How Do You Know When to Stop Trying for a Baby?

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

After three years, multiple IVF cycles, two devastating miscarriages, and countless setbacks … Aela’s road to motherhood has been anything but easy. Follow her story on Babble and don’t miss the latest chapter in her journey below.


I know the first response of so many will be: JUST ADOPT. I’m not going to have that conversation here, but you’re welcome to hear what I’ve already said about that.

Between my wife and I, we’ve now lost four babies to miscarriage. I lost the twins at 17 weeks, my wife lost her pregnancy at 12 weeks, and then I most recently lost another pregnancy at 10 weeks.

No one ever expects it to be this difficult of a journey, littered with so much heartbreak. Sadly, our story isn’t even the most tragic out there. Countless women have lost many more pregnancies than we have. But each time it happens, I’m left wondering how much more we can endure. I hear stories from others, with the intent to encourage us, about how they’ve lost 7, 8, 9, 12, or more pregnancies before they got their “rainbow baby.”

I can’t imagine going through another loss, let alone having half a dozen more, before becoming a mother to a living child.

But then when I consider ending this journey as we now know it, I can’t get this image out of my head.

What if the next attempt brings us our child?

But what if it doesn’t? And what if the attempt after that doesn’t either?

What if I keep miscarrying? At what point is it no longer fair to my spirit — which breaks more with every new bleed — to keep trying unsuccessfully?

At what point do you face the music and start the new journey of re-imagining a different life for yourself?

It’s a tough scale to balance. This painful journey is temporary, and it will only end with a birth or when we say, “No more.” I’m not sure when either of those things will happen. Or even which it will be.

And then there’s the guilt. Am I weak for questioning if I have the strength to endure this? How are other women able to get through multiple miscarriages and keep going? There are so many wonderful and beautiful things in this world that bring me joy. Shouldn’t I be happy enough with that? Couldn’t I be? Is it possible that I don’t even deserve to be a mother when I’m so filled with doubt? Shouldn’t I just KNOW to stay the course? And how can so many other people believe in me — in this journey and what will come of it — when I’m not sure I even believe?

Everyone says, “Stay positive. It will happen.” Are my doubts, my uncertainty, my fear causing some sort of block to progress? How do I know if I’m not just one of those women who can’t have kids? Is there a bigger health issue at hand that hasn’t been discovered yet?

This journey has my head spinning and my heart sinking. I’m not sure which way is out.

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