what if?

One of the toughest aspects of infertility — aside from not being able to procreate without assistance or perhaps at all, obviously — is the uncertainty. You never know where each path may lead, you never know if success is right down the road or if you’re on a detour and way off course, or headed towards a dead end. Surely if you could know that a certain path would ultimately lead to your child, you would choose it and persist. But you can’t know the future. You can’t know the outcome. You have so little control and yet you chart a course and make decisions as best as you can.

Sometimes you can’t help but wonder about the path not taken.

After struggling with infertility for nearly seven years, after questioning everything about who I was and yearning instead for who I longed to be, I finally became a mother.

Our journey was not easy, but it led us to this moment, to our life today. The path we forged — with all the detours and dead ends we encountered along the way — somehow led us to our beautiful daughter.

There are so many What Ifs. It could have gone any number of ways.

What if we had tried to conceive earlier? Would we have discovered that we needed intervention when it would have been easier to fix? Could I have avoided the surgery that forever damaged my womb and all those procedures over the next five years? What if, after I finally did become pregnant with our son and began experiencing complications, I had been admitted for closer observation? Would they have been able to hold off labor for just a few more weeks until he might have had a fighting chance? What if our son had been born and lived? Would we even have our daughter today?

So many years of heartache, so much time doubting myself and my body, so long wishing for something that was never to be. It steals your confidence, your self-esteem. You lose faith in yourself, in your capacity. It challenges your identity as a woman. It renders you powerless. It makes you feel broken. Infertility rocks you to the core.

These days, I don’t think much about the What Ifs and If Onlys anymore. I’ve come to peace with What Was and I know now there is only What Is.

What Is today is that I am now Mama to a little girl who will one day become a woman.

Somehow the forces of the universe brought us together with another young woman who, through her own circumstance also found herself in a situation she never anticipated. Of course I can ask what if we never met? But the more haunting question — the What If that for years hid deep in my heart through every trial and failure, through the struggle and The Wait, the one that could reduce me to quivering tears — fortunately has already been answered: What if I never become a Mama?

Today I’m faced with a different set of questions about parenting after infertility, specifically as mother to our daughter. Even though my heart has healed and opened wider than I ever imagined to love this little girl, these are the thoughts that linger as I ponder how I will fulfill my role throughout her life. I wonder about all those years of failure, those deep seeded feelings of doubt and insecurity, what if they all come flooding back at some point now that I am parenting a girl child?

What if I can never lead by example when I teach her about respecting and loving her body?

What if I can never truly forgive my own body for its betrayal? What kind of message would that send to my daughter?

I hope our daughter never has to experience the heartache of her mothers — i.e., facing an unplanned pregnancy or losing a long awaited child and yearning for another. I hope that, if she chooses to have babies of her own some day, she may do so with ease and grace.

What if everyone could simply have the children they want when they decide they are ready? What if everyone had the support they needed to build their families and could so without struggle or heartache?


This entry is a contribution to Project IF: Bloggers from the ALI (Adoption, Loss, Infertility) community are writing “What Ifs” for National Infertility Awareness Week, April 24 to May 1, in conjunction with Stirrup Queens and Resolve.

To add your own What If, link here. To read entries from part one, click here.


~ by luna on April 24, 2010.

10 Responses to “what if?”

  1. Wow! This post is powerful, and beautiful. I think the fact that you are already pondering these new “what ifs” is evidence that you will approach J’s womanhood with thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and insights, which are, in my opinion, key ingredients.

  2. We are at 8 years of infertility I am full of what ifs. its an awful cycle but I must say I have been much more at peace lately and it is so wonderful!

  3. “I hope our daughter never has to experience the heartache of her mothers — i.e., facing an unplanned pregnancy or losing a long awaited child and yearning for another. I hope that, if she chooses to have babies of her own some day, she may do so with ease and grace.”

    It’s as if you pulled this from my heart. Beautifully put.

  4. Very touching post Luna..your closing thoughts are so moving..

  5. This is great. Very inspriring. I hope to be where you are one day. You are definitely in a place of acceptance and peace. I’m getting there. xo

  6. This was so gorgeous, Luna. It made me a little weepy, which I also smiled. Perhaps because I’ve read so much of the journey in the last years and considered all the what ifs you went through to get to the what is.

  7. Your posts always move me, Luna, usually to tears. I wish I had answers to all those what ifs. All I can say is that I have them too.

  8. You have such an incredible gift of taking your past, present, and future and meshing them into the most beautiful of intertwined/connected thoughts…

  9. Your post is beautiful…and there is a time to move into What Is. I hope that I have the strength to do that one day. Thank you for sharing.

    Project IF

  10. […] What If? (April). Exploring the paths not taken and making peace with the past, now that I am mother to my […]

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