What The Next Chaper Looks Like.

February 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments


I’m not sure if any of you even reads this blog anymore.

What happened last spring: I was heartbroken, tired of writing about heartbreak, and I had a falling out with someone over a post I had written in this space.

I felt like I couldn’t write here anymore, I felt as if I needed space. And time. And distance.

And I had another blog anyway – using my real name. It was about running and parenting and I linked it to Bacefook and thought maybe I’d try my hand at writing as the REAL me.

I’m not sure if it’s surprising to any of you, but I have a really hard time writing there. Mostly because I use my writing as a way to work things/issues/problems out.

And in that space, when I’m writing something, I have this question I can’t shake. Who cares?

Really, who cares?

SO many people post to Bacefook about their plans and hopes and dreams, only to have people “like” and move on. There are so many voices out there, all yelling to be heard.

What then, is the point, of putting my point of view out there?

And over the past year or so, I’ve had people comment here, wondering how things were for me, wondering about our leftover embryos, wondering how me, Charlie, and Lucky were doing.

So last fall I ran another marathon. I had an amazing training cycle, nothing hurt, it was wonderful and amazing. And on race day, I finished with a 45 minute personal best. Our dog, Happy, is growing, and aside from the times he’s a complete butthole, is turning into a wonderful, stinky, goofy, happy dog. Lucky started kindergarten, is learning how to read, and incessantly tells us stories about the amazing things that Bear can do.

And we used up the remaining three embryos we had left in two separate cycles. Both cycles were BFNs.

In fact, I got the last BFN this very morning; at 14dpo, after a night of insomnia where I just kind of KNEW. So this morning I made it official: I photographed the snowy white HPT, and threw away all my meds.

We have reached the very End of Family Building. We are done. There are no more embryos. There will be no more treatments, no what-ifs.

In a lot of respects, the end of treatments is a relief. This last cycle, in particular, was a pain in the ass. It was delayed by nearly two weeks because my uterine lining wasn’t thick enough to meet the clinic’s minimum criteria. And my clinic had a flood, which meant that they weren’t doing transfers and retrievals at New Clinic – instead they leased space at Old Clinic. We ended up back at our old clinic for our last transfer. In fact, we had a bit of a run in with our old doctor, Dr. Hang-In-There, on the day of transfer.

Full fucking circle, indeed.

I’m not surprised it didn’t work. I’m not even heartbroken. There was no more heart to break, no real hope left for us, not really.

And I’ll admit it: I have spent  much of the past number of months feeling alone. I am one of the few bloggers left who was able to have one child through treatments, but not have any others. It’s an in-between kind of hell, honestly – when you have a child, you can’t escape other families, all of whom seem to have multiple children, very easily. You are forced to confront lots of pregnant bellies at daycare, at school, at playdates. There are always questions, Is he your only? or How many kids do you have? 

And there are people in the grocery store who have actually said to Charlie, when seeing how good he is with Lucky, You are a great dad, and you need to have more kids.

Seriously, people? SERIOUSLY?

So to cope, I’ve been searching out people in my real life who have older kids and have announced that they are done with family building so I’m not taken by surprise when they are pregnant again. I have actually sought out people with one child, usually older, and have asked them how they feel about having an only child, in order to suss out whether or not they want to have more. It’s been kind of ridiculous.

But what I’ve discovered over the past few months, too?

The more I talk with women who HAVE completed their families, the more I’m starting to see that I am NOT alone. My grief over the End of Family Building is shared by so many other women – even the ones who have completed their families. I talk with so many women who STILL, even now, look at babies and sigh in longing, remembering what it was like to have a little person so completely helpless and dependent on you.

It’s intimacy on the most pure level, those first few months with your baby.

And it makes sense that all women would feel strongly about letting that go; regardless of whether or not they feel like their family is complete.

The more I’ve talked with women, and discovered they feel similarly to me, the less alone I feel.

The less alone I feel, the more peace I feel about The End of Family Building.

Because instead of seeing it as a choice I was forced into making, I can see it as the natural progress of being female. At one point or another, we ALL come to the point of the End of Family Building, and we are forced to start a new chapter in our lives.

I feel like maybe by focusing on what I DO have – an amazing almost 6 year old, a good man as a husband, a loving dog, a career that affords us financial security and opportunity – that the next chapter will be full enough that I won’t feel as if we are missing something.

So that’s where I am, right now. And though I can’t promise anything, I think I’d like to use this space again for working things out, particularly as it relates to this new chapter. Because I am left with so many questions, after nearly 9 years of trying to complete our family.

Who am I? What will this life – the one I have right now – look like? What do I need to do to find lasting contentment in what I have, and how can I make our life as full as possible?

I hope you all are well.




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  1. I’ve been privileged to read you in your other space, but it’s good to see you here. I am in the same spot you are w/ an older child & very, very likely no siblings. I think this is our year to make the decision one way or another. Hugs and know that you have at least one other person in the blogosphere traveling the same path.

