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That lingering voice



March 2011, Canaveral National Seashore, Florida.


Our first IVF cycle is slowly approaching. Every evening I pop another dreaded birth control pill and tick another day off the calendar.

I am a slew of emotions over this cycle. One minute I’m on top of the world – “It’s going to work! I’m going to be a mommy and Mr. Husband is going to be a daddy and our cats are going to have a little kid to play with!” And the next moment I’m engulfed by all the what-ifs.

There is a third emotion that I have not yet admitted to. No matter how “ready” I am to become a mother, there is that shred of independent lady that lingers. Every now and then she whispers ” What the fuck are you doing? Don’t you know your abs will never look this good after a baby? And you are starting to run now… getting knocked up would mean no more running, spinning, etc. AND a baby means less travel and more boring “I can’t do (insert fun activity here) because of the baby.”

I am not proud to admit that these thoughts still linger. I have been avoiding mentioning it here for months because I feel that it might make me undeserving of parenthood. Maybe this shred of independent lady has marked me as “unfit” and cursed me to a lonely life of cooking dinner for two. Some days I beat myself up over these thoughts, ” I bet (insert currently pregnant blogger or friend here) never thinks about how life will never be the same. I bet she never worries about her abs. I bet she never mourns the end of running or yoga…. Shame on you, you selfish infertile.”

Other days I’m kinder. “I am sure everyone has these lingering thoughts. Surely I’m not alone. Buck up Belle and keep going. You’ll find balance between motherhood, exercise, travel and adventure.”

But then I read your stories and nowhere do I read of you mourning the loss of this carefree and selfish life. No one talks about being desperate for a baby, but still a little sad to lose the life they have had for so many years. And so as I approach my CD 1 I decided to bring the topic to the table despite my fears of readers hitting “unsubscribe.” Do you have these secret worries? Or do you think this is a sign that I should reconsider this entire process?

Next Wednesday I have my IVF training session during which we will pay a man I have only met twice $8,000 for a 35% chance at a take home baby. What do I have to do to kick this nagging voice to the curb? Or is this a natural part of a life changing event?



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  1. January 12, 2012

    Yes. To answer that question – YES! It is a normal thought process.

    As people struggling through infertility we find a lot of solace in the things we “get” to do since we don’t have a baby. And before you have that desire to have kids you also kind of revel in the things you “get” to do. It’s hard to shake that mentality. But you don’t really have to shake it, you can hold two (or three or more) conflicting feelings at once in your body and not explode.

    I think a lot of it is the fear of going into the unknown… you don’t know what kinds of things you will get to do when pregnant, when you have an infant.

    And, if there are things that you like about not being pregnant / not having kids around, that doesn’t have to change FOREVER. Actually, being an active parent probably has a positive influence over your child’s health. And babies aren’t babies forever. They grow into actual people and get old enough to do fun things like travel and have adventures. I know my dad couldn’t wait until I was old enough to ride roller coasters so he had an excuse to go to six flags again (we’ve been going every summer since I was 7).

    So… to conclude this ridiculously long comment …. you’re not selfish, you are normal, and I say you should enjoy the things you get to do because you love them, and when you get pregnant / have a baby, just think of it as taking a temporary hiatus, maybe 🙂

    • January 18, 2012

      Amen, sista! You said it well!! I definitely think infertility has us even more so focused on our freedom and independence because it’s all we can hold onto. A few months back when I thought I might be pregnant I had a total panic with these same feelings. I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing considering how much I want a child….. human emotions can be so freaking whacked!

  2. January 12, 2012

    I think it is totally normal. There is always a sense of loss when something changes..if you didn’t have these thoughts and feelings I would be worried you were in denial. You are know exactly what will change. However, parenting doesn’t mean losing independance. Ask your new mama girlfriends…they are doing it and loving it..even while running 5K’s with their little makes it MORE FUN!! Also, there is nothing cooler than seeing your baby’s daddy carrying him/her in the backpack while hiking up a mountain. Or riding a bike trail with those little carriers on the back with a kiddo in the seat…shit girl..with all the adventures you will continue to have with your child..I wish I was your kid 🙂

  3. January 12, 2012

    I agree, I think these are perfectly normal feelings! I had them for sure many times throughout our almost 6 years of trying which is part of the reason it took so long getting serious about IVF. I wasn’t blogging throughout all those years, but even if I had been I’m not sure they would be easy to write about. Generally I think they are difficult to talk about. Also for pregnant women and new mothers who have not experienced infertility. It’s part of that myth of motherhood that a woman will just be over the moon happy everyday in her pregnancy and with a new born baby etc. And when you have experienced infertility there is maybe even more indirect pressure in this regard. But I doubt it is like that for anyone.

