The end of a quest

Steph and I have been on an epic journey since 2009. For 6 long years, growing our family has been our sole purpose. It’s taken every extra ounce of energy and every dollar to create our dream. We lived and breathed babies for so long it was hard to think of anything else.

Our story ends in happiness. After $50,000 and 4 miscarriages, we have FOUR beautiful boys. Two sets of twins. It feels like we won the lottery. And yet I’m acutely aware that not all stories end that way. The most heartbreaking stories are the ones that end with no baby. They, too, have spent a small fortune on having a child, and have nothing left but a second mortgage, to be paid over the next twenty years, while they have nothing to hold in their arms.

But even while acknowledging that, I’m facing my own loss. The loss that comes when you know that you are done and that you won’t be pregnant again. That you’re no longer on the quest. For six years, I made it my mission to grow our family. I refused to stop, until it happened. I was open to it being with my own eggs, donor embryo, or through adoption. We pursued all three with intensity. But here’s my question…now that our quest has been completed, where do I go from here?

It’s easy to say “Now you switch gears and enjoy your family.” We DO enjoy our family. Immensely. But it’s hard to just rest when you’ve been on an epic journey. How do you switch gears when every fiber of your being has gone into achieving a goal? I imagine it’s like a phantom limb. You feel it intensely until you remember it’s gone. I pass by the pregnancy tests, and ache to buy 3 packs. I offer advice to a friend who is starting IVF, and want to pull up my calendar to decide when to start our next round. I think about money, and want to cash in part of my 401k to fund “one more try”. And then I remember – we’re done. And, despite our intense happiness, remembering this makes me sad.

This is what I’m struggling with right now. In the midst of the joy of our newborn sons, I feel an undercurrent of loss. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but it’s the truth.

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One thought on “The end of a quest

  1. mary lou birnbaum

    my dear Heather I believe that it just means that your human. You are feeling all of things that God means you to feel as a women and as a mother. I believe its all very natural. I remember telling my gynecologist that she was trying to talk me into menopause at 50. I told her that my period was my right to have children and I was not ready for it to end and to stop pushing for it. I made it to the grand age of 54 before I was officially in menopause she gave me a high five the day I walked in and said its been 12 months now its official. I believe that having children was just one of God’s many great Joy’s and gifts and it was not one that I wanted to give up even if my husband was not volunteering to let me have another one. I believe everything you are thinking and feeling is very natural. I was very sad.

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