Stopping (and smelling the roses).

March 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Posted in FET #6: Another Chance, Infertility, My life, Mythical #2 | 14 Comments

I got a somewhat anonymous comment from a long-suffering infertile on a recent post where I talked about my want for another baby and how I wasn’t certain when to stop.

And though I disagree with the tone in which C delivered her comment, I have to admit that her message is one that I have been thinking about for a while.

Trying again for another baby has brought up a whole host of issues which, I think, were never really resolved the first time around. We do suffer from secondary infertility, but I’ve been looking at this sort of as a continuation of our primary infertility.

Except now I can’t get away from pregnant and fertile women, because I see them every day at O’s daycare.

It sucks, yes.

And though I do not think that it’s right to judge, per se, the desire of ANY woman to have a child, whether it’s one or two or seven…

… I have been lacking in the humble thankfulness lately.

O is at a tough age. He’s got more energy than I can even dream of, and he challenges us ALL THE TIME. Seriously, there isn’t a daily activity which isn’t a battle right now.

I don’t get snuggle time anymore. I get a hand and a finger and a meltdown when he can’t do something himself.

And the tantrums last forever, it seems. They’re loud and awful and long and there are days where I’d rather stick toothpicks in my eyes than do ONE MORE BATTLE. Ever.

And, you know. Because of my own emotional limitations right now, I have been short on patience.

So on this trip, I decided to really work on living in the moment. Instead of getting impatient with O when he threw yet another fit, I’d count to 10 or 20 (or 100, as I did in the airport between planes), take a deep breath, and look at it as a GOOD sort of challenge. One that makes me grow as a person.

And it’s working.

Instead of being distracted, and worried, for the past few days I have been in the moment.

I’ve seen the sheer joy on O’s face as he jumps in the (too-high) ocean waves with J.

At naptime, I’ve gotten to cuddle with O in his big boy twin bed after a story and watched him fall asleep, one hand on my face, the other on Bear.

I’ve gotten to witness my son’s sentence structure become amazingly complex. Whereas last week, if I asked if he wanted something to eat, he would have responded with a simple No?

Now he says “No thank you, Mommy. I not want any food right now.”

Being here has been a salve for me in more than one way. I’ve been so focused inward, on my pain, on the noise of infertility (again) and the heartbreak of losing my aunt and all the crap that therapy has dredged up that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to really SEE my husband and my child.


I DO think it’s possible to want another baby and NOT be selfish. To really be thankful every moment for the blessings you DO have, but also long to give this huge love a chance to grow in another human being.

That’s what I want. I don’t just want a sibling for O.

I want to take this love I feel for him, this deep, abiding, neverending love, and give it to another child. To watch the love double, triple, quintuple on itself as O AND J’s love gets folded into our family.

To cement the bonds of family love tightly around all of us, so that we’re never without it.

I want that more than anything.

And I KNOW that I’ve gotten in my own way with this TTC thing. I’ve been so focused on the fact that “oh, waaaaa, it SHOULD be EASIER!” that I haven’t REALLY seen the fact that I am blessed with a family in the here and now.

I’ve been so ANGRY at the treatments that I’ve forgotten that if it weren’t for the treatments, we wouldn’t HAVE O in the first place.

I AM very lucky.

It doesn’t mean my want for another baby is wrong. Or selfish, or whatever pain Olympic-mind-games I play with myself tell me.

(Believe me, C, my Inner Critic has said much worse about me than you did.)

But she was right, too. I DO need to remember that I am blessed with a family in the first place. In the throes of the darkest nights nearly 4 years ago, I despaired that I’d EVER be in this place.

I need to stop sometimes and smell the roses.

Thanks for that reminder, C. It’s much appreciated.



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  1. There are SO many things I want to say in response to this.

    First, I just don’t get anonymous commenters- especially negative ones. I don’t get it at all!

    but more importantly- I am not sure what it was that C wrote, but know this: It has never ever crossed my mind that you are selfish to want a second child. I have read your blog for a long time and never thought to myself, “man, she should just be happy that she at least has a child.” It doesn’t work like that-

    I’m glad you were able to take from the comment a reminder to be present- that is an ongoing daily struggle for me, especially right now. And I am always grateful when I remember to just be here today.

    But the grief of infertility is deep- and it doesn’t go away just because you have a beautiful son that you love beyond words.

  2. Oh, C…I’m so glad she didn’t comment on my blog when we were trying to have a 2nd baby. I wouldn’t have been gracious or appreciative of her trolling. Not in the slightest.

