Talk to me if you've decided to stop trying

(178 Posts)
BipBippadotta Mon 21-Mar-16 14:19:34

Hello. I think I have to stop trying to have a baby or I will ruin the rest of my life. Can someone give me some advice or a handhold or something about how to do this?

I am currently waiting to miscarry for the 3rd time in under a year - this after the full-term stillbirth of my daughter 18 months ago due to a ruptured umbilical cord. I'm 39.

My life has ground to a halt. I don't want to keep tearing myself apart trying to have a baby, particularly as it becomes exponentially less and less likely to work out with every month that passes.

I do not want to use donor eggs / sperm. I don't want to adopt (obligatory explanation here: I don't think after so many traumatic losses my DH and I are robust enough to take on a child who's already had a very tough start in life, possibly with obligations to maintain contact with their family of origin. Nor could I bear trying to adopt internationally, waiting interminably, etc. I think any of these things, at the moment, could destroy our sanity and/or our marriage, and those are the only two things I have left at the moment).

Since my daughter's death I have been so focused on having another baby that I don't know how to turn things back around. I have grieved for my daughter - I have grieved like you wouldn't believe - but there has simply not been the time to sit back and come to terms with it all like everyone says you should do before trying again. Given my age, I had to try again immediately or give up the possibility of children forever - and that's a fucking hard thing to do when you've just buried your only child.

I don't know how to keep going. I can't take any pleasure in anything. I can't face seeing my friends, as I don't have anything to say for myself anymore that anyone wants to hear. The only thing that has been giving me any sort of forward momentum is trying to have a baby - and I have to make myself understand that it is not going to work.

How do you know when to stop? And when you know, how do you stop? Do I have to hit rock bottom, and have a complete nervous breakdown, before I know for certain I can't do this anymore? Is there a way to stop trying before you go mad? How do I claw my way back to something that feels like life?

GlitteryFluff Mon 21-Mar-16 14:25:08

I've no advice op but wanted to say I'm sorry it's been so tough for you.
You are only 39 though, you've still got quite a few years left to try if you wanted to continue trying.
But I understand wanting to close the chapter and stop the heartache.
thanks

Honeybee79 Mon 21-Mar-16 14:48:22

I have no advice either, but just wanted to say how sorry I am. It sounds like you have had and are continuing to have a truly horrible time.

A friend of mine has recently decided to stop, after 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts. She described it as feeling totally emotionally, physically and financially broken and knowing that she didn't want to keep putting herself through it. She was very certain about that though, and from what you have said I am not sure whether you are.

Am sure loads of people have suggested it already and perhaps you are already doing it, but would it help to talk to a counsellor? Many specialise in infertility issues and it may help you move towards clarity?

IsItIorAreTheOthersCrazy Mon 21-Mar-16 14:52:19

thanks That sounds heartbreaking Op.

I don't have any direct experience (ttc with pcos for 3 years, no pregnancy at all yet), but I can't imagine what you've been through. You must be in pieces.

Can you stop trying for now? Maybe talk to a counsellor about how you feel? I think you've grieved but not felt the full depth of what all this means for you - you've had to focus on the next cycle, the next treatment, the positive test, scans and horrible, unfair miscarriages. All the while knowing that you shouldn't have to go through this. You're already a mother.

At 39, you have time. Maybe not years and years, but you have some time. Use it, to have a break, explore your feelings, reconnect with DH and yourself. Holiday maybe? See some friends?

There are no rules about when you stop trying, or even if you have to stop trying. It's a personal choice, but please be kind to yourself now. You absolutely deserve kindness thanks

RebeccaNoodles Mon 21-Mar-16 15:04:01

I don't think any advice I could give would be adequate. I am so sorry for the loss of your babies. flowers flowers flowers flowers.

I second the idea of professional help. I also wanted to recommend two books that I've found helpful. One is The Hollow Heart by Martina Devlin, about a woman was nearly broken by her IVF attempts before finding a new life, and one is Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. It's a collection from an advice columns and in one of them she answers a mother grieving her baby. She says something like 'Other people live on Planet Earth. You live on Planet My Baby Died.'

I don't think you should have to hit rock bottom before hitting pause on your journey. It sounds like a few months off the rollercoaster might be essential to let you heal. You might actually be in better shape to conceive a year from now rather than at the moment when you've been through such trauma. Though I also put a lot of pressure on myself due to age (nearly 39) so I can identify with what you say.

