Isn't it lovely?
I feel like I have had to explain this a bit over the past month or so, because people unwittingly say very casually "you gave up on adoption" and before that people would say "you gave up on IVF/pregnancy/your uterus/etc." They don't mean it in a cruel or malicious way, but it is stabby nonetheless.
Maybe it's because of the mantra of "Never Never Never Give Up" that I used to hold so fast to, that works really great when you are successful and telling others how to navigate their experiences without taking into account just how multilayered and complex everyone's individual journey can be. Not all the nuances are apparent. What works for you may not work for me. We all have our different thresholds.
The mantra that used to push me forward (a relative term, since is doing 13 cycles of IVF without much success to bolster you FORWARD?) became a heavy weight, a feeling that I didn't have permission to move on because it would be seen as failure. Now you know how I feel about that.
It's a hard thing, explaining the difference between giving up which denotes quitting, failure, a lack of ambition or motivation maybe (at least according to our societal norms)... and moving on.
Moving on is my preferred term, because it doesn't connote those things, to me at least. It means that I found my point of ENOUGH, that it was actually in my best interest to go in a different direction. It implies that this isn't a STOPPING point, as I think it could be construed. It's a shift. It's a movement onward to a future that holds every bit as much promise as any other one, possibly more because I won't have pushed myself past the point of health, physical and mental. It's an empowered choice, not a lying down and rolling to the side of the road. I mean, I do spend some time lying on the floor when I am overwhelmed by the grief of what I've lost, but I am also spending time planning out specifics for our fabulous California Coast trip and organizing my office space and spending time contemplating the big question of... what's next. It's not stationary. Stationary is what we were before.
There is a cost to persistence. I found myself fairly broken, body and soul, in the pursuit of something that just didn't want to materialize, not before the price became too steep. I am not against perseverance in the face of adversity, don't get me wrong. I believe in fighting for what you believe in, in pushing forward when things are hard, in pursuing the things that DON'T TRY TO DESTROY YOU. But sometimes it just makes more sense for sanity and for the health of the life you have, right this very minute, to move on. To let go of something that has become toxic to your existence. To say that it's okay to hope for a different kind of future, to celebrate all that you have instead of slamming your body up against a wall over and over and hoping for a different result before you are a broken sack of goo.
I didn't give up. (Unless it's giving up in the sense of giving up smoking, or meth.)
I found my point of enough. I decided to move on and take control of my life. I decided to let go of a dream, which
I am empowered. I am strong. I have a beautiful life. I have new dreams. I am in mourning for the life I wanted that never came to pass, but I do not regret snipping the thread on that one. It was like the bittersweet vine that infiltrates my blueberry bushes, looking like a new shoot of the plant but in actuality squeezing the life out of what was already there.
The message bears repeating:
I'd had enough. There are many women who have also had enough, at all varying stages of the infertility game. Everyone's enough is different, for so many possible reasons.
Let's stop using the words give up in this context. It makes those in the throes of everything feel like moving on isn't an option, that you have to drive yourself into the floor or else have failed. Maybe if we phrased it as moving on, this choice (and I have issues with that word, too) wouldn't seem so scary, so prohibitive, so cautionary tale.
Moving on from the pursuit of parenthood should be a resolution like any other, honored for its strength and power and beauty in embracing a life to be lived fully and with purpose.