This is a story about me being mad. It’s taken almost two months before I could actually write it down in a way that makes sense.

I’m 37 now, and I’m going through a bit of a mid-life crisis. You know, the kind where you question whether or not this is the life you want to live, your career choices, and the path ahead. In December, I’d been single for six months and realized that this was my natural, comfortable state of being. And as a result of that, if I was thinking about maybe someday possibly having a kid, I would need to really consider doing it alone. And because 37 is sort of that last year where I intuitively thought getting pregnant would be relatively easy, if I was going to have a kid, I should try to get pregnant in 2012.

Now, I’m a planner. I’m a thinker. I weigh decisions. Sometimes I leap (like when I moved to the US on a hope and a prayer). Other times I prevaricate. But the one thing about my life is clear – I like to make informed decisions.

So I asked my doc if she could tell whether or not I could get pregnant. We had a chat where I told her I wanted to go to Spain and think about whether or not I wanted to have a kid. And if I came back and said yes, I would pursue it this September. She sent in a referral to the fertility clinic here in Ottawa with a note to schedule for September.

Except they had a cancellation and called me and I thought “hey, at least I’ll know what my options are before going to Spain”. So I went in to the clinic (and made my best friend and her then four month old go with me, so I wouldn’t misinterpret anything. (Side note: yes, we’re fully aware that when we go out with the kids we put off a strong air of lesbian parents. We’re okay with it.) I told the doctor that I wasn’t sure about whether or not I wanted a child, but that if I was going down that road, I would only do intrauterine insemination, and not IVF.

The doc, who I’m pretty sure was younger than I am, ordered some tests. They were uncomfortable and intrusive and one was brutally painful. At the last test, a doctor determined that my fallopian tubes are blocked. Now, if you’re a fertility doctor, this is just about the best news you can give someone because it means their IVF is covered by the provincial health care plan. If you’re someone who doesn’t know they have a fertility problem, it’s pretty brutal news.

I cried. And then I left the clinic and I called my best friend and I cried some more. And then I went to work and cried. And I went home and cried. I think I cried for three days. Because I know that, while I totally support other people who pursue IVF for themselves, it’s not the right choice for me.

A lot of people asked me why IVF wasn’t an option. There’s a lot of reasons, but it boils down to this: I believe that life begins at conception. Fundamentally, that causes issues for me and IVF (this is me talking, and it’s personal, and though I understand you may and probably do feel differently, your opinion is irrelevant to me because it’s my body and my feelings). First, there’s the weird concept of conceiving outside the body (which feels kind of wrong). Then, more importantly, there’s almost always 2 (or more) viable embryos.

What do you do with the extra embryo? There’s no way I’d implant two – the thought of being a single mother with twins is more than I can handle (though I have a friend who is just that and is awesome at it). Do you keep it frozen indefinitely? Do you donate it? Do you have it destroyed? None of these options are tolerable to me, though donation is the most tolerable (and the only one that isn’t technically legal). I know people who have implanted their extra embryos. I know people who have destroyed them. I respect both decisions. They’re not for me.

Innately, that’s my position, and I can’t seem to figure out a way around it. But here’s the thing… I wish I hadn’t had to make this choice. I’m actually really mad, at myself, at life, and at timing.

Not because of what happened, but because I never got to think through whether or not I really wanted to have a child. I never got to say “yeah, I’m willing to make those sacrifices, change my lifestyle, do the million things you do for a child”. I never got to say “you know what, that’s not the life I want”. I never got to think through it. Because I was supposed to do that in Spain, on a trail, and I haven’t left the country yet.

I’m mad because there was a cancellation. I’m mad because I decided to get the tests before I went. I mad because I have great ovaries and tons of eggs and crappy tubes. I’m mad because I’m a logical human being who can’t get past a belief. I’m mad because of the way a stupid doctor told me what she thought was good news, and which ended up changing how I think about myself.

So, now I’m going to Spain knowing I’m not going to have a child of my own. And I have a different frame for my questions. This is not the adult life I expected when I was in my early 20s. Am I happy with where I am? If not, what do I want to change, and how badly do I want to change it? What does my life on this trajectory look like? What decisions do I need to make? The vast majority of my friends have kids. What role do I want to play in their lives? What role do I want kids to have in my life?

I’m already Cool “auntie” Kerry. Pretty much every kid I know loves me. I’m patient, I’m fun, and I will try all sorts of things. Plus, I’m a wicked good reader of books. I do the voices. I make the sound effects. I’m kinda awesome that way. It’s probably better this way – I can be all those things to the kids in my life without ever hating them for making me sacrifice.

So, yeah. It’s taken a while to get to the point where I could even attempt a logical explanation of what’s going on in my head. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Eventually, I’ll get over being mad. Eventually, I’ll be fully at peace with this decision. Eventually. I just need to get there. And I hope the trail will help.

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