You grow up mostly assuming without question that your body will do what it’s supposed to do when you call upon it to perform, right? Then, one day, many people find out that this is not the case when it comes to conceiving a child.
It seems that many, many people do it so effortlessly, even when they don’t want to, and even when they should not be parents. And yet for some people it is the ultimate quest, and feels like the ultimate failure.
What to do?
Obviously, you can choose to move on as a couple or individual without children. You can investigate and possibly pursue infertility treatment. It may work and you will need to look no further. Or, you can enter the realm of adoption. You can be a foster parent, or volunteer to work with children.
But first, for many people, you can allow yourself to grieve the loss of the dream of becoming pregnant with a child that is biologically yours, and of giving birth to that baby.
This grief is so often difficult to share. It feels embarrassing and even shameful. It may feel like it calls into question your femininity or masculinity. It is an isolating experience, and yet virtual strangers feel entitled to ask you “when are you going to start a family?’ or “you should have a baby, you know, you’re not getting any younger!”.
Grief can be buried in the roller coaster of emotion that accompanies infertility treatment; sex on a schedule, invasive tests, drug treatment, procedures and even surgeries.
If a couple decides to investigate and pursue adoption, how to do that? Is it safe? How long will it take? What will it cost? What if the birthparents want to take the baby back? Lots of media stories and myths are cited by friends and family. They don’t often tell you about the success stories.
It’s all very scary and depressing, and can feel incredibly overwhelming.
Whether you decide to accept that you will not have children, to pursue infertility treatment, or to become an adoptive parent, rest assured that good counseling with a therapist who is qualified and experienced in dealing with these issues can provide support and help to smooth the path. In counseling you will be assisted to explore your thoughts and feelings regarding these options, and you will come to understand where your conflicts lie and what paths you really want to take.
And you will move forward.