I'm so sorry this is happening to you, it's not fair.

lozwil Mon 21-Mar-16 15:04:01

Sweetheart I am so sorry about what you have gone through it is never going to be an easy decision to make I am going through it at the moment but for different reasons ( my last mc saw me having emergency surgery and I am still having a few health niggles 6 mnts later).
The only advice that I have is try and be kind to yourself and let people supprt you, and try and communicate with your dh as much as possible about what you both want and need I know from experience what damage not doing this can cause as my dh doesnt want to try again and was scared to tell me which has caused no end of issues. Only you can decide when the time to stop is right but please give yourself time to grieve for the mc you are going through now x x x

BettyBi0 Mon 21-Mar-16 15:04:01

I'm so sorry for your losses. If you are in the process of miscarrying then your hormones will be all over the place. No wonder you sound like you are hitting rock bottom. My only advice would be to take each hour and day as it comes and not feel like you have to make any major decisions right now. Yes, age is a bugger but you need some time to physically, let alone mentally regroup and heal flowers

W33XXX Mon 21-Mar-16 15:07:59

I have no advise on how to stop trying, and am really sorry for what you have been through the last 18 months.

All I can say is that please don't give up hope. I have a very dear friend who was trying for a baby for years, nothing happened. Eventually had to go down IVF route, fell pregnant second time round and unfortunately lost her baby at 14 weeks. Her and her husband stopped trying and booked some holidays, started house renovations etc to take their minds off their heartache. She ended up finding out she was pregnant at the age of 42! She now has a gorgeous 5 week old baby boy. She believes its due to them not overthinking everything, her relaxing etc.

MiniMover Mon 21-Mar-16 15:10:08

Well I have no experience myself but honestly? Reading your post, I'm not sure you're there yet. I think if you were there you'd just know. But who am I to judge? Is it crippling you financially? I mean dragging you both into debt or just using all your disposable income and savings. Because if the latter then you may feel the best option for peace of mind long term is to carry on until it becomes too late to be realistic. 39 isn't that. Many woman are only beginning to try at 39. Granted, your body has been through so much more but looking at your age in isolation, it isn't too late. How does your DH feel? Is he keen to stop or does he want to carry on for as long as possible? Obviously the physical burden is on you. Forgive me, but from your post it appears your issue isn't so much getting pg but staying pg. were all your pregnancies IVF? If so, are they telling you your egg quality is declining sharply? If not, can you take 6mths out to grieve for your daughter? Please don't take that as 'relax and it will happen' hmm I mean more just to relax as a couple and allow your body a rest and your mind some time to process the horror that is stillbirth. Then re-evaluate whether you have made peace with not trying again or whether you both want to keep going.

flowers at the loss of your daughter.

MiniMover Mon 21-Mar-16 15:11:56

Sorry, obviously more flowers at the fact you're currently going through the heartbreak of miscarriage. You've had a truly shit 18mths.

Pinkheart5915 Mon 21-Mar-16 15:14:27

What a sad story to read.
I had a stillbirth myself some years ago so know what heart ache this causes.

My sister and her husband had many miscarriages and in the end decided to not focus on getting pregnant so much as it had become there life, so didn't obsess over it but didn't use protection either they went on holidays took up hobbies together and accepted it might never be and now at 42 she has a healthy little baby girl.

NationMcKinley Mon 21-Mar-16 15:14:55

I have no wise words or advice. I just wanted to say what a horrible time you've had and how unfair it all is. I really hope you find the peace you need flowers

Everhopeful76 Mon 21-Mar-16 15:27:15

Hi Bip
I am so sorry, you have really had such a hard time.I ve struggled with 1 cycle of IVF and that's firstly without knowing the outcome (on 2ww) but also wondering about whether to do another with low amh and a pretty poor response to treatment even though in the end I went ahead and didn't cancel because I thought would another time yield better results. I am 39 aswell and my time is running out.

I have recently joined groups on facebook for "childless" women - ive put childless in inverted commas just purely because I don't particularly like the term, Anyway...such as Gateway Women, Dovecote and infertility network and have found some of their publications really helpful. Gateway women in particular support women who have not necessarily given up on their journey but are wanting to connect with others for support. They run groups throughout the country so you can physically meet with others. I cant remember the name of the lady but she has written a book called "Rocking the Life Unexpected"

I am also of the opinion that it is specific grief counselling with someone specially trained in the field of infertility that is needed for anyone on this road really, as well as boundary type work,because am sure we all understand that we can be triggered by many everyday things like seeing babies in supermarkets, or by hearing about others families and feeling bewildered and isolated,landmark birthdays and the like. Yours is an even harder challenge as you have experienced the still birth of your daughter.

