Thursday, April 24, 2014

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

Normally, this is the kind of "advice" that would just piss me off. (Sorry for the blunt language, but I didn't want to pussyfoot around. I can be something of a curmudgeon, if you hadn't realized that before.) Honestly, it's the kind of "advice" that annoys a lot of people with infertility; I would put it in the same category with "I just know you're going to be parents someday! Don't give up!" (Really? Do you have a crystal ball or some special in with God?)

But coming from this friend... well, I just couldn't get upset. Quite frankly, I have absolutely no freaking idea how the heck she is as positive as she is. She's the only person I know who is more positive than my husband, which is saying something, since I have been known to refer to Husbandido as "The Infernal Optimist." She's only a couple (few?) years older than Husbandido and me, and yet she's had more back surgeries than I can count. If I think I spend a lot of time laying on the sofa feeling lousy, well, I'm a complete piker compared to her. It seems like she ends up flying to Germany at least once a year for back surgery. On top of all that, in her most recent letter she admitted that the last surgery went well, but there were problems with the recovery. Post-surgery she was in a coma, but "just a little one." (Her words, not mine.) It "only" lasted overnight. Also while she was in the hospital recovering, there was a mixup in medicines, which caused a severe reaction. Even now that she is home, it is hard for her to write even a short note. Coming from someone who has undeniably suffered so much more than I, her comments were humbling. 

But what does it mean to "never give up, never surrender?" I think most of us would acknowledge that there may very well come a time to stop treatment, and not everyone is called to adoption. To me, it means waiting and making decisions when you are in the right frame of mind, not when it is CD1 when the loss is overwhelming, and maybe not when you are overwhelmed with hope because your doc has come up with a treatment that really should work. It means being able to weigh your chances against the costs (monetary, physical, and emotional) and make a good decision. It means praying for guidance and peace, listening to that still, small, voice, and letting Him answer. Getting to that point can be a real struggle, but it may be the only way to make a decision that won't either leave you utterly spent or with niggling doubts about "what if we had tried just this one more thing?"


  1. My DH and I reached a definite point of surrender and waving the proverbial white flag in our seeking out of treatments for our IF struggles. Because honestly, I was at a point where I thought we had a moral obligation to keep going like we needed to prove how open to life we were that we would go to the ends to the earth to try to achieve a pregnancy (within the confines of what is acceptable for Catholics, that is). And by ends of the earth, we had barely started to scratch the surface as compared to what a lot of people do and I was already getting burnt out. Anyway, thankfully a priest and also one of my SILs gave us some good advice to help dispel that myth (about it being a moral obligation to continuing on with treatment.)

    And in full disclosure, I kind of sheepishly mention that yes, only 1 week after we had decided to stop treatment we got a BFP after over 2 years of trying (I was on my 4th round of clomid, along with HCG, and progesterone that cycle and our decision was to not take anything starting with the next cycle - well, that cycle never came). The reason I am a bit hesitant to bring that up is because I feel like it is the proverbial "just try to adopt and you will be sure to get pregnant" that we all dislike hearing and is not helpful in discerning whether or not to continue on with treatment. In our case although factually, yes, something somewhat akin to that happened, but I don't think God was just waiting around thinking "those silly folks, I am not going to let them get pregnant until they surrender to me."

    I am not sure if all of this makes sense, but just know that I support you in whatever you decide!

  2. Hahaha! "The Infernal Optimist", I love it!

    But on to more important things. I love your friend's advice, but it depends on how you look at it. In some ways, surrendering to God was a big part of my life in the last couple of years. In many ways, it changed nothing, but in many ways it changed everything. Surrendering doesn't mean that I've entirely given up on my hopes and dreams, but just that it's no longer the entire end all be all.

    On the other hand, letting go of my death grip has allowed me on other levels to "fight for it", to not surrender to despair. My spin instructor tells us all the time, "You have one life, fight for it!" To me, that is coming to mean that I keep going after finding a way to live the life that I have to the most full that I can. To push harder than I thought I could push. To get stronger than I thought I could get. To delight in what is in my life, even while I accept the pain and mourn the loss of what is not there. In that way, I never want to give up, never want to surrender, never want to stop living my story. Your friend sounds amazing, by the way.

  3. "There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough." I pinned that quote a little over a year ago, feeling at my wits end, but feeling like if we took a break, we were giving up. It spoke words to my heart that let me know I wasn't giving up or surrendering, but rather that it was OK to take a break, or even stop.
    Much like JBTC, we've not done nearly what others have, but I was at my breaking point and just needed a break, but when we took that break, I was also in my heart willing to accept it as we were done.
    I agree, these decisions can't be made on the hormone roller coaster, I think they have to be worked through one step at a time.
    Thank-you for sharing this. Praying for you!

  4. when I first saw the title, I thought of one of my favorite movies, the first knight, wherre Sean Connery, King Arthur, says that line. I love how you explained that not giving up is being willing to listen to that still small voice from the Lord.