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I think it's unfair to encourage others to "not give up," because it implies that stopping treatment is giving up. For some people, the decision to pursue neither medical treatment nor adoption isn't "giving up," it is a choice of what is best for them. Everyone has a stopping point, and some stopping points are much sooner than yours or mine. We shouldn't make people feel bad about reaching the point where it's just not worth it any more.

I think what Tertia is saying is that making a conscious choice is NOT giving in. I think that the CHOICE is what has you WIN. Giving up would be just accepting what happens. Choosing your path is what gives you power over the beast, so to speak. I agree that everyone has a place where they have to get off the bus, a stopping place, if you will. I don't think that Tertia was trying to make anyone feel bad by encouraging them to fight. I think more than anything, she was trying to encourage them to choose their path and if the choice is to live childless, or stop at a certain point, then they have won THEIR war, just in making that choice.

I don't assume to know that this is what you were saying, Tertia, this is just how your post came across to me.

Thanks Aurora for explaining, I guess I wasn't clear enough. Thank you Tracy for your honesty. That is why I asked the question.

I certainly dont regard stopping all treatment and getting off this mad treadmill as giving up or giving in, I think it is admirable and incredibly brave. It requires more strength to give up than to carry on.

I guess that is what I was worried about, about saying to someone 'don't stop fighting', when they can't or don't want to any more. I would hate to make them feel worse than they already do.

As always I appreciate the honest responses, I wouldn't ask the question unless I wanted to hear the truth, all versions of it.

I need to prevent myself from thinking other people think like I do.

Thanks for the battlecry Tertia! just what I needed this morning.

TERTIA..YOU GO GIRL! NEVER LET EM GET YOU DOWN! FUCK THEM AND THE HORSE THEY RODE IN ON..OH WELL, YOU GET THE PICTURE.....

I've tried very hard to learn in my adult life to not give advice unless it's asked for. To the people I know going through infertility treatment I say something like "I'm here for you, I respect you and your decisions, you have my support." Well, sure, I try to say it like that, but it doesn't always come out that way, I'm working on it. Now if someone asks for advice about a particular treatment I've been through well then out pours all sorts of advice. But I need to be better about not saying "I did (insert IF treatment here) and it worked for me!" because it may very well not work for them. Just trying to live and learn each day.

Warning: very long comment. Kind of boring but I need to vent.

Tertia,
Your blog is the first thing I read after my work email when I get to the office. I have laughed with you and cried for you and quoted some things you have said (and not given you credit - sorry).

I am now 13 weeks pregnant with twins (lost a triplet at 8 weeks). This was IVF #11. I did it in Israel because I couldn't afford to do it in the U.S> anymore. I was giving myself 12 IVFs before moving on to adoption.

I have had to explain why I kept trying to more people than I cared to think about. Many people said that they thought I stopped trying. I said that I just stopped telling people that I was trying. The cycle before this I miscarred at 6.5 weeks (over Mother's Day weekend) and I was more devastated than I had been after 9 BFNs. But I wouldn't give up.

Child free was not an option for me because my dh has 2 kids from his first marriage. We have them every 3 days and one full week each month when their mom travels. So that is a lot. Our schedules are planned around them, a substantial portion of our income goes to them, and when they're not with us, one of them is calling. (Not to mention the ex-wife from hell, but that is off topic). So kids, not mine, are a part of my life. I think I could have chosen child free but I never had that option.

My point is that my child free friends have told me that even with my present success (and it won't be a success until I hold my babies in my arms, but anyway ..)they are glad that they chose not to go through everything that I did. One of them went through 2 IVFs and it was 2 too many. She shudders when she thinks of 11 cycles for me. Another did 2 IUI and miscarried each time and while she admired me for doing PGD, said she couldn't deal with something that invasive. One more friend did not want to use ART at all, and just got tired of temping.

I don't judge any of them, and I can look at them and admire them for making a decision to stop. I could never do that. My dh told me that I was obsessed. I couldn't "fail" at anything. It was a challenge. For someone who knows me so well, he was very wrong. It wasn't success or failure. I just wanted a baby. I was on the adoption lists when I got pregnant. After a long battle, I finally convinced dh to let me use donor eggs. And it worked. I thought I would feel weird about it, but from the first time I saw those sacs, those babies were mine. And when I lost one of the three, I mourned. And each time I have so much heartburn my chest is on fire, I welcome it because they are mine. I don't even think about the genetic donor.

I don't know what my point is, I have rambled on so much. But I respect women who have chosen to stop and I admire that they knew when. I never did. And Tertia, you have been more of an inspiration than you could ever know. I pray for your twins just as I pray for mine.

Greetings...I have been reading this blog and laughing and crying and thinking because of all you share so openly.

After 5 years of trying to conceive, one miscarriage on Mother's Day 2003, and 3 IUIs, we are finally doing our first round of IVF. I started my shots Saturday. Anyway, this feels like the closest I have ever come to pregnancy and I guess you current blog entry really hit me because it will be a bit different. When one is in the trenches and hoping for a baby along with other women on an elusive path to parenthood, one doesn't really have to worry too much about coming across as too peppy or blithe or trite because one is right there in it and moments of hope are celebrated by others--they're happy for you when you feel good in the midst of this struggle-- and can be a source of encouragement to them. It doesn't seem like outside advice.

And one of the things you learn in the struggle, is fighting and even at times conquering that overwhelming despair. I guess I take your post to be more about wanting to help others fend off the despair...giving up isn't about a particular choice or point in treatment...it's about the morale you have with whatever choice you make.