Hoping some of the above helps even if in a small way and hope itself never leaves us. Take care

BipBippadotta Mon 21-Mar-16 15:29:21

Thanks everyone for all your thoughts and flowers - and flowers to those of you who are struggling with this as well.

I've been pregnant 5 times - all were natural conceptions except 1 with Clomid and the last with IVF. IVF went pretty shockingly badly. Only 2 out of 11 eggs fertilised, and that was with ICSI. That plus previous mcs caused by chromosome abnormalities suggests my eggs are not up to this anymore. It's that, more than my age alone, that makes me think we're coming to the end of the road. It feels like I can devote my life to IVF for the next year until the money (and/or eggs, and/or sanity) runs out in the hope I've got one last viable egg in there, or cut my losses now and try to get a head start on rebuilding my life.

I've actually just stopped therapy after 18 months - I'm fairly au fait with my feelings about it all and didn't really feel it was helping, just going around in circles. I have a wonderful relationship with my DH, and we talk about this a lot. I think it's one of those things you just have to go through and nothing helps. I think I'm not sure I can start to heal until I'm not doing this to myself anymore.

Has anyone made that decision? And what helped?

jimijack Mon 21-Mar-16 15:29:31

Not sure if you want to hear stories like mine as I could have punched people who spouted shit about loss and recovery. It was just words and utter shit to my very tender and weird thinking brain.

After 7 miscarriages, reaching the age of 42 we made the decision to stop. Give up. Throw in the towel and not put yourself through it all again.
I had spent about 10 years totally consumed and focussed on having a baby.

It was during the 7th miscarriage that I suddenly made the decision.

So, I went to my GP for the pill.
Put it in my bag & waited patiently for the miscarriage to end and my period to begin.
That box of fucking pills in my bag was against all I had been focusing on for all of those years. Fertility, not stopping it.

I felt unwell. More and more unwell. I suspected that I had retained "products" as they called the remainder of my much wanted baby.
I had a scan.
Nothing could have prepared me for the 7 week old bouncing around little baby that was in there.

Ffs, here we go again I thought. I waited for the bleeding and pain to start, because there was no doubt n my mind that it was going to.
It done, week 8,9,10,11,12 came, weekly scans showing a healthy growing baby.
I had lost at 13 weeks previously, so it wasn't in Illinois week 18 after the amnio that I started telling people.

So, my 3 year old just did a huge turd on my bedroom carpet, and I have just paddled in his piss in my kitchen as I potty train him.
He is amazing, he is here and fucking hell, I get to keep him!
At last, we got there.
Hugs to you xxxxxxxx

MiniMover Mon 21-Mar-16 15:48:13

Ok I'd say don't give up just yet. If your relationship is strong and you can just about afford it, keep going until hope truly is gone. You say you cannot begin to heal until you stop but can you ever heal if you haven't give it your absolute all? If there's any chance you'll look back in 10yrs and be angry at yourself for not keeping going until 41/42 or until IVF wasn't yielding any viable eggs then you must carry on. But only you know your limits. Good luck x

Kewcumber Mon 21-Mar-16 15:52:15

W333XXX one of the things that pissed me off the most when my fertility treatment was failing was the stories of the woman down the road to their friend who gave up, adopted 15 children then had a miracle baby.

It may give comfort to some - personally I just found it grim. That I should just live in limbo for ever and eventually it would happen. Except that statistically it doesn't.

OP - I gave up trying after 3 IVF attempts all went disastrously wrong in their own way having promised myself that I would only attempt three before starting on adoption. I launched into adoption without really having dealt with the grief of the failure a bit like you because I hadn't the luxury of time being on my side.

I'm not sure have any good advice. You have the added grief of the death of your child to deal with.

Do what makes you feel more settled for now whatever that is. There is no answer that is set in stone and cannot be changed at least for a while.

I'm very sorry for your loss.

(And you never need to justify not adopting, not ever, to anyone)

Balloondog Mon 21-Mar-16 15:55:41

flowers and a very un-mumsnet-ty hug for you BipBip

I've been through similar and we finally called a halt by 'taking a break' for a few months which eventually became permanent. When we first discussed trying again after our final failed IVF I just couldn't bear the thought of going through it all again so soon with the likelihood of failure and that was enough to postpone again. Then by the time we really discussed it again we were both just so much happier (I was much less hormonal) and we were able to focus on the positives of our lives rather than the quest for something reasonably unobtainable. Since then I really haven't looked back - it's amazing to give yourself permission to stop obsessing and a few years on, I have absolutely no regrets (either that we tried or that we stopped trying). We have definitely come out the 'other side' as such and are more than happy with life these days.

