Lately I've been thinking a lot about past conversations and declarations. For as long as I can remember, I have told everyone I can remember that I wanted to adopt children. Even as a small child, I would proudly proclaim that I just knew that adoption was part of my life plan. As a teenager and college student, I maintained my passion for adoption. I remember saying on multiple occasions that I wasn't sure if I would be able to have children, and that maybe that was why God has placed adoption so strongly on my heart. I even said that if I couldn't have children I didn't think it would be as hard for me as it might be for other women.
When I began dating A, we talked of our desire for a family and both said we wanted at least three kids. About a year after our marriage, though, I remember telling him one day that I was no longer sure I wanted children. I had met several female attorneys who chose to live childlessly, and I was mesmerized by the apparent glamour of their lives.
A year later I was diagnosed with endometriosis and learned for the first time that I might, in reality, have trouble conceiving. My heart was crushed. Even though I knew we weren't yet ready to parent, I felt broken. Through that diagnosis, I realized how deeply I desired not just to have a family, but to actually conceive and bear a little piece of myself and A. I realized that being a mother was the greatest success I could ever achieve. Facing the potential that conceiving would be difficult for us, I hated that I had so flippantly declared that I might not want children and that if I couldn't have them I would be able to cope with it well. Maybe I had somehow talked God into giving me fertility problems....maybe I had brought this on myself with my words and thoughts.
Since our first loss, and continuing through the next two, I haven't let myself dwell on this regret. If I'm honest, however, I know that it's been lurking under the surface the last year, festering and feeding into my self blame. I often wonder if there was anything I could have done to save the three little lives we lost this year. I wonder if I'm doing something wrong...eating the wrong things, drinking the wrong things, exercising too much or too little. Even with this IVF cycle, I worry that I will somehow "mess up" and cause the whole thing to fail.
So my resolution for this year is to let go. I am not good at letting go...I have always achieved everything I have tried, so releasing control is not an area in which I'm comfortable. But I have to stop blaming myself. It's hard to even admit that I blame myself...if I don't admit it, I don't have to try to stop doing it. But if I ever carry a baby to term, it will not be because of something I did. If I continue to be unable to have a baby, it will not be because of something I did. Letting go will be a process for me, and I'm sure there will be relapses. It is a process I know I must begin, though, and a new year seems like a good time to start.