  2. Hi. You are not alone. I am one of those dreaded non-commenters, but I could not let this post stand without telling you that I have a 5.5 year old son conceived on fresh IVF #7, and I do not have any others, nor will I have any others, ever. And many days I feel like the only person in the entire world in my shoes. I still read your blog – in fact, it is actually the only IF-related and parenting-related blog that truly resonates with me, because, like you said, we are in this sort of in-between place. No longer in the IF world, yet still not really, truly, accepted into the parenting world, since we “only” have one. You are so not alone.

  3. Oh S. I am so sorry the last two cycles didn’t work our. That makes my heart so heavy. Life is so ducking unfair.

    I can only imagine what it’s like to be processing what it means to move on without ending up with the family you dreamed of. I started getting to the place of that acceptance, but I wasn’t forced to stare it in the face, not really. I only experienced it in waves, and let me tell you they were cold and strong and made me shriek and took my breath away. I can’t even imagine having to wade into that rough water until I was finally submerged. It must be incredibly hard.

    But I do agree with you that all–or maybe just a lot–of women still feel that longing even if their family does feel complete. I deal with it every day. Of course I have the gratitude of being able to experience it all again with my second child to soften the blow but every moment with him is bittersweet. That isn’t to say that I take it for granted because ultimately I am just so, so grateful. But it’s more complicated than that, as I’m sure you know. I hope that knowing other people, even women who have completed their families (or got much closer to completely them than they dreamed they would) still feel that ache for a new baby, makes you feel less alone.

    I for one am really happy that you plan to write here again. I know how hard writing under your real name can be (I’m about to take down my self-hosted blog because I NEVER write there). I hope that this space affords you the opportunity to work through these hard questions. I know we’ll he here to support you.

  4. Serenity, my heart just sank when I read about this being your last cycle, and bfn. What a shitty thing for the universe to throw at you. I’m glad you wrote about it here, if it helps at all. You’re one of the first bloggers I ever started following (in 2007, I think) and it means a lot to me to continue hearing about your life, even when I don’t comment. big hugs.

  5. I have been sitting here a long time with this post, staring out the window, wondering what to say. There is so much here, each part deserving of its own comment. I hesitate posting since I am one of the ones who, by the grace of the universe, managed, by hook and by crook, to have a long-wanted/desperately sought after 2nd child.

    What resonates so strongly with me, is the divide between how we envision our lives unfolding and the reality in which it actually unfolds. I have never been one to keep up with the Joneses, but of course I notice how easily things come to some other people, while many others struggle so, and yet others are faced with even far worse challenges in the form of the potential loss of their own lives (a friend that I know from my first on-line support groups for fibroids and who I shared a dual struggle with infertility with confided in my yesterday that in just the last two weeks she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. She is younger than me with two young sons). This came on the heels of other news of a different sort where a woman that I know who also has two young sons is in the Ukraine working hard to bring an older, adopted daughter home. Oh, how I wished it were me and boy didn’t I let the fantasy run far enough down the road that I actually broached the subject with my husband. It will never be our reality.

    We each have but one life (something I repeatedly come back to as I search for who I will be in my next chapter) and our sole charge is to live it to the best of our ability. And, that sometimes means letting go of one idea to make room for another.

    So, that is where you are for your reasons and I am here, too, for mine, and my friends are here, too, for theirs and yet we are all trying and striving to make sense of how our lives have unfolded so as to mindfully attend to their continued unfolding.

    What I wish for you as you continue on your journey is peace of mind and heart. It is, perhaps, the greatest gift we can give ourselves. And, as I know all too well, you can’t hold on and let go at the same time.

    Happy to see you here, again, friend, and grateful to be allowed along for the ride.

    • I love this whole comment but especially this “And, that sometimes means letting go of one idea to make room for another.” so so true.

  6. Glad to see you back but sad to read about the BFN’s. It’s a hard place to be (where you are right now) and I’m not sure it’s one we ever truly get comfortable with. Your little family mirrors mine and while there are days I wish MG had a sibling, there are many times when I am glad she’s an only. I think it’s ok to feel wistful sometimes. It doesn’t mean you are unhappy with your life or your child, it’s just hard not to think of the “what if’s”, whether it’s IF related or not.

  7. A blogger I love sent me this link today. And I immediately thought of you. And that is what this community is about, why it’s so important, perhaps why you came back to this space.


  8. Seren, this is my third – and we’ve decided, final – pregnancy. And yet I’ve said repeatedly – my heart wants more, even if my body and my wallet disagree. It will be a long time before I stop wondering what our life would have been like if we had been able to start our family on our original timeline instead of taking years to finally get pg.

  9. And this is why I never seem to get around to deleting blogs that have gone quiet from my feedly.

    I am so glad to hear from you. I know I read you over in your other space, but I have missed your voice so much.

    I have wanted to email you for ages now. I was wondering about your embryos (I am so sorry about the BFNs, and the fact that you went through the cycles without any online/blog support), about your career, about whether you were still thinking about making the changes you were considering. About how you were.

