For those of us who’ve battled infertility, the journey to grow your family is an emotional roller coaster that stays with you forever. For me, it was a process with many different trial-and-error solutions. At one of my infertility tests, my doctor peered at me over the tops of his glasses and said, “Nicole, you have less than one half of a one percent chance of having a biological child.”
My husband and I still tried IVF (a complete failure!) until we decided to go an alternate route by using an egg donor. Through that process, we had two amazing children.
I quickly learned that having a baby did not cure infertility and that being a parent after going through infertility made various aspects of parenting very different. I experienced a lack of information, understanding and support. From those experiences, I hatched the idea of Beyond Infertility (www.BeyondInfertility.com), an online magazine with expert contributors and a private forum to give those expecting or parenting after infertility a world of understanding and support about their journey.
For example, there are three big things no one told me about the post-infertility world:
1. The guilt you feel when you are exhausted or frustrated with your child.
Every parent feels complete exhaustion or extreme frustration with their child at times. I found myself experiencing guilt every time I had these completely normal feelings because of all the trials I went through to have my children.
2. Difficulty in your various relationships.
I had trouble figuring out how to communicate with my infertile friends after having my children because they were still struggling to have theirs and didn’t really want to hear about my “success.” Likewise, I had issues connecting with “regular” parents since my infertility ghost was influencing my parenting decisions. Then there were the roadblocks with my family, trying to get them to understand how we were presenting our children’s story to them so that they would hear a consistent message.
3. The comfort that you love your non-biological child the same way a biological mother loves hers.
One of my biggest fears about having children via donor egg was that I would not love them the same way if they were not biologically mine. I’m so embarrassed to even say that now, but it was true at the time. As a parent after infertility, I now know that is absolutely not the case. There is no possible way I could love my children any more than I do now. Through good and bad, they are such a gift that makes the entire infertility journey worth it.
My goal with Beyond Infertility (www.BeyondInfertility.com) is to ensure that no one else feels as lost as I did. I want every parent after infertility to have that safe place they can go to and find all the answers and support they need.