Infertility – A Personal and Professional Overview Part 1

by Kathy Crissey, MS, LMHC

In part 1 of a 2 part blog post, Kathy speaks to her own infertility journey and how it led her to the family she has now.

Having been raised in a large family, I never expected anything less than to become a mother. Life, however, has a way of taking us down roads that are totally unexpected. My personal journey through infertility is unique in many ways, but the emotional toll of infertility is a shared experience. The one thing that kept me going throughout it all was my strong desire to parent a child as well as the stubborn side of my personality which refused to give up.

As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor I have worked with many women struggling with this issue. Infertility can be a very challenging experience and one that is often fraught with disappointment, sadness and grief. My own personal journey led to several unexplained miscarriages. It seemed that becoming pregnant was less of an issue than staying pregnant. With each pregnancy, the fear increased and with each loss my hope was drained. There were very dark days when I was sure that I would never realize my dreams and that no one understood how I was feeling. There were times when I questioned my faith which had always been so important to me. I believe that there is a plan for all of us and it became obvious that my plan was not the one that was meant to be. I do not think that I have ever experienced any other process that was so very emotionally draining. The one thing I have learned is that everyone’s journey is very personal and that everyone who is struggling with infertility has to get to the point of letting go and moving on in their own time.

I am happy to say that I am now the mom to four wonderful adopted children. I can’t imagine any other children but these in my life. My family story is for another blog as it would take up the whole of this posting and more. I am thankful every day that my journey led me to the children I have. In the midst of the process, however, I never could have imagined feeling that way.

Infertility often means the loss of dreams. While I believe that physicians truly work hard to help individuals and couples achieve a pregnancy, I also believe that they do not talk about adoption enough as an option to parenthood. Part of any infertility process should also be emotional support and options counseling. Instead, it can be an isolating and lonely road. When one is longing for a child, any little bit of hope will be instantly held on to and it can be difficult to be realistic. When the goal is parenting, there needs to be more openness to talking about alternatives. For some, the letting go of having a biological child can be extremely difficult. I believe everyone at some time thinks about what their child might look like and what traits will be carried on through them. Having Asian adopted children who look nothing like me, I can say for certain that some of their personality traits are definitely from their adopted parents. Nature vs. nurture?

The road to parenthood can be challenging but it need not be made more difficult due to lack of education or support. Coming together to talk about common experiences and to be able to share fears can make a significant difference in how one manages the ups and down of infertility work. This in turn can lead to a reduction in stress which may have a positive impact on the physical side of infertility. It is my hope that the upcoming workshop will lead to an ongoing series of workshops and an increased support system for anyone struggling with infertility.

Read More about Infertility: About Parenthood for Me and their Annual Fundraising Gala, Are You Ready to Consider Adoption, Dealing with Infertility, Struggling through Infertility, Infertility and Adoption, Pregnancy After Adoption