    But then the IVF in December swamped everything (including Christmas cards, although I did so much appreciate receiving yours), and then in January I felt awkward about emailing because I didn’t want you to think that I’d suddenly popped out of the woodwork to show off that I was pregnant (which, of course, I’m not anymore, and I appreciate so very much your comments/support on my blog this past week).

    All that to say, I have missed you so much, I can understand why writing under your new space would be hard, and I am so so so glad to hear that we might hear more from you.

    I don’t know where we will end up in terms of 2.0. Deep in my heart I believe that this lost baby was our only real chance. I find myself more and more circling around the potential reality that you are now living (your description of it as an ‘in between kind of hell’ strikes me as particularly apt), and even just considering it guts me. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to KNOW that it is your reality, not just a strong possibility. I am glad you have found a way to feel less alone.


  10. WOW. I was so happy to see a post from you! I have missed reading you. We have emailed a few times over the years but I have truly missed your writing. Glad you are back. I am so sorry for the cycles…

  11. I am sorry for your recent BFNs. But I am glad you have been able to connect with others so that you don’t feel so alone with having your family completed. I truly believe that had I been able to have a second child, or even a third or a fourth, whenever my family building years ended I still would have felt a loss. Yet, not being able to finish family building on MY terms stays with me. It’s been two years since our last BFN and my brother and best friend both recently had their second babies (both had fertility issues). And although it was nowhere near as difficult to hear their news and hold their babies as it was before my son was born, there was still a tug and longing in my heart and a quiet “why not me too?”

    I love hearing your voice again here. I’ve missed you.

  12. Welcome back! Even though I was reading the other blog and saw your updates on FB, I have missed you.

    I pretty much never delete inactive blogs from my reader anymore, because you just never know.

  13. I’m so happy to see a post here. But so sad to hear about the BFN. A lot of this resonates with me: how hard it is to write in a public space (As an employed person I now have a lot of Rules and Guidelines my blog is now subject to so I write, well, never), how the longing for more children is still present but mostly that you are not alone in any of these feelings.


  14. This is Deanna’s friend, Jen. I am here to say you are not alone. It’s been 3 years (I think) since we stopped TTC officially and I have a 6 1/2. MOST of the time, I am A-OK but of course I have my moments of bitterness, sadness and regret. For some reason, it just wasn’t meant to be for me and I have to be happy and grateful for what I do have. Luckily, he seems like the type of guy who will thrive on being my little prince and will be just fine as an “only”. I refuse to let anyone make me feel like I’m not in the “parenting club” though because you and I are mothers just like those with 2, 3 or 6 children. I don’t take it for granted and I love being a mom. I’m sorry you are in this spot too but I’m glad you have your little guy to love and snuggle.

  15. While I’m sad about the negative, I have to say that I love the end of this post. Love it.

  16. […] this week I learned I’m not alone. And then, in case I didn’t believe it to be true, I learned it again. This ache that I feel, […]

  17. Despite the negative you are actually quite peaceful about it, and I admire that. I also have one child but I am not yet done trying for my second even though I will be 40 next month. Yikes.

  18. Hi!

    I read Stirrup-Queens and came over through the Round-Up. This post means so much to me as it is perfect for my life. My daughter was diagnosed with Epilepsy right when we were thinking about starting to have another child and it was genetic so then my husband didn’t want to try for another.So overnight we became forever a family of 3.

    For the last 4 years, I have felt the very way you describe and could never put it into words. My family of 3 seemed “wrong.” Slowly, I have come to appreciate it and now my friends see us as the couple with the only child. I am trying to embrace the perks that a smaller family can offer myself and my daughter.

    I just wanted to say that I understand you and am thankful for your words.
    Emily McCormick

  19. Have been following your other blog and now back to this. I’m so sorry about the recent disappointments. I’m another that hesitates to comment, because I am so so lucky…and yet I still feel our family is incomplete. I guess the number of kids doesn’t matter, its how the reality matches the expectation (or doesn’t) that causes the grief. I’m glad you are feeling some degree of peace, and looking forward to following your journey.

  20. Oh. That is so true. We do all have an end to the building and I suppose lots if women would like one more if they could. Thank you for writing that, you’ve given me a new window on my lot.
    (Over from Mel).

  21. It’s easy for a woman who never had kids to put you in the group of moms. Yet, I can see how you’d feel excluded from that group, not wanting to constantly deal with new babies and siblings. I wish you peace, now that you’re letting the door close.

  22. I am another blogger who went silent, although much longer ago, and part of the reason that I did was that I didn’t know how to express my feelings about being stuck in that in-between place. I have a six-year-old through IVF (cycle #2, out of 4), and have never manged a #2. We are mostly happy and sometimes sad. I had honestly never thought clearly about the fact that all women go through the end of babydom at some point, although on some level it’s obvious, so thank you for bringing that thought into my mind. We are still in limbo, since we’ve decided for one last try (with someone else’s eggs, since I’m geriatric at this point), but what you wrote really resonated with me. It’s a strange place that we’re in, but we’re not alone. I really admire the strength that you’re showing in admitting that you’re done. We were almost there, and may still be there one day soon, and I appreciate your showing me the way.

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