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Finding Your Light at the End of Infertility's Tunnel
a blog by Ellen S. Glazer, LICSW, Apr. 1, 2010
Several years ago, when airports still had people at check in counters (and not machines), I had a delightful reunion with the check-in woman. I say “reunion” because I did not remember her, though she told me we had met. She waited until after I had checked in and then approached me in the departure lounge and said, “We met seven years ago at the _______ Fertility Center. I can figure out when it was by my daughter’s age. I met with you and I’ve always believed that you helped me become pregnant.”
I was flattered, but disbelieving. What could I have possibly said that would prompt this stranger -- whom I met once -- to feel that I had enabled her to become pregnant? When I asked, she said, “You told me I could adopt.” All the more puzzled, I asked how this helped her conceive. She said, “I knew, when I left your office, that I would be a mom.”
This is what I call a “light at the end of the tunnel” story.
Infertility can be such a long dark tunnel. It’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever emerge from it.
For some, one disappointment leads to another and another. Some come to believe that nothing will ever work. They lose sight of any light at the end of the tunnel. That’s why, I believe, the value of identifying a light at the end of the tunnel.
Everyone doesn’t run into a counselor who tells them they can adopt (and for some, this is the last thing they want to hear) but everyone going through infertility can begin to consider what light might greet them beyond the tunnel. It may be adoption or egg donation or it could be making a good life for yourselves without children.
Exploring a light — or a few possible lights — is not for everyone in the tunnel. I meet people who feel they need to remain focussed on the tunnel as long as that is where they are. For them, I never suggest exploring a “Plan B.” However, for others, this exploration comes as a relief and a blessing.
Assisted reproductive technology and, especially, IVF requires lots of waiting and wondering. Some find that reading about adoption or egg donation is a great way to pass this waiting time. It reduces some of the pressure that this “has to work,” and provides a nice distraction.
It equips you with the information you may one day want or need or, in the case of my airport lady, happily not need.