    Secondary infertility and primary infertility are the same damn thing: infertility. “I should be happy with the one I have…” was a drumbeat I heard a hundred times over. Right. Because I thought my first born son was nothing until I had a second child *eye roll*.

    I’ll admit I’m sorry that C went through 10 years of hell. After one year I was a bitter and cranky bitch, too. After four years and finally having that second child and I’m still bitter and cranky. Because I had to suffer through the misconceptions, the stereotyping, the guilt, the powerlessness, and the loss. Having a child doesn’t make that go away. It softens the blow. However a punch to the face still hurts when softened with a dish towel.

    Serenity, everything you write about a SIF is an echo of everything I felt and wrote back then. It’s gut wrenching. Having one child is no reason to give up if that’s not what you want to do. If you want another child after having five, who is to say “you should be happy with what you got”?

    • Secondary infertility and primary infertility are the same damn thing: infertility.

      Well put. That’s really sums it up. Say anything else and you are probably jumping into Pain Olympics territory.

  3. Wow, I just went back to read the comments on that post and I have to say, after what she wrote, you are being more than gracious to her and I don’t think I could have done the same in your shoes.

    I don’t see in any of your posts since you started trying for #2, any indication that you weren’t grateful for what you had. And I think you have every right to feel all the feelings that come with trying and so far not being able to have a sibling for O. Those are all valid feelings and there is no reason anyone should attack you for it.

  4. Wow. There are a lot of things I’d like to say to C. But it’s not my blog, so I will refrain, and focus on what I’d like to say to YOU.

    I don’t think any of us (other than .. her?) ever thought you weren’t grateful for O. I actually *enjoy* parenting blogs more when they start to “take it for granted” a little – it’s NICE to see people move past the constant “I must be grateful for this little miracle no matter what he does” feeling. Because there IS life after infertility, and not feeling the need to constantly express the gratitute (which never goes away, just becomes less a focus) seems like a much more “normal” place to be. Not saying it is not the same as not feeling it – and this IS a tough age, so I feel better seeing other moms be like “duuuude, love him, but … dude.”

    What I see in you, in this blog, is you working on finding your limits. Which is important, so that you don’t lose the parts of you that make you happy, your marriage, your ability to read a blog without telling people to kiss your ass, all in pursuit of one goal that may or may not ever be reachable. Knowing your limits is how you can come out of this on the other side without regrets and bitterness, no matter the outome.

  5. I have said this many times … but I’ll say it again … wanting another child doesn’t mean you’re not grateful every day for the one you have, no matter how hard-won that little life was. And living in the moment doesn’t mean that we don’t have yearnings for something more. We are human, after all. And it’s important to seek balance.

  6. You were too flipping kind to C. Her “criticism” was not constructive and was very hurtful. (I did like the reply right after her). And I am very happy that you turned her comment into something constructive–but that is all you, hon. You are just that type of wonderful person. (Me, I think I would have had my husband track her down electronically so I could spam her…) 🙂

    Glad you got time to enjoy what you have. And to hope for the future.

  7. I have to agree with the other commenters. Wanting another baby does NOT make you any less deserving of or any more selfish and it’s wrong for anyone to make you feel that way. I have a good friend who has struggled with infertility for years. She was shocked to get pregnant with her son and is now struggling through fertility treatments again. One thing she said to me was “while I thought I would be okay with one, and know I will be in the end if that’s what happens, I also now know what I will be missing if we never have another”. And it’s the truth. You have an amazing little boy so why in the world wouldn’t you want another child?? And there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.

    And on the note of “C” – anonymous posters bug the crap out of me. If you have something to say then at least have the guts to put your name to it. That’s all I’m saying.

  8. I agree, you wanting a sibling for O or another child, has nothing to do with selfishness, it’s part of your heart to want another child and to give O someone to be a brother to. That’s all. SELFISH is not a word I use when I think of you at all. C should know that, if she reads you at all.

    I just wanted to tell you that I also know about those tantrums, those complex sentences, the simple joy of watching our boys GROW and Develop. I am someone who knows exactly how you feel most days, like you just can’t win…the lack of patience and willpower. TO add wanting another baby to it, and to know without a reasonable doubt that it will take more than a wild night of Sex to accomplish that…well before someone tells you that you’re being selfish they should take into account all the struggles you are going through too. Just because you have O doesn’t mean that your heart stops longing for another baby.

