Stacy: Talking about sadness and sorrow

At the recent San Francisco event — as was the case in Austin and Atlanta — women spoke to me individually, or with the group, about the intense emotions they felt in not being able to yet BECOME Choice Moms. Talking about sadness is not always easy for us.

Some women made the decision long ago to become a single mother, but it hasn’t happened yet. Simply not having a partner isn’t the only hurdle. Fertility issues, adoption blocks, health issues, miscarriage, financial setbacks, job/health coverage loss. I’ve heard so many stories from women about the huge roadblocks they have faced to motherhood.

When you decide to “go,” it can be so emotional to be in the “yield” position, sometimes for years.

And, making it even more difficult, it can seem like a very hard thing to talk about out loud with anyone. You might not want friends and family to know you are intending to take this path. They might think it just gives you more time to find a partner, not understanding that you are mentally ready to be a mother. Or you might get the basic sympathy that doesn’t mean as much when it comes from someone who HAS their children, or someone who hasn’t yet struggled to conceive or adopt.

Here’s what Stacy said about her reactions from the event: “After four plus years of trying to become a mother, I’m feeling disheartened beyond words. And sadly, I felt completely misfitted at the SF event. I wanted to see someone like me; someone who was suffering/struggling to figure out how they fit into the Choice Mom world when they can’t actually reach the goal of being a mom at all. I did so much work to get to the place where I was ‘ready’ to become a Choice Mom. I had to ‘come out’ to my friends and family. I had to rethink my vision of the future. I had to orient my identity. It never dawned on me that the identity work would just be the beginning of such a long battle.

“The sorrow I’ve carried in my heart, five babies lost from my own body and one daughter lost from a surrogate, has been all the more challenging because I’ve had to traverse this journey unpartnered. Also, I experience more resistance and less support than my married counterparts. One dear friend actually told me recently that maybe my losses were a reflection that it wasn’t in ‘God’s plan’ for women to choose motherhood without a husband. Choice mom is now how I self-identify and it has been for over four years. All the women I was ‘thinking’ with and ‘planning’ or ‘trying’ with are now happy mothers. I chose my home because it was perfect for single motherhood. I chose my car because it could accommodate the baby I thought was coming home. I even cultivated my current professional trajectory to best suit single motherhood. But I’m still not a mother. And every day, every pregnant woman I see, every family I see, every stroller I see, is a dagger in my heart and a reminder of what I’ve worked and prayed so hard for, but has not yet blessed me. I’m still waiting for my turn.”

Use this space to share your story and thus enable connections with others who understand, who have been there, or who ARE there now. We have a wonderful community. I’ve met thousands of us. We can tap into the power of our community to make the connections we all need on this journey.

Mikki

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  3 comments for “Stacy: Talking about sadness and sorrow

  1. Joann P. Galst, Ph.D.
    May 19, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Dear Stacy, My heart goes out to you. In my years of experience as a psychologist working with those experiencing pregnancy loss and infertility, one of the most heartwrenching situations is when a woman can become pregnant but experiences repeated losses. You may find the support you are looking for in a pregnancy loss support group, as we in NYC who offer such a group have found more single choice moms attending than in past years, although the groups are still predominantly heterosexualcouples. I have recently published an article entitled, "Double Jeopardy: Infertility and Pregnancy Loss", a 2-part article (2nd part to be published next week) in the American Fertility Association "Connect" newsletter (access on http://www.theafa.org). Although not specifically addressed to ChoiceMoms, you may find both parts helpful. Do consider consulting a specialist in pregnancy loss if you have not already as additional testing or even IVF with preimplantation genetic screening may be suggested to try to enhance your chances of a successful pregnancy. Other options are also available, although I recognize your need to grieve this most recent and probably very unexpected loss before you feel ready to explore your options. My thoughts are with you as you continue your journey to parenthood. Joann

  2. L
    May 18, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I also am someone on the long, long journey. I am still in disbelief when I think back to how many years it took me to make the decision to become a choice mom – I thought THAT would be the hardest decision. I’ve had so many difficult decisions since then – what sperm donor to choose, when to go to IVF, what meds to try, what tests to do, when to stop ttcing w/my eggs, what egg donor to choose, what doctor to choose, then when to stop trying with donor eggs, what adoption agency to choose, what criteria for a birth mom match. It just seems never ending – and all this time feeling like I don’t fit in with my married friends, with divorcees who have older or grown children and are now sowing their oats, with single friends who are younger. And the feeling of stagnation – I’ve watched all these other choice moms move forward – some are now having their second child and here I am. And don’t even get me started on the $. I cringe when I hear some people say how easy it was to get pg or that they got pg on the first, second or third try – it sometimes seems like they have no sensitivity, not realizing that there are some of us out here who can’t seem to find a way to motherhood no matter how hard we try or how much $ we spend. I’ve spent about $35K in all of my attempts – and I still have the balance of my adoption to pay for once I’m matched. The most awful thing for me is the biological child aspect – I’ll never have one and although sometimes I’m in a good place, other times it’s so hard. People talk about how their kids look like them or their family – and I’ll never have that. It’s still so painful for me. And it sneaks up on me when I think I’m doing better. I just keep praying that when I finally do have a child, I will feel the love and that will override the other feelings I’m having. I just keep telling myself that at least with adoption I know I eventually will have a child and be a mom.

  3. Jennifer
    May 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    This post breaks my heart and I absolutely know that I can’t "feel" everyday the emotional burden that stacy carries. This has to be one of the most frustrating endeavors to embark on, and to do it un-partnered adds another factor that requires nonstop strength. It sucks to have to pick yourself up and dust yourself off after each attempt and each "dagger", but it is also impossible to know the burden that those pregnant women or the people pushing those strollers carry. Stacy Should congratulate herself for making the right decisions for the future she sees for herself. There is no shame in going for something with everything you can. To be able to live your life without regret is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and those that care about you will be there to support you.

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