I hope you can find the peace you deserve one way or another but please know from someone who's been where you are that you will survive and you will have a fulfilling, enjoyable life with or without children. It takes time, so be gentle with yourselves but you WILL get there.

W33XXX Mon 21-Mar-16 16:03:04

I do agree it would be very difficult not knowing if it would ever happen for yous; and I cannot imagine being in your situation and trying to process everything that yous have already been through as well as the uncertainty of what the future holds for you both. I know you said that you wouldn't like adoption, or surrogacy through donnor eggs/sperm, but have you any close relatives that would maybe assist with surrogacy either with an implanted embryo or donnor eggs?

I do believe that miracles can happen, and really hope one can happen for yous. flowers

PurpleDaisies Mon 21-Mar-16 16:06:27

She believes its due to them not overthinking everything, her relaxing etc.

Can I just say I know this is written with great intentions but as someone who's been in the op's position is isn't all that helpful.

So sorry you're going through this. We stopped actively trying. No contraception, no testing, no hormones, nothing. It actually felt like a relief to just let it be. You don't have to make a forever decision now-just take a bit of time and see in a few months or a year how you feel then. flowers

TammySwanson Mon 21-Mar-16 16:13:36

Bip I've been meaning to post this on the other thread but I meet up with other childless women once a month via Gateway Women - this is the meetup page which is a closed group but you just have to send a message to get entry to it www.meetup.com/Gateway-Women/ There are loads of meet ups all across the country. I believe they also have a dedicated talkboard but you have to pay a small fee for it which I haven't done. There are many women who are in the same situation as you, some who have decided to give up, and some who are many years past it all and out through the other side of it.

I think the very nature of this site is that it's mostly people who have children (however difficult this was and even if it was by everyone's favourite victim-blaming method 'we just relaxed and it happened!') and even this small corner of it is mostly women who are still trying. If you want to talk to someone who's been through it all then you might want to consider one of the gateway meetups or the talkboard there. I know I find it comforting talking in real life to people who have gone through infertility and with whom you don't feel the need to justify your choices and who just fucking get it.

Dellarobia Mon 21-Mar-16 16:27:27

Hi Bip I'm so sorry for the horrible 18 months you have been through flowers

I have heard good things about this book

MiniMover Mon 21-Mar-16 16:32:37

I've never experienced infertility but even know that telling a couple just to relax/book a holiday etc is massively insensitive. That's why I specifically said I wasnt telling the op to relax. I think if I was experiencing infertility and someone told me to relax and it would happen then I'd be up on an assault charge.

MerdeAlor Mon 21-Mar-16 16:35:17

Hi Bip
I stopped trying, it was the right decision for us. Contrary to what has been said upthread, I didn't know when to stop. I was wracked for for a long time about the decision. Acceptance that it didn't happen has taken even longer.

Every year has gotten a litle easier and the pain has gradually lessend. I am 5 years on now and just about to have a hysterectomy. I feel OK about it.

We decided to stop because my body and mind had been battered by the experience. I needed to step off the endless cycle of miscarriage and TTC.

YY to not starting to heal until I stopped trying - that's exactly it and I did heal.

FWIW I felt totally pissed off with everyone who said keep trying, it'll happen, relax and it'll happen etc. Likewise I felt similarly pissed off with people who baulked at us continuing to try.

Your experience is your experience, it's unique to you. Everyone knows someone who had difficulty TTC then succeeds but for some people it just doesn't happen. Accepting that was key for me. That, and realising that acceptance takes years.

LHReturns Mon 21-Mar-16 17:05:42

Bip I have lurked on many of your threads and as a total novice to IVF (age 40 with secondary infertility) you are one of these women on Mumsnet that I have held up on a giant pedestal. You just know what you are talking about, what you want, what to do next. You have embraced your grief and deal with it with such strength. I will not be the only Mumsnetter who looks for your threads and holds their breath for you.

I do not have the right words (but I know if anyone told me about their friend of a friend who relaxed and forgot about it all then suddenly fell pregnant I would be extremely irritated). But I wanted to say that I am not convinced you are ready to step off this particular road yet. Doesn't mean you shouldn't, but I would suggest that if you have spent ten years chasing this dream then you should spend a good chunk of time thinking about when and how to move on to a new dream.

I am so sorry about your miscarriage and the death of your daughter.

If you decide to continue for a while longer I would love to join you on the various threads as we try together. And if you decide not to continue may I ask your opinion from time to time?

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