Sacrifices

photo-sacrifice

“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?

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18 thoughts on “Sacrifices

  1. Oh my heart is absolutely breaking while reading this. You have hit it exactly on the head.

    People who don’t struggle, DO find it easy to say they would sacrifice anything, and it is easy to say when you don’t have to. If you need to complain about something, DO IT! You have as much right as any other human being to complain about any pain (internal or external) or inconvenience even. What you have sacrificed IS HARD! Don’t let other people make you feel like it is insignificant or that you shouldn’t complain about it.

    I hope no one has ever actually said those things about making enough sacrifices is what will make you deserving. YOU ARE DESERVING. And that is what sucks the most about this whole process, you are so deserving and you are doing everything right AND THEN SOME, and life is just so unfair. And you have every right and reason to be upset about that. Complain about it, cry about it, scream about it. It’s not fair.

    Also, I can’t believe your GP, sounds like mine was when I brought up even testing for immune issues and genetic issues, we now have switched to someone new, and I wish I had switched sooner. She is not an expert, she has no idea of all of the research and studies on immune therapy. I’m really sorry she doesn’t support you, because I think the hardest part of the journey for us was going through all of this and then being unsupported on top of it. I hope that you don’t believe her words or advice. YOU know whats right for YOU.

    It is really hard on a marriage and it does change you and takes a mental toll, but those are things that are personal and private for you and your DH to decide how to handle. Not a GP.

    Going through issues with conceiving and loss will make us better parents in the long run. 50% of babies born everyday are unplanned. The sacrifices we make to have children ensures our future children know and understand just how wanted and loved they are.

    One thing my OB said when we first met with him was “If you stop trying, there is a 100% chance you won’t have a baby. And that is all that is certain” Again, do what feels right to you, and that feeling might change, but take it a day at a time. My own opinion only: Don’t give up yet.

    You can always find support here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your kinds words of encouragement and support warm my heart! Thank you so much!
      No, none of this is fair and (for the record) I don’t believe anyone is more or less deserving, but I’m tired of hearing comments that, even though not intentionally, places blame on me, as if I’m not doing enough, or right, or maybe I’m doing too much. Ugh, it’s so hard to hear conflicting doctor opinions and having to make these decisions ourselves, I can do better with less judgment from my own family and friends (rant over!)!
      That conversation with my GP was so difficult, I left her office crying and upset, but my husband and I feel very strongly we want to continue trying for now. We’re just taking her out from any treatment discussions. I’m also considering changing to another GP, I’m not sure I can still trust her after everything she told me.
      This journey takes a huge toll on us, people not going through it don’t realize it. I do appreciate some of the changes are for the better, hopefully we learn and grow from these experiences; but I also think there’s a risk we get lost and downward spiral if we’re not careful and know our limits.
      Thank you for your advices and touching words! I’m so glad your pregnancy is progressing well, your child is so luck to have you!! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. This sounds so awful and annoying! I’m so sorry your doc isn’t more sympathetic. I did find that some people weren’t very into the immune stuff but tbh I didn’t tell my clinic I was having it so I didn’t have to deal with their disapproval. Actually I told my new doctors (as I moved areas) and didn’t have any issues. I suppose now I’m pregnant there isn’t much they can do about it!

    I absolutely know what you mean about fertile friends. I’m pregnant now but I wasn’t for 16 years whilst everyone else did it without any problems. This baby (which I can’t quite believe) came about as a result of a lot of medical treatment and struggle and loss. I always tell people if they start congratulating me because I don’t want people to think it just happened.

    I also agree about the sacrifices others don’t make. I actually haven’t really missed alcohol. I think I must have last had it ages ago, as there was a load of treatment before pregnancy. I have missed coffee a bit, but the only thing I’ve really missed is unpasteurised cheese! Not to the extent that I would eat it and risk anything. I think you are doing a great job and you totally deserve to get pregnant! I mean, who really deserves it anyway? You’re doing all you can to make it happen. You will be an awesome mum. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your support! I only told my GP about the treatments because she will be the one overseeing the pregnancy later and I really didn’t expect this reaction from her. I thought she probably wouldn’t agree to me seeing a private reproductive immunologist, but that response was way more than I needed. After that, I didn’t tell the IVF clinic. My GP told me they could refuse to treat me if they disagree with the medications I’m taking. So I decided it’s better they don’t know about it (like you, I’m having IVF through the public health system).
      I know how hard it was for you to reach this far, I’m sure you don’t take your pregnancy for granted like many of my fertile friends do. It can be difficult being around them, I know they want to be supportive but they don’t really get it!
      I’m trying my best, just hope it’s not unachievable like my GP suggested, then I’m sure it will be worth it! Hugs