    I am myself struggling with whether I should write about what it’s like for me at the moment in early pregnancy – feeling nauseous ALL THE TIME and being sick etc. How I long for simply things like being able to eat… (I normally love food!) and just feel normal and have just a little bit of energy. I long to feel like myself for just a second. But then I think – well it’s no big deal and I don’t want to complain or be ungrateful. I know it will pass, I know I will get back to being normal again, I know it’s nothing to fuss about. But still, it’s no fun when you are in it!

    My guess is that this is just the beginning of lots and lots of moments throughout pregnancy and parenthood where being pregnant or having a baby/child will not make you jump around with joy but rather the opposite. It’s life. And things worth doing are often hard and difficult. Labour of love!! 🙂

    • January 13, 2012

      I’d say you are normal :). I know I think about twins all the time and how my body would be trashed….imagine the skin!!! And I worry about my life with my husband – would it be the same? Will we still be crazy about each other when we are exhausted and worn down and smell like puke? I figure the fact that we care is a good thing, maybe it will make us more aware of it when we actually get to that point. Besides, we will need something to stress about once the IF stress is off the menu 🙂

  4. January 12, 2012

    I have these kinds of thoughts a lot. Mostly, mine are economic in nature. “Can we really afford kids? Shouldn’t we buy a house first? Will we be able to pay their college tuition?” But, I logically know that people don’t all have tons of money who have kids. We are comfortable and ready to parent. That is the most important thing.

    As for all the physical concerns, those are normal too. I mean, I worry about sex feeling the same, etc. Is that selfish? Maybe. But we are human!

    • Rachel @ Eggs In A Row #
      January 12, 2012

      This. Money thoughts are my biggest ones too! But my mom told me if everyone waited to have a kid when they were financially stable, no one would have kids except for Beyonce. 😉

  5. Mo #
    January 12, 2012

    Why would anyone hit unsubscribe? Silly Belle.
    I think everyone feels that way – fertile, infertile, RPLer, whatever, we still have all of the normal fears that come with impending parenthood. I’ve been meaning to write a post about it actually, but I got sidetracked with all the cerclage drama. 🙂
    My husband once said that it’s impossible to ever be 100% ready for anything. If you waited to feel certain about any decision, you’d never really make any, and sometimes you just have to dive in, uncertainty and all.
    Not that i’m objective, but I married a smart guy.

  6. January 12, 2012

    I agree with everyone here, totally normal to have those feelings. The reason I personally never blog about it is because THOSE aren’t the feelings that nag at me all day long. I am still in my do whatever I want phase and I want to be on the other side. I imagine after the babies come I will whine about the opposite. Grass is always greener sort of thing.

  7. January 12, 2012

    I’ve found that the longer I’ve been on this road, the more of those types of thoughts that pop up along the way. It’s like we have an inner mechanism that tries to steer us away for something that could be very painful and is uncertain. The only times I’ve been able to kick that voice to the curb was when I was 100% sure of the outcome, which generally is very rare.

    To embark on this journey takes courage and you are filled with it. I have so much hope that this procedure will work and that there will be a happy ending soon.

  8. January 13, 2012

    Sure I’ve had these thoughts. They are fleeting though because I know that I want a baby more than anything and I am willing to sacrifice my yoga abs and all for it. I think you’re totally right, no one wants to admit it because then it may seem as if we don’t want a baby after all, or worse don’t deserve it.

    • January 14, 2012

      I’d have to say the same for myself. I have the thoughts. They come and go and I see my independent self and what I “wouldn’t” be able to do when we finally have kids but then my desire for kids is far greater than that. Sometimes when my dog is annoying me and testing my patience I wonder if I’ll be a horrible mother…. I mean who gets annoyed by their cute Boxer?

  9. January 13, 2012

    This was such a great post, Belle! I think if you didn’t have those kinds of thoughts, there would be a problem. Totally human.

