Complicated Decisions

A patient’s perspective …

Many people have asked me why I haven’t written a blog about my fertility journey lately? I went through the IVF 6 years ago, so I’m not living it day to day anymore. But believe me it doesn’t leave you. Little things spark the emotions, and memories and it all comes back to you like a giant wave. What inspired me to write this is a bill. A bill to store our embryos.

Being a parent is hard. It will be one of the hardest things you will ever decide to do. I think the best analogy I have ever heard about parenting is that it is like climbing a mountain. It’s hard work but every once in a while you are able to stop, take a breath and look around and see the beautiful views. But I’m not sure at what point of parenting do you reach the top of a mountain? Is it when you send your child off to college? Or is it when your child has it’s own child? Or maybe being a parent is actually made up of multiple mountains you have to climb.

Whatever it is, I feel parents need to unite and help each other climb their own mountains and leave judgment at the bottom. There is simply no room for judgment as we all go our own pace with our own mountains, no matter how easy or how hard we think the journey may be.

I try not to judge because I’m not a perfect parent. I had a c-section and loved every minute of it. I used formula. I carried my screaming children out of Target. And on any given night, you’ll find one or both of my boys sleeping in my bed.

When I tell people both my boys are IVF babies, I never felt any judgment, just a lot of questions. But telling people we still have frozen embryos is a very different story. I remember telling someone and they said, “How could you think about getting rid of them. They’re your children.” And my ob/gyn (a man I love), said “Just donate them to another couple.” Like they’re a pair of old jeans. I’m always surprised how many people have opinions on what to do with our embryos.

My husband and I have had embryos frozen for seven years. And I don’t think we’re any closer to making a decision than we were seven years ago. We both know we don’t want any more children. We feel complete with the two we have. But we still can’t make a decision on what to do with our embryos. I think about them often. I think about them because they’re from the same batch of embryos my two healthy, happy, crazy boys came from. And I often think about the amount of greatness they could bring into this world.

But for us, we want to make the decision like any other parental decision we have to make. We want to make it with love, and compassion. The thing is that we don’t want or need judgment from other people. What is best for your family may not be best for our family. See getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and parenting are all messy and personal. It would be so much easier if we all banded together and supported each other on our parental decisions.

There is one thing I think we all can agree on one thing, though. That the journey of parenthood is hard but oh so worth it.

Jen is mom to two amazing boys, thanks to the help of the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services. She’s also a middle school teacher and a peer support leader for Resolve. She credits her incredible husband for his support through their journey together.

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