When I started this blog, about a year ago now, I'd had a hell of a year. And I don't mean that in a good way. And after starting the blog, my life fell apart even further, which was a big part of the reason that my posts stopped for many months (not that I think anyone was really waiting with bated breath for my next posts). But the thing is, when I first started this blog, there was a particular story that I wanted to tell. Just to get it out, really, to have the words that had been going through my head out in the open. I wanted to tell the story for my own sake, although I certainly think that others may be able to take something from it. My biggest hope, though, in wanting to tell my story, was that it would be a therapeutic process for me.
So, of course, I put it off. I wrote funny (I hope) little fluff posts, to avoid the elephant in the room. And maybe there was a reason for that, because I'm in a much different place with it now than I was a year ago. I'm not completely healed. I don't know if that can ever happen. But it is not nearly as raw as it was a year ago, and maybe I needed that extra time for the perspective to be able to tell the story.
And this is infertility awareness week, which seems like a good time to tell this particular story.
There is what seems to me a very logical place to start, but every time I try to think about how to structure my story, I realize that another important piece of it is even further back in my life, and the story keeps getting longer. I probably won't be able to fit it all into one post, so this may be a multi-part deal. And I'll start at that logical place I mentioned, but it's probably going to require a few flashbacks.
It all started when I decided I was going to try to have a baby.
But first, I need to backtrack a little.
A little over two years ago, I was in an extremely good place in my life. Things that a few years earlier I'd worried I would never accomplish were falling into place for me. I was a homeowner with a career I loved. I was in my early thirties. Just a year or two prior I'd been afraid that I'd spend the rest of my life living like someone who had never matured past college - that I'd be fifty and alone living in a crappy little apartment on a month-to-month income because I'd never managed to settle down and get my shit together. But now, with a stable income and a house, I felt like I was in an appropriate place for my age.
So, of course, the question on my mind became, what's next?
I have always, always wanted to be a mother. More than anything else. And at nearly 32, with said stable home and income, it seemed appropriate to start considering how to make that happen. The fact that I did not have a husband, or even a boyfriend, or, hell, even an occasional date was simply something to work around. It would be ideal to have a partner, of course, but the truth was, being a mother was more important to me than being a wife. More than once, I have expressed the sentiment to close family members and friends that if I were given the choice by some higher power between having a child or having a husband, that I could only choose one, I wouldn't even have to think about it. Having a child would win, hands down, in any scenario.
I had been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, one of the most common causes of female infertility, about a decade before any of this (and knew since early adolescence that something was not right with my reproductive system), and I already thought by then that I had come to terms with this. A friend of mine also had PCOS and had told me a great deal about the fertility drugs, followed by several IVF cycles and the heartbreak that came with them, that had finally resulted in her daughter. I decided after these conversations that I would never pursue IVF. Even though she got her happy ending eventually, I didn't want to risk spending tens of thousands of dollars that I couldn't afford and still come out the other end with a broken heart. If I met Mr. Right and got pregnant naturally at any point, great, but otherwise I would find a different path to motherhood - most likely adoption through foster care (because infant adoption is almost as costly - and in some cases even more costly - than fertility treatments).
And so, around Christmas of 2010, I decided that I wasn't getting any younger, and there was no reason I had to wait any longer to start the foster-to-adopt process. I could do that on my own, and I certainly wasn't ruling out having a baby someday by doing this. I could adopt a child now who needed a home, and if Mr. Right came along in the next few years, there was a possibility that I could still have a baby then.
I submitted my initial paperwork in January and was approved a few weeks later to take the classes. Because I had previously worked in the child welfare system, though, I knew one of the trainers who was teaching the next round of classes. I could not enroll in his class. This meant I would have to wait until July to start the classes - about six months away.
No problem, I thought. That would give me time to get all my ducks in a row, and refine what sort of adoption scenarios I was willing to consider. I was well aware that adopting from foster care usually involves children who have experienced significant trauma and who frequently have mental health diagnoses and behavioral issues. I was confident that I could handle the challenge - in fact, with my background in social services, I was sort of uniquely qualified.
However, having all those months of waiting also gave me time to come to some realizations that I may not have thought about if I'd jumped into the classes right away.
Like the fact that bringing an adopted child with special needs into my life would be a huge barrier to finding Mr. Right, far more so than having a biological child with ordinary needs would be. Dating as a single parent is bringing a hell of a lot of baggage into any potential relationship. Dating as a single parent with an adopted special needs child? I began to think it was probably unfair to ask anyone to take that baggage on. I didn't date that much while still childless to begin with, so I had to consider the very strong possibility that, by following this path, I was, in fact, ruling out the possibility of ever having a baby.
With that thought in mind, I suddenly found myself logging onto dating websites with an alarming, possibly desperate frequency. Okay, definitely desperate. And I began hoping for a sign that I was on the right path.
Around mid-May in 2011, I actually got a sign. And I've been resenting the trajectory it sent me on ever since.
Hopefully, someday I will look back at all this and realize that the reason for the events that followed was because there was something better waiting for me. If that is the case, I haven't discovered the something better yet.