    Here’s how I feel, when I was in the depths of IF, I wanted A BABY. I guess we can all agree that getting past IF with ONE LIVE, BREATHING CHILD is a victory and that child fills your heart…they mend the deep wounds, but it’s not like the scar ever goes away…it’s not like you can stop yourself from picking at it…and wondering how life would be with one more (or two more) . I think that for IF we automatically want to say to ourselves and each other that once we get ONE we have won something, we have crossed a bridge, we have moved on. The truth is that one baby (when we were dreaming of a family, or more of us) gives us the hope that we can have it, that if it worked once, we can get our bodies to cooperate again…and in that space, we want that family we see in our head. We want the chance to beat the odds again…and while the child we have is loved, cherished, a blessing to be grateful for, it doesn’t mean taht we aren’t human and we don’t want another child. It’s unfair to single us out and say “well you might not have gotten any, so getting ONE should be enough” that is beyond selfish to say that us.

    Sorry for the long answer, I just didn’t feel right about you wanting a sib for O feeling like a selfish feeling on your part.


  9. I’m glad you’re having a good time on vacation. I totally agreed with your earlier post about the impact of winter/lack of light on fitness and motivation. I am terrible at running in the winter.

    I have never thought of your situation as secondary IF. I always assumed that label was attached to those who had their first with no problems, but then ran into trouble when trying for the second (or third, or whatnot). To me, these latest rounds of treatment are just a continuation of the treatments you went through that ultimately produced O.

    And in some ways I can see how going BACK to the treatments could be even harder than coping with them in the first place. Because you know what is involved, and you know what is at stake- you have a child right there to remind you of all the joys to come if you can successfully get pregnant. And going back to treatments is a realization that getting pregnant the first time didn’t ‘fix’ the infertility, as it often seems to. There are so many cases you hear about where people struggle, and then get pregnant, and then they end up with a surprise baby because who would think they could get pregnant on their own? So there has to be an adjustment, and an acceptance that the situation hasn’t changed.

    I have never thought you were selfish. And I would think it would be a real challenge to be in the present and truly appreciative of your child if every single thing in every single day is a battle.

    You were incredibly gracious to C. Much more, I think, than I would have been.

  10. Agreeing with the others that you were far too kind to C. and that you, of all people, do not need a reminder. More than half of your posts mention gratitude.

    The thing about secondary IF is that the pressure is externalized in a way it is not for primary IF. Before my IVF cycle, I could stay at home or time my errands to avoid children. I could even avoid friends who were parents. But now you can’t hide from other parents or skip child-related events; you live in the fertile world. Sibling timing is discussed and dissected. As soon as we announced that we were having twin girls, people started asking whether we’d try for a boy. “People” includes strangers making chit-chat in the elevator as well as VERY close relatives (my own DAD) who knew exactly what had been going on just a few months previously. Then the girls were born, and people started asking WHEN we’d try for a boy. It continues.

  11. This is the definition of selfish from “devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.” I just can’t imagine applying that to a woman who wants to have a child because, by the vary nature of parentgood you are giving of yourself.

    Regardless, I have been here before…wallowing and feeling bad and in a dark place, but I have learned through this journey not to stay there too long but to redirect my emotional efforts in a more positive direction. My Attitude of Gratitude has gone a LONG way toward improving all walks of my life. I enjoy my life, hourly, daily, weekly, and am a conscious participant in my relationship with my husband, son, and friends.

    I still wish that it didn’t have to be so hard or take so long and I wish there had been another path to a sibling sooner, but, it is what it is and I have taken the focus off that thinking and placed it on what I DO have. Beyond that, my heart wants what it wants and we are endeavoring to find it.

  12. I love it when anonymous commenters s get all huffy. If you really believe what you believe-why hide behind anonymous?
    BTW-C-email me and I’ll give you my cell number-I don’t need/want to hide behind a rock to throw stones.
    Fvck C. Sorry, but you are the most grateful mom on the planet. Too much so-IMO. Why can’t you say “man, not having a second would suck!” and/or “I hate infertility treatments?” And just that? Which-BTW-you ALWAYS say how grateful you are to have O. Every time.

    It’s not the perfect analogy-but similar. So, my husband betrayed me in the most painful and horrific way. Speaking of ouch. So much so that I ended up being diagnosed with PTSD.
    Does that mean you can’t complain that your husband is a drunk? Or that he leaves his clothes out all over the place. Or that he doesn’t do crap around the house? And if you do ((GASP)) complain-vent- then does that mean that you don’t love him?
    What in heaven’s name does my husband betraying me-have to do with your’s being an ass? B/c one woman’s spouse cheated-no wife can ever complain about their husbands. WTF is all I have to say.

    C-quit projecting-it’s unbecoming and emotionally immature.

  13. […] read very few infertility blogs now. When my friend Serenity wrote about an anonymous commenter suggesting she should be happy with what she’s already got (paraphrased in regards to […]

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