I'm not very sure where I go from here, both in terms of this blog and in terms of my "recurrent miscarrier/subfertile" self.
I'm getting on with life and the initial grief over the last cycle not working has passed. That said, now that the journey is over - at least in terms of new treatments and new babies - I am becoming aware of what it has left behind.
I have an amazing son and I love him with all my heart. I love him in exactly the way I expected to love my child way back at the start of this journey, when I thought that I would have a child that was genetically mine in the old-fashioned way (involving my husband, a bed and myself, all in one room - not it different cities). I do not feel any grief over the fact that he did not result from my eggs - thankfully, I discovered that was a part of parenthood I didn't require. But I do feel grief about what a very long time it took us to get here, about the fact that I am an "older" parent when I was not planning it that way, about the losses along the way (although I do not feel those as the loss of children - personally, they were very early and I view them as the loss of pregnancies and possibilities) and about the other losses we suffered while pursuing parenthood (career progression, romance & intimacy, money, self-worth, friends, confidence in my body - the list goes on).
I think I'm a better person after all this - I am definitely stronger, I empathise more with others in their difficulties in life, I am less self-obsessed (though look at me, starting every paragraph with "I"). I also maintain that even if we hadn't had a child, I would be OK - not brilliant, but OK - and I am OK with one child.
I do get angry sometimes, though, when there seems to be an expectation that I will be more grateful for my very hard-won singleton than my friends should be with their easily achieved 2.4 kids. After all, I nearly had no children - so I must be very happy to have one. It's true that I do feel lucky to have him and grateful beyond words that I had the money and other resources to pursue treatment and to be living in a time when treatments are possible. I feel immensely grateful when I think of myself as part of the IF/Loss community - without entering the pain Olympics, I think we went through a lot, but I know that there are people out there dealing with worse and not getting the result we got - how could I possibly not acknowledge my luck here. But when those around me in real life, say things like "You must be so happy that it all worked out for you?!" or "You are very lucky to have him." when referring to my son, I feel angry. Because 7 years of trying, 6 losses, countless failed treatments, embarrassing procedures, tests and questions, the discovery of several chronic conditions along the way and a failed attempt to have a sibling doesn't strike me as very lucky. Lucky would be planning a child, trying for a couple of months, getting pregnant and having a baby, followed by something similar a couple of years later if you wanted more than one!
When reading other people's blogs, I find myself reading about women who are going through such a similar journey to mine (including a couple recently from the UK who have clearly been visiting the same clinics and specialists that I did) and I hear/see them saying the same things I did. I want to rescue them - I want to tell them not to get sucked in to treatments that cost huge amounts of money and are not backed up by good research. I want to tell them not to see donor eggs as a last resort. But that's not my job or my business - I had to go through that process and I would probably not have appreciated someone telling me I was on the wrong track (even someone who'd been there before). I am helping out as often as I can at our SANDS group for those with IF (sadly most have also had a miscarriage or a stillbirth as well - please tell me there's research that's trying to join those dots because it doesn't seem like a coincidence to me).
Anyway, here I am, not quite sure where to go.
We need new words for new kinds of relatedness
11 hours ago