Second Guessing

Have you ever put something out there, and when you got no response, you started to second guess yourself? And you realized that when people respond to your thoughts it’s not just to lend support or lift you up, it’s also to assure that they agree, that they are of like mind on the issue. And as the silence stretches your mind starts to turn in circles and you want to back pedal and you re-visit what you said and you wonder if it was what you said or how you said it that kept everyone silent.

Suddenly all these doubts and fears surface and you’re not sure where they came from. And then you realize they had been inside you all along, the silence just coaxed them to the surface.

I think I have wondered, every time I have written about it, if ambivalence is accepted in this community. In a group where women are so desperate to have a child, would literally do anything in their power to bring a life into the world, is there room for those who oscillate, who sometimes fear the intense reality of that awesome act? Sometimes I wonder, if I’m not in this 100%, should I even be writing about it at all? Can I lay claim to the horrible pain of this journey in one post and then explore my fears of actually reaching the other side in another? Is that right? Is that fair? The answers aren’t clear, especially when women who have not yet achieved a viable pregnancy, or have walked away from the hope of every having one, are reading.

The truth is, I want another baby very, very much. But I also want a nurturing relationship and a fulfilling job and stable finances and my own mental health. And I’ve lived my own life long enough to know that for me, those things may be mutually exclusive.

I also worry about the path I’m choosing to take. Will people resent the fact that I’m turning my back, for the time being, on Western medicine to instead embrace Eastern beliefs about the female body and what it is capable of? In all the hundreds of blogs I’ve read over the years I’ve ONLY ONCE come across anyone who chose diet changes, acupuncture, Chinese herbs and body work over Western medicine. Some have used it in conjunction with treatments, but I’ve never read of anyone forgoing treatments to pursue Eastern treatments completely.

Of course I’m not doing that, at least not completely. I’m putting my Western treatments on hold. But the truth is, the more I examine my life, and our finances, and how I feel about all of this, the less sure I am of what Western interventions I’m going to pursue. I just don’t know if that is the right path for me.

All I do know for sure is that when I think about the few IUIs we could afford, the medications, the probable injections, the tests, the appointments, the financial stress, the meager chances of success, the possible regret, I’m filled with nothing but dread. In that world I have a horrible diagnosis that all but guarantees I will not respond well to treatments. In that world I am expected to fail before I’ve even begun.

But when I think of Eastern treatments, when I explore how I can support my own body to do what it is meant to do, I don’t feel broken at all. I feel whole, or on a path to wholeness. I feel hope.

And I don’t know how my beliefs are going to be received. I feel like I’m doing things differently, and I worry that other women will think I’m judging them based on the fact that I’m not doing things they way they did them. Even though each couple, each situation, each diagnosis is different, and I would never argue that my path is the right one for someone else. I would never try to convince someone to do what I’m doing, but I worry that just in writing about it, it will seem that I’m doing just that.*

It’s interesting, this post uncovered thoughts and fears I didn’t even realize I had. I am so thankful for this space, in this community, that pushes me to look inside myself, to know myself more fully.

Like so many times before, what I thought were fears about how others saw my choices were actually my own fears about those choices. Am I prepared to trust in my own body, to have the patience and acceptance to give it the time it needs? Is my desire to walk this path really just a fear of the other one? Is my ambivalence about having another child genuine? Or just another disguise for my crushing fear of failure? These are the questions this post is really about. Not whether or not other people accept me.

Thirst post is not about second guessing what I said or how people took it. This post is about second guessing how I feel myself.

*I want to make it clear that no one has given me any reason to believe they feel this way. These are my own insecurities and they are based much more on the way I have responded myself to other people’s posts than in how anyone has responded to me.

13 responses

  1. I hope this doesn’t get taken the wrong way… I fight the tendency to go round in circles and analyse emails/phone calls/conversations to the nth degrees myself – so many times I have found well after the fact that the things I have worried about have been so far from the reality of the other person’s perception. I think this may well be the case here – I debated whether to respond to your last post but decided against it.

    For me, the path you are taking doesn’t really trigger any thoughts in me (and I did acupuncture/herbs solely for close to 2 years as my DH was completely and utterly opposed to any form of AC and was happy with our 1 child) but what did was your assumptions about your MIL starting retirement with a year and a half of fulltime care of an infant/toddler (you said you didn’t assume but your next sentence said you always thought she would) Of course I have no idea of your family dynamics but I truly hope you find your path through this, that you manage to keep your relationships strong

  2. You are not the only person having those thoughts, that you want a second child but aren’t sure how it fits with the other things you want. Last night at 4 am, after being up for 3 hours, I was thinking that myself! I think everybody feels that way, with their first or second or whatever.

    And FWIW, I never think you’re judging anybody by your choice to use Eastern methods to improve your chances to get pregnant. I wish the medical establishment recognized their benefits more. And in your situation, it’s something that’s more affordable and has a chance of helping, so I think it makes a lot of sense.

  3. Every path is different.

    In the last 10 years I have gone back and forth with Eastern vs. Western treatments and have pursued both. I think they both have their place in my life, others MMV.

    I never got pregnant solely by using Eastern treatments but I know you have, so I understand your enthusiasm for them despite the RE’s recommendations.

