Prolonged Fertility Issue Question: “Do I Still Want to Be a Parent at This Point in My Life?”

If your fertility journey has gone on much longer than you expected, there may be some part of you, however small, that is wondering whether parenthood isn’t the “right” path for you after all.

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As a way of coping with the grief inherent in a difficult fertility journey, you may have started opening up to other potential futures. In fact, you may even be wondering if you truly wanted to have children in the first place.

The fertility journey can be exhausting and demoralizing.

Sometimes, it can take you to a different destination than you had originally planned. It’s only natural to pause and ask yourself if it’s time to press on or not.

Let’s consider a few reasons why you may start questioning your decision to try for a baby and what conclusions you may derive from pondering these issues.

Your Age

If you have spent several years trying to conceive, and you know that your chances of success for certain routes to pregnancy are actually declining because of your age, you may be doubtful that it’s physically possible for you to get pregnant anymore.

You may be concerned that the odds are too slim or that spending money on fertility treatments wouldn’t be worth it at this point. Or, perhaps you envisioned yourself becoming a parent at a younger age. Now that you’re older, you’re not sure that the new vision is something you are capable of or even desire.

Denial

You might genuinely be coming around to the idea of foregoing parenthood, but your sudden change of heart could also be denial. Perhaps you’re telling yourself that you don’t really want children solely to avoid the emotional pain of accepting that it may never happen in the way you imagined.

If you suspect that this might be the case, reaching out to a fertility counselor may be a good idea. A therapist can help you work through these complicated feelings and assist you in deciding whether or not you actually do want to continue on this path.

Embracing the Child-Free Lifestyle

In the midst of trying to conceive, you may have started having second thoughts about the responsibility of becoming a parent. Maybe you realized that you truly cherish those lazy Sunday mornings when you get to sleep in and spend the day relaxing. Or, perhaps, you’ve been taking advantage of your extra free time and money to travel more often, and you know that you would dread giving it up.

If you’ve been enjoying your life without children more than you expected, you may have to work through whether that child-free life still feels worth giving up or whether you are genuinely moving towards a very different vision.

Considering Alternative Paths to Parenthood

Having your own biological children isn’t the only way to become a parent. During your fertility journey, you may have started considering donor gametes, surrogacy or adoption as options.

If you are dead set on becoming a parent but have had to accept that you probably won’t have or carry your own children, it’s worth looking into the alternatives. These paths aren’t necessarily easy, but can be the right choice for many families.

Leaving It Up to Fate

Maybe you’re not quite ready to throw in the towel, but you don’t want to keep expending so much time, effort, and money on trying to conceive. Perhaps you’ve decided that there will be no more treatments or supplements. No more visits to naturopaths or fertility specialists. No more tests and no more doctor’s appointments.

It’s okay if you decide to simply let the chips fall where they may. Surrendering that control might feel like a relief. Going forward, even for a short period of time, with the mindset “If it happens, it happens” can bring a feeling of peace when there is ambivalence about next steps.

If your fertility journey has taken a different path than you imagined, you may want some help sorting through how you really feel about where you go from here. Fertility counseling can help.