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  3. Just caught up with your blog today 🙂 This post really resonated with me… All the ‘small’ little changes really do add up over time and it’s so easy to feel like you are losing yourself and that people don’t understand, I am tired of people thinking I am paranoid for avoiding gluten, sugar, alcohol, toxins from plastics even my mum who is extremely supportive doesn’t quite understand this and thinks I am being over the top and all of it is unnecessary… Let alone other ppl… What more can I say only we know how many sacrifices we are willing/ able to make to achieve our dream… Your GP as I said before sounds atrocious with zero empathy.. So sorry you had to deal with that and all the other difficulties this time… The fact you found a way to see it all through just shows how committed you are and you will definitely be a fantastic mum!! Wishing you all the best this Tuesday xxx

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  4. Really good points.

    It’s so easy to say ‘I’d do this’ until you actually have to put your money where your mouth is.

    I’ve had to give up so much as well in the pursuit of a child. My friends who don’t want kids think it’s “weird” to want a child that badly and my friends who had children easily don’t understand my struggle.

    It’s hard for others to understand.

    I’m sorry about your doctor’s attitude.

    I hope you eventually triumph and your sacrifices are worth it. *fingers crossed*

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  5. Yea I absolutely know what you mean about all the sacrifices we do for our future unborn children (we hope). I barely drink much anymore and then sometimes feel guilty if I have more than one glass of wine. And I’ve also had phases of trying to give up dairy or gluten or whatever. Not to mention not being able to go on holidays due to saving for IVF treatments or just that the timing wouldn’t work. So many people not going through it just don’t understand.

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  6. Your posts always resonate with me, I think because you’re also someone who thinks deeply about all of the ethical and cultural components of these decisions. I feel as if, in Western discourse, the attempt to become pregnant, then the pregnancy, then motherhood itself is very much predicated on self-sacrifice (even self-erasure) for women. Some women experience this social dictate more strongly than others. When I was 17 weeks pregnant, I had to make a very deliberate decision to continue the pregnancy at very great risk to my own life. I made the decision to keep the pregnancy in an instant, and not really based on any moral compass or religious conviction, just a deep love for our unborn baby, who already seemed as integral to my body as my own heart. I think it’s hard for some medical professionals to understand the depth and expanse of this love, which doesn’t magically begin at viability…and for some women begins even before the five-cell stage.

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  7. I’m late to this but just catching up after being on hols! Believe me, I understand the toll these sacrifices can take. It can look easy on paper, to other people. But going strictly gluten free and cutting out carbs, dairy and sugar definitely isn’t anywhere near easy, especially if you’re working full time as I was. I had a friend who had got pregnant after making all these changes (only for about a month, though! She clearly had fewer reproductive problems than me) and she couldn’t understand why I couldn’t stick at it; she ended up shouting at me about it. But I was at the end of my tether and it just felt like limbo; I couldn’t even give up coffee. Sometimes I feel like I didn’t make enough effort, but I know how impossible it was for me to cut these things out of my diet – I just couldn’t function. So please know that there are people who appreciate how hard it is!! You are doing really well if you cut out half the stuff. Will you do the reproductive immunology treatment protocol? It’s hard when GPs contradict the clinic, but this is common – I honestly don’t think GPs know enough about it to advise either way. It’s definitely tough deciding what to do. I would push very hard for % chances of success on the immunology cycle, if I were you, but I know it’s easier said than done. Hugs to you

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  8. We just had our second unexplained fetal death, our second daughter to pass away before being born. I relate so much to everything you are saying. A friend of my husband was visibly astonished that we are choosing to try again. He asked why we aren’t just adopting at this point. It’s such a personal decision, and I don’t judge those who would choose adoption at this point, but I still feel called to try again. Thank you for being so open and transparent.

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  9. I admire your courage to share your story and your true feelings as you go through your own journey. It isn’t easy to open yourself, your thoughts, your emotions. I enjoy reading your posts and therefore would like to nominate you for the Liebster Award. Please keep writing, sharing, and helping to bridge this community. https://storysophia.wordpress.com

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