When I was trying to conceive Eggbert, I don't think that it ever really occurred to me to worry about what other people thought about my choices. I don't mean that I wasn't aware of the judgment that the world heaps on infertiles (and mothers, and, for that matter, women), but I never let it creep into my thinking when I was making important decisions about family-building. But for some reason, other people's opinions bother me more now. I can't really put my finger on why.
I've always been a bit of a people pleaser, so caring what people think, unfortunately, isn't exactly a new thing for me, but caring what they think about my family is. When I met Mystery and we fell in love, our relationship was almost universally disapproved of in the community where we lived at the time. Our families were supportive, luckily, and so were my friends, but several of Mystery's then closest friends really let him down, and our coworkers were unanimously appalled. I can't say that we were happy about that, but it never made either of us doubt that we were making the right decision for ourselves, and ten years later, we still think that we did (and the naysayers have mostly come around).
And when we ran into infertility, I certainly heard the "just adopt's" and the "perhaps it wasn't meant to be's" and even the "it's God's will's," but I just chalked those off as stupid things to say and then moved on. Sure, it hurt my feelings sometimes, but it never made me doubt my choices. People that think assisted reproduction is wrong found me nothing but supportive of their decision not to undertake assisted reproduction, and when they didn't agree with my decision to use it, well, they were welcome to kiss my PIO-bruised arse.
For some reason, though, it feels different this time. Maybe it's because I've somehow landed in adoption-land central. In my 12-person department at work, five people have adopted children, and one of my closest friends outside of work is currently waiting for a placement. Apparently, adopting is the standard operating procedure for infertile couples here. It is not a coincidence that while all of my friends and colleagues know that we're going to Korea this summer, I haven't told all of them why.
But that's not the worst of it. The fear of disapproval isn't just silencing me, it's also getting into my head and giving me doubts about where to go from here. Mystery and I had a really difficult time deciding to try IVF again, but now that we've made that decision, I feel good about trying one more time, but then what?
Like many people, I find it much easier to start an ART cycle when I have a backup plan for if (when?) it fails. When we started trying for Eggbert, our backup plan was adopting from Ethiopia. I felt really good about that plan, and it definitely helped me to get through some dark days. So you'd think that I'd know what we were going to do if this cycle fails, but you'd be wrong. Now I am full of doubts. I don't doubt that I would love an adopted child wholeheartedly, but I am increasingly doubting whether that would be the best decision for our family as a whole. It's so complicated. At this point, I'm torn between three options: 1) embracing Eggbert's status as an only child, 2) adopting, and 3) trying donor eggs. And when I listen to my heart, I lean toward option 3. I've been trying for about 20 minutes to outline the reasons for my waffling, and am having trouble getting the words just right. It's so hard to talk about these things without seeming to condemn other people's choices. Or am I just afraid of your disapproval too? I really don't know. Reason #85 gajillion that I really hope this cycle works. If not, I really don't know what the next step should be, and I'm pretty clearly not yet ready to face it, whatever it is.