This is a tricky one. A very personal one. One, which needs you to dig deep and accept the past. To some extent, I think this is the hardest part of the whole process. The realisation that as a woman you cannot carry a child is a lot to come to terms with. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t become a mum, I couldn’t make my husband a dad. This burden stayed with me for a very long time.
Often the man’s feelings are brushed over. The focus seems to lie firmly on the woman. How she is coping with it all. Poor her. She can’t have a baby. What about him? He suffered just as much as I did, just in different ways. Less obvious ways. He stayed the strong one doing all he could to hold me together. I felt like there was nowhere to hide when that was all I wanted to do. Close the front door and never leave.
When did I know the time was right? Well personally, the point came when I just couldn’t take any more – emotionally and physically. We’d endured years of IVF and my body was telling me no more drugs, no more injections, no more endless and constant side effects, no more heartache with every loss. It hit me that I wanted a family, not a pregnancy.
We’d always considered the prospect of adoption, especially after each fertility treatment, but for a long time I found myself saying “let’s just try one more cycle”. We did masses of research and tried all sorts of different treatment options, until finally we could say “enough is enough”. After our last treatment, when we’d tried all possible alternatives (within our financial constraints) with no success, it was time to move on. IVF does work for many hopeful parents-to-be. Just not for us.
For some people, the acceptance to move on comes much sooner and actually there are some wonderful people that choose to adopt as their first step to becoming parents. For others, they simply cannot afford another treatment. If you are lucky enough to qualify for NHS funded treatments, the waiting lists are often very lengthy (we were told up to 2 years). Then there is the good old “postcode lottery”, so your health board might not even offer this as an option. Private fertility treatments are excruciatingly expensive, and the pressure of this alone can put a huge strain on a relationship. I can’t bring myself to say how much we spent. This figure is best forgotten.
Personally, I needed to know we had done all we could. I cannot stress enough the need to accept this and put closure on the past. If there is any part of you that thinks “maybe next time it’ll work” “there is still hope”, or even worse – “we’ll apply but keep trying”, then you are definitely not ready. I did have these thoughts for a while. I wasn’t ready for a very long time.
Adoption agencies generally recommend that at least 6 months has passed since your last fertility treatment before you apply. I totally agree with this. Actually, we waited more like a year. I only picked up the phone to our adoption agency when I could do it with a completely clear mind that adoption was the way forward for us. We were both totally committed to giving a child a home in this way. No ifs or buts. No regrets. No looking back.