To Try (Again) or Not to Try (Again)?

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

So said Yoda.

But Yoda clearly never went through infertility treatment. Which is about trying as hard as you possibly can to get something you desperately want, but so often ends in nothing but heartache. “Trying” in a very different sense. You can’t always just “do” baby-making. And sadly, we don’t have the force. We can’t be sure of an outcome and all we can do is try everything that medical science has made available to us to create another life. Another child, to nuture and then set free in the world.

When our last round of IVF ended the way it did, through all the pain and hurt, there was just no space to consider that I might do it all again. I literally couldn’t contemplate it. At that time, the idea of going through the whole process, only to experience the same crushing outcome was so unthinkable that I simply did not think about it. We didn’t talk about it. It seemed a given that we were done.

Denial can, occasionally, be a useful, protective state, that gives you some time and space until you are able to process things properly.

As the immediate sadness wore off a little, to be replaced by a numbness and the first semblance of something approaching acceptance, I allowed the question of trying again to rise to the surface. But instantly, my thoughts turned to the practicalities. The fact that we may not be able to get any more sperm. That there is probably nothing specific we can do to guard against a repeat of the same experience.

It seemed simpler not to open up my heart to the possibility of more disappointment and pain. So if you’d asked me then, I would most definitely have said that we weren’t doing it again. As a couple, we talked about it. Ian, who really wants another child but doesn’t feel quite the same fierce emotional pull towards repeat parenthood that I do, was willing to accept what I wanted to do. But he clearly wasn’t convinced that I’d truly made the final decision.

He probably knows me better than I know myself.

Meanwhile, however, I was taking steps along the road of accepting what we have – and how very much we do have – and planning our future as a family of three.

When a friend asked me if were thinking of going through it again, I was forcefully adamant. And they were full of understanding and respect for my decision. But they also mentioned the money.

And of all the things it wasn’t about, money was right there at the top. Although I can’t deny that the financial implications are significant, it really isn’t about the money. You can’t put a price on children. And nor can you put a price on chance, opportunity or hope. And when I started to think about hope, something inside me began to change.

Because those first tentative steps along our new road had unveiled a tremendous disappointment that, whilst I obviously knew existed, I hadn’t truly allowed myself to feel, or to consider too deeply during the time that I was full of hope it would not come to pass.

In a matter of moments, it hit me like a ton of bricks that not doing IVF again meant abandoning all hope of a different outcome. I was sealing my own destiny. And facing that realisation, and actually trying to accept it, turned out to be almost as painful as losing the pregnancy that resulted from our previous efforts. Far from protecting myself from pain by not considering trying again, I could be plunging myself headlong in to it.

All of a sudden, it seems that whichever way I turn lies heartache and sadness. Could another IVF failure, or another miscarriage, realistically make me feel much more terrible than this one has? Or much more terrible than knowing for sure that there will be no more children? If we try again, aren’t we buying ourselves another round of hope? Another chance that it might all turn out differently?

Looked at that way, it just seems as though not trying again seals me in to my current state and leaves me forever vulnerable to wondering “what if?”

I need to decide whether to place hope above heartbreak, and give it a try. Or accept what some may see as the inevitable, and accept it right now, rather than months, and another round of treatment, down the line. Both could end in the pits of depression. Only one offers the possibility of something else.

“No chance” vs “small chance”.

Isn’t it a no-brainer?

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6 Replies to “To Try (Again) or Not to Try (Again)?”

  1. I am thanks. No news. We recently got engaged and are in the process of buying a house so it’s with a heavy heart we have decided to put off TTC until we get married. I’m currently feeling mixed emotions about it. I know in my head it makes the most sense but I feel sad that we aren’t following the plan I always felt I’d take and Emily is unlikely to have a sibling for another few years. Then there is the what if. What if I hadn’t miscarried but you could go on like that forever. Anyway, enough about me. I hope you’re well. xx

    1. Congratulations on your engagement! And the house! I can imagine that was a tough decision and I think it’s totally understandable to have mixed feelings and to wonder “what if” – that’s natural human nature. I really hope everything works out for you, even if it’s not exactly how you imagined. Enjoy this new phase in your life, and enjoy Emily! xx

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