Throughout my entire infertility journey, it has been hard not to be consumed by guilt. There are a hundred things one could feel guilty about during this process. As an Irish American Catholic woman, guilt seems to be something I cannot avoid! In my family, I have seen several generations of some of the best guilt sufferers and guilt encouragers in action. In an attempt to let go of my guilt, I am going to list all of the things I feel guilty about.
I feel guilty that I have serious infertility issues that will most likely prevent me from having another child. I feel guilty that my daughter will have no siblings. I feel guilty that when my husband and I are old and sick, my daughter will have no one else to share the burden of caring for us. I feel guilty that throughout my infertility journey I have been sick, sad and distracted and have not been able to be the best mom to my daughter. I feel guilty that I caused my daughter stress and worry throughout this process. I feel guilty that I might have genetically passed down my infertility issues to my daughter.
I feel guilty that my infertility issues have caused so much pain and heartache for me and my husband. Although my husband assures me time and time again that it is “our journey,” I feel guilty that my body is broken. I feel guilty that I cannot give my husband more children, especially a son, who would have had a "V" (a "fifth") after his name. I feel guilty that when my husband and I got married 8 years ago we talked about having as many kids as we could, and now that hope and dream is not possible. I feel guilty that we have spent half of our marriage struggling with infertility. I feel guilty that my husband has had to worry about me through 8 surgical procedures, all fertility related, in the past six years.
I feel guilty that throughout this process I have neglected people and things that I love. I feel guilty that I have lost touch with friends and missed social gatherings and important events in their lives because I have been consumed both mentally and physically with my infertility. I feel guilty that I have missed hanging out with important elderly family members, especially my gram who recently passed away, because of my inability to go to see them during certain points of my infertility journey. I feel guilty that I have caused my parents so much stress and worry throughout this process. I feel guilty that I cannot give them more grandchildren to love and spoil.
There are many more things I could list. These are just a few that dance around in my head sometimes before I fall asleep. Now that my husband and I are at the end of our infertility journey, I started thinking about all of these things, and the concept of guilt in general. I realized that I could replace “I feel guilty that” with “I have no control over the fact that.” Feeling guilty about something, although heart wrenching and stressful, implies that I have control over it. Having control over something, even if it is something bad, is a safer feeling than admitting to having no control.
Guilt is a weight that can bring you down, paralyze you, consume you and bring you to make choices that your heart doesn’t want to make. To be a better mom, have a healthy marriage and be my best self, I need to let go of all of these weights, all of this guilt. I have no control over my infertility. I have done the best I could with the challenges I have been given. I am only human. Letting go of this guilt will give me room to embrace the future with an open heart and an open mind. I feel lighter already!