  10. January 13, 2012

    I agree. These thoughts are totally normal and okay. I also occasionally worry about my blog readers. I’m always so happy to get a subscriber, I don’t want to scare them off! But just trust them..I won’t be going anywhere.

  11. 35life #
    January 13, 2012

    You won’t see me hitting “unsubscribe”. Kudos to you for writing about something I’ve long been thinking about. Totally normal. I’m still thinking about it now on the eve of starting round two tomorrow! I think about all the travel that hubs and I haven’t done. I consider all the things we’d still like to do, but getting married later in life combined with a ticking clock is robbing us of that. I think about getting passports if this doesn’t work for us. I think about downsizing to a smaller house so we can travel and dine out whenever we please. I think about the childfree couples who know every chef in town because they can freely go out to dinner in all the great restaurants. I think about the career I never pursued because I always thought I’d meet Mr. Right in my twenties and would think about a job later. Oh, I totally know! Do not feel bad!

  12. January 13, 2012

    You are in my head today! I was just having a talk with my own independent lady this afternoon. I travel a lot for work and I’m sure I’d have to cut down drastically. And that makes me sad. There. I said it. Not like, resent my baby sad, but missing my independent lady sad. Of course there is no baby yet, so my worries are so far unfounded. Best of luck with your IVF!

  13. January 13, 2012

    I beat myself up about those thoughts too. And about a lot more, too. But everybody has their doubts, right? And surely, somewhere, there’s someone who has the same doubts.

  14. January 13, 2012

    Oh I think you would a robot if you didn’t think about losing your old life! All change is difficult, even change we want desperately.

    This is what I wrote when I was having similar thoughts:

  15. January 13, 2012

    Oh and I mention it again here:

  16. Angel #
    January 13, 2012

    We HAVE those nagging fears. Maybe it’s due to the luxury of watching our friends lives change as they became moms. But I do know this- not a one of them would have changed their minds. It’s going to be ok.

  17. January 14, 2012

    I think its totally normal. Any big life change brings with it some positive and negative. I’ve had similar thoughts myself. The big thing is when you know the positive will outweigh the negative. As we head towards IVF I feel excitement but also uncertainty. You are not alone!!!

  18. January 15, 2012

    Your thoughts are completely normal. I have the basic thought on and off of are we really ready all the time. We don’t travel much but there will be things that I will have to cut out when we have a baby, but I feel I will be able to go back to them at some point. Maybe slightly different though. If you miss yoga you can do baby and mommy yoga or running, you can get a nice running stroller and keep it up!

  19. January 16, 2012

    I was so shocked to actually, finally get pregnant that I was mentally planning our NO BABY SO WE ARE GOING TO IRELAND TRIP in my head literally as they were telling me I was pregnant, because I was so certain we would not be pregnant. I found in my husbands case that all the years of adulthood or possibly”adulthood” where he could do what he wanted pretty much whenever made parenting a huge HUGE shock for him. For me, the bigger shock was not being able to do everything. Now I always say “you don’t know what kind of parent you’ll be till you know what kind of child you have”. I cannot believe that someone as bookish and quiet as me gave birth to the loon that is my child.

    As our son gets older we remain the only one in my husband’s circle of friends that have a child. So while we all still are friendly we are not at ALL the fun people to hang out with anymore. Not really. Which is fine, but also not fine. We are still us, we just have a child with an 8 p.m. bedtime and for them to rearrange their thinking and come visit at noon and not nine o’clock is just not happening.

    Now we are miraculously and spontaneously pregnant on our own. And while elated we are both afraid because our son was a very VERY VERY unhappy baby. Nothing I can say could begin to describe how much and how inconsolably our desperately wanted baby cried. For MONTHS. He had colic and acid reflux.

    I know I alienated people with my blog. That is ok. I refused to pretend on my own blog that parenting was nonstop good times. It’s awesome, but it’s also a lot of other things. You can love and be thankful for your child while still wanting to pee by yourself or eat a hot meal or read a book and that doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a better parent.

  20. January 16, 2012

    Yes, I have these fears, too. I need lots of sleep. I don’t want my house to be trashed. Can I deal with a teenager? Lots of fears and reservations. Oh, and I get frustrated that my dog limits our ability to travel, and she’s just a dog, not a child.

    Good luck with your IVF training this week.

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