Not Better or Worse. Just Different.

Ending infertility treatments without a baby isn’t a worse life, it’s just a different life.

As my husband and I started our second egg retrieval process, we knew we were running out of options and energy to continue with our fertility treatments.

We started having more and more conversations about what if. What if none of this works? We’d already had one failed transfer and two miscarriages. We agreed that this second egg retrieval would be our last regardless of the outcome.

As we prepped for another transfer and continued to get bad news, I started digging more and more into what life would look like childless. I started taking stock of all the women I was related to, or friends with that were older than me and without kids. They seemed happy. I watched friends my age struggle to balance the life they’d planned for with the realities of having tiny humans to care for. I even spent time reading hundreds of Reddit stories of parents who ultimately regretted having kids.

Then one day, it clicked. Being a parent versus being childless wasn’t an equation of one life being happier, more fulfilling, or somehow better than the other.

They were simply two completely incomparable paths.

It was so easy to only focus on the beautiful parts of parenthood when I was fighting so hard for my chance to get there. Seeing other infertility friends get their miracle babies, Instagram photos of giggling families, and matching holiday outfits. But thanks to the brutal honesty found on Reddit and a few friends that shared both the ups and downs of parenting, I reminded myself for every giggle-fest, there is a night of non-stop crying and no sleep. For every matching pj set, there is a diaper blowout.

My husband and I started pointing out moments in our daily lives that would change if we had kids. For example, I would have to take a break from my business. My quiet coffee on the front deck watching the deer would be a thing of the past. Being able to drop everything on a day’s notice to drive the couple hours to visit my mom and help her out would get exponentially more complicated. I worried about the toll parenthood would take on my mental health, which was already challenging for me.

For the last year of our fertility treatments, I stopped seeing life as better with kids/worse without.

When I stopped comparing these life paths and started seeing them as their wildly different journeys, being childless became much less scary.

The afternoon I woke up from my last D&C, after two years of IVF, 1 failed transfer, and 4 miscarriages, all I felt at that moment was relief. I knew my path, and I wasn’t afraid of it.

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