“What would you be willing to do for your children’s life?” I’m sure any loving parent won’t hesitate to answer “anything”.
Yet very few will ever need to act on those words. Very few will know the true meaning of sacrifice. Most take it for granted. They expect sacrifices to be as easy as it is to pronounce them.
Even though others may not easily recognise any significant sacrifices from my part, in this pursuit of a healthy pregnancy that can give me a living child, I’m constantly making small concessions and lifestyle changes that feel more and more like tiny sacrifices each time. They seem small. They seem insignificant. They seem easy. But they add up.
I’ve attempted to reduce the use of toxic products in my home. This encompasses replacing from traditional cleaning products to all plastic kitchen items and non-sticky pans, as well as substituting all hygiene and makeup products by natural alternatives. We’re also doing our best in buying only organic, free range produce, eating strictly gluten free, low carb and almost no dairy or sugar. And I haven’t drank more then the (very) occasional glass of wine for several years now.
I’ve also started meditating regularly, seeing a therapist, doing weekly acupuncture sessions and, since the last miscarriage, running a few times every week. And the supplements, so many supplements…
To any loving mother that’s really a very small price to pay for the health of their children.
My ‘fertile’ friends don’t think twice before stating they would do all this and more if they’re in my shoes. ‘Anything’ to guarantee a good outcome. Such words come easily out of their mouths when they are not the ones needing to do any of it. When they fall and stay pregnant as effortlessly as they make these assumptions.
Ironically though, they complain about how excruciatingly difficult it is to go through 9 full months without drinking. And potentially up to 15 months, if breastfeeding. I heard so many complains I’m sure it’s a struggle for them.
But I’m never allowed to struggle or complain. No, that’s not what’s expected from a loving mother. A loving mother will go to great lengths to ensure her children’s health without uttering one little word of discomfort.
All while watching the same friends stuff themselves with delicious cakes and snacks. Because, well, they would surely do what is needed if they were in my shoes. Only they are not.
Often their supportive words feel instead like judgement. If I truly am as loving, caring and selfless as a mother ought to be, I’ll do all this and more. And then I’ll finally get a child, because I’ll deserve it. So it’s not much a matter of sacrifice as it is one of bargaining. What else do I need to do to prove I am deserving enough? And who gets to decide that?
Even though I’m clearly ranting, these small lifestyle changes don’t bother me for the most of time. I chose to do all this in an attempt to care for myself and my health. Most of the days I don’t mind or actually enjoy these choices. I wouldn’t go back to all the chemicals and sugary food anymore either way. These are not true sacrifices.
Every new treatment and drug I try I worry about long term effects on my own health. I take this seriously and consider the potential side effects now and for years to come. Surely stimulating one’s ovaries to mature dozens of eggs instead of the usual lone one can’t be without consequences. Having our embryo grow outside the womb and stay frozen for years can’t be without some effect. Taking all these immune modulating drugs to force my body into another state can’t be ‘for free’.
Although I realize this, I’m not overly worried about it as enough studies shows the risks are low. All we can do is hope we fall on the good side of the odds (for a change).
The sacrifices that keep me up in the night are these: how much of my sanity is being compromised by this pursuit? How much is my marriage suffering? Our financial stability? My career? All the things that used to make me, me?
If I continue to slowly sacrifice small pieces of myself, my soul, who will be there, on the other side, when this is finally over? Will I recognize myself? Will I recognize my marriage? Will it really be all worth it? For how long can I keep this up before there’s nothing left to sacrifice?
Certainly a nerve struck when, some weeks ago, my GP told me I should give up and look into adoption before my whole life is destroyed by an unachievable dream.
Again, easy words to speak when one has pictures of 3 beautiful healthy children by the window.
She came to this unwelcomed ‘advice’ when I was asking her for help and support during my new immune treatment and FET. Not only did she refuse to help, but she thought I was dangerously risking my health. Though she admitted not being an expert on the matter, that being the very reason she refused to help.
Most of the doctors I’ve encountered who are against immune treatments will use the same argument: I’m endangering my health. It’s much safer to just try again, they say. I might get lucky, eventually.
Such advice always makes me wonder why they are so protective of my life but not of my unborn children. Assuming their lives could be saved by these drugs, asking me to try again without any medication or treatment isn’t the same as asking me to sacrifice their lives? Why are they so reticent to sacrificing my life but not theirs? Are their lives worthless or less valuable than mine?
And why should I sacrifice them for myself? Isn’t a mother supposed to put her children first?
Had I a terminally ill young son or daughter fighting for his/her life in a hospital, no one would question me for sacrificing whatever is necessary to save her/him. Not my marriage. Not my career. Not my own mental health. Certainly not my finances.
How is that different from fighting for the life of my unborn children?