  4. I don’t think that you’re alone in being conflicted. Even about having another child in the first place. There were moments when — dare I say this — in the midst of my grief about my miscarriages, there was a small sigh of relief … well, maybe things will be the same. Of course, they *weren’t* the same. But there were times when I mentally could not handle both the idea of grief and loss AND the mental energy of preparing to fit another child into my life at the same time, and I don’t think I should beat myself up for that. We hold whatever we have the capacity to hold in our hearts, and that changes with time and circumstance.

  5. I have no advice or suggestion on what to do–your path is yours. I do love how you said you felt hopeful and whole thinking about non-Western treatments. It makes sense to go in the direction you feel hopeful, at least for a little while.

    More importantly, I think that being able to articulate ambivalence is a sign of maturity. Sometimes when people feel 100% sure about something, it’s because they’re afraid to feel the contradictory thoughts that come up when one is fully engaged in real life. I know without question that a person can both want another child desperately AND feel nervous about the effects of a pregnancy and a child on the other areas of her life. I don’t see those feelings or desires as mutually exclusive in any way. I get what you’re saying here, though, that once you’ve chosen a path, some things will be excluded. But you’re not there yet–you’re just articulating the ambivalence and trying to come to terms with it. Nothing is off the table and you’re being very mature in feeling and acknowledging the ambivalence.

    For this reader and member of the community of virtual friends of Esperanza (is that community? I think so…), I’m completely fine reading about your ambivalent feelings and thoughts. They are among the many things that make your voice so real to me–it’s mature, thoughtful, and ultimately, more identifiable than so many other writers. I have a hard time identifying with writers who know everything they want and have a clear path laid out for them. I’m envious of them in some ways, but your voice and other ambivalent complicated women are the ones I find most valuable.

  6. I think we all go with our guts – all of our situations, circumstances, diagnosis are so different. I can tell you right now that I wouldn’t have done IUIs or IVF if we didn’t have outstanding medical coverage. I would have been much more drawn to a more Eastern methods, but my insurance doesn’t cover that and I can tell you how much it hurts to pay out of pocket for those appointments and the anxiety that brings.

    That’s all we can do, do what feels right on our IF journeys, because there are no guarantees (unfortunately). – if your gut is telling you right now that Eastern methods are the right way to move forward, then absolutely follow it. Only you now what the right path is, and if you feel whole and comfortable moving forward with a more Eastern method, then go for it. Things might change later too, and that’s okay.

    If this IVF fails, I can see myself going a different route – more eastern methods or just taking a break for a bit before getting serious about following another path. No judgement from me, we’re all just scraping along doing the best we can with what we’re given. Wishing you the best of luck.

    I’ve been following along this blog, thought you might be interested in it too:

  7. I think many people find themselves ambivalent about having more children for many, MANY reasons! The only reasons that matter are the ones that are YOURS.

    No judgement here!

  8. I am so pleased you have written this. The question of whether ambivalence is accepted in this community is one I have skirted around a lot. I think that is why those of us who have gone on to live without children have felt that maybe there’s not room for us, because we have not (in the perceptions of some) done everything in our power to bring a life into the world. So I can relate to your fear in putting your thoughts out there. Ultimately though, I think that most people in this community accept ambivalence, accept other approaches and other lifestyles. And maybe they understand it more than we know. Judgements, if they are made, say more about the person making the judgement than those they might be judging.

  9. I say go with your gut. Take the jump on Eastern medicine…I like some others have posted did what I did because of the insurance coverage I had. My coverage is now extremely limited so my attempts at TTC #2 are limited as well.

    Everyone has an opinion. The most important is yours when concerning how you choose to build your family. I am here to support you no matter what. I wish you the best…and will keep hoping and praying for you…

    PS just came from an acupuncture appointment and my TCM guy mentioned how some people go through all kinds of Western Medicine and give up then try Eastern Medicine and find answers. I hope this is your way to answers and the second child you so desire!

  10. Your and your partner’s gut feelings about this are what really matters. I’m a strong believer that your gut will lead you the right way, whatever that way turns out to be. Ambivalence about family-building is maybe not really common in this community, but I’ve read some great posts about it. Mylazyovaries comes to mind.

  11. Hi Esperanza,
    I been thinking of you. I couldn’t let this post go by without saying that I understand what you are talking about. I don’t write very often about my own lack of desire,frankly, to have a second(bio)child… Mostly for the reasons that you write here. I do often wonder how it might be received in the community.

    I don’t think you followed my blog when I was actively TTC but I had a number of years where I pursued just holistic/eastern treatment. I was not prepared to go to IVF as soon as my RE recommended it. I can’t say enough about the acupuncture treatment I had in conjunction with my eventual IVF…And the year or so that I spent with my homeopath was more about taking care of me and I am so glad– it did prepare me for the eventual emotional journey that I took in doing IVF; everyone has their own path. I just wanted to say that I vividly remember not wanting to jump both feet into the allopathic direction.

    Love to you and yours,


  12. If it’s what you’re comfortable with, then it’s the best thing you can do, and forget the rest of the world’s opinions. I must admit to being slightly to frequently ambivalent about this whole “quest for a perfect family” thing because sometimes I see just how much trying tears me up. I don’t see a lot of discussions about that ambivalence either because it could be bad luck, or because it could be seen as not being grateful enough for whatever. It’s certainly there for me though. I figure it’s a natural part of coping with how hard it all is, to go from very invested to very ambivalent about the icky parts of it.

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