good with us. We were enjoying being married, learning more about each other and we both agreed that we didn’t want to start a family right away.
In late 2011, I landed my dream job. It was exactly where I wanted to be.
There was a lot of room for growth. For the first time in years, I was satisfied with my career. We decided it would be a good idea for me to get a year under my belt in the new job before we could even think about starting a family. I did go off birth control by the end of the year but we didn’t actively start trying until October 2012.
It’s now April 2017 and we have yet to conceive. We also just had our first failed IUI.
A friend recently asked me what I wish I could tell my pre-trying-for-baby self: What do I wish I could tell myself when I got married knowing I wanted kids but not at that exact moment? What would I tell the career-driven woman who overcame so much to achieve success but who is now struggling to achieve motherhood? If I knew then what I know now, would I have done it all differently?
When I sat down and thought about all of that (and I thought about it a lot), one consistent thing kept coming up: there isn’t much I would do differently. Our original infertility diagnosis came in early 2014. Even in that moment, knowing we had a challenge ahead, we decided to put it off. It wasn’t until 2016 when we were ready to start IUI that we saw the bigger picture.
I often wonder at what age my ovaries started to diminish or whether I was just born this way.
But when I really think about my life (the trials and tribulations), everything I’ve gone through needed to happen. If I never get pregnant, despite being the only thing in the universe I want, the rest of my life is pretty great. I have an adoring, supportive husband, amazing friends and family, a career I love, the best two dogs in the whole world, plus enough wonderful experiences and memories to get me through the bad days.
So really, what I would tell my pre-trying-for-baby self?
I would tell her to live her life. It’s all a necessary part of your path and while you might stumble down some rocky roads (especially between the ages of 29 and 34), you’ll walk some pretty beautiful paths to get there.
Michelle L, alongroadtobaby.wordpress.com