And I think that if you just go on being you, I tend to think whatever you say is going to be helpful because it comes from the heart. You aren't saying "here's what you gotta do..."--I more get from you a vibe of empathy and being there for someone when it hurts and wanting to help fight with them and urge them through the hurt and despair. Well, the despair really. The hurt may always come and go and be around...but the attending despair is the part that can battled.

Anyway, these are just my ramblings. I'd love to blame the meds as some kind of intelligence altering substance. More than anything I am wishing you all the best with this pregnancy...you and your twins have a firm spot in my heart and prayers.

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in your blog. All the best to you!

If I understand you correctly, what you mean by "Don't stop fighting" is "Don't accept this fate if it's not what you want" - not necessarily "Don't give up on IVF." Is that right?

If so I think all you need to do is make that clear. That you're not trying to suggest they fight in one way rather than another - whether it's repeated IVFs or DE or GS or adoption or living childfree - just that they shouldn't feel they have to take what life is handing them lying down. There are options, there is a way to fight this through until they reach a point where they can live with the ending.

On the other hand there is always the danger that one will try to fix the problem, when what the other person really wants is to rage and grieve over what is happening to them. Maybe this is misguided - maybe they are despairing too soon - but they might need to work through that on their own time. Maybe there are stages of acceptance that have to take place even if you're going to pick yourself up later and keep fighting.

I don't think it is a bad thing to tell someone they shouldn't despair yet, especially if you think they are telling themselves the outlook is worse than it is. But I guess you should be prepared for it not to be what they need to hear.

Tertia,
I think your blog says it all. People come to decisions in their own time. I'm just now concluding that I am ready for an RE thanks in part to the stories you and Julie have told.
So thank you, for already having said what you were trying to say.

T, thanks. In light of my upcoming negative result (how optimistic am I? I know what a bitch IF can be...), I needed that.

I happen to be somebody who is constantly hearing the "should" in other people's comments ... even when they don't mean it that way. So probably "Don't give up the fight" could sound to me like "You shouldn't give up the fight." And whenever I hear that I should be doing (or not doing) something, I instantly feel guilty that I'm not doing something right, that I'm not good enough, brave enough, smart enough, whatever.

This, however, has a lot more to do with me and my hang-ups than with what anybody else actually says to me. And I think if you, Tertia, told me to fight the good fight, I would hopefully be able to look past my own weirdness and guilt and see that you mean to be supportive and nothing else. Then again, on a bad day, I might go into a rousing bout of self-flagellation.

So I guess all I'm saying is, beware the limitless depths of guilt that might be summoned by your perfectly innocent support. I'm thinking there's probably a lot of it in IF-land.

I agree with Lobster Girl but I don't think it's about hangups. Anytime a sentence starts with "you should...," or "why don't you ...," or "have you thought about...", or telling someone to do or not to do something, you are giving advise. Even "don't give up" is advise.

Sometimes when your with a friend discussing your life you want advise. You say things like "what would you do" or "how did you deal when you went through it". However, when your in a crisis situation (which I think IF is, one long never ending crisis)you don't want to be told what to do. There are already enough doctors and well intentioned others telling us what to do.

Its like after someone close to you dies. Someone will inevitably tell you to "you need to move on." People know what they "need" to do and telling them doesn't help.

The fact that your pregnant and open about your struggle and obvious conquest of IF, is enough. You don't need to tell anyone anything. They know it and will see it in your spirit and attitude.

Just my 2 cents.

Blessings to you and your babies!

Yeah, what Lobster Girl said. That's what I meant. When someone tells you "don't give up," you feel like a loser for stopping. Even if stopping is what you really want. I have two coworkers who stopped IF treatment. One moved on to adoption, the other didn't. I want to tell them not to give up, especially the one who just stopped everything, because I think she'd be pregnant by now if she just wanted it bad enough. The thing is, she doesn't. And that's her choice.

Now, for someone who is NOT ready to stop, big-time encouragement kicks ass. Not the crappy oblivious babydust-coated "I KNOW this cycle will work for you," because, let's face it, they really don't KNOW anything at all. But the "keep fighting," "I know this sucks but don't let it win," that kind of suppport, is a Good Thing. :-)

Tertia,

I so admire your strength and your ability to pick up and kick some ass. I admire and respect you for that and wish I had an ounce of that strength, or maybe, just maybe I'd have the strength to go on, to believe that if perhaps, I gave it a little more time...but I just feel like I've hit a wall. Infertility, at least for me, has made me question my very judgment on even the simplest of tasks because I feel so unsteady, my confidence peeled off like veneer.

You are an amazing lady and will make a wonderful mother.

Some of us don't fall in either camp. I can't say "I'm not going to let this beat me no matter what" because there is a very strong possibility that it will, due to finances. Believe me, if I had the financial resources, I would jump up and down at the opportunity to do so much more, anything more, than clomid. If IF treatments didn't work, or emotionally I could not take anymore, then adoption would be the next step. But ART and adoption aren't options for us. We just can't afford them.

I'm also not one of "those people who have decided living childfree is their choice, their way of winning the war." God bless them if they can make this decision and feel good about it. Truly. I want to know how they did it, because I can't. We may end up living childfree, but it sure as hell won't be by choice. And telling myself, or anyone else, that it was a choice would feel like lying.

I'm not sure what my point is here other than to offer you a different perspective. Like every other aspect of IF, everyone's situation is different.

How about:

"I admire the courage you've shown and know how hard it can be to continue on in the face of disappointments. I support you in whatever choice you make. My solution was to keep going but I know each situation is unique. My best thoughts go with you."

As someone still in the trenches, I like hearing the reminder that sometimes this does work out--that there are a variety of happy endings out there, whether IVF, donor eggs/sperm, surrogacy, or adoption.

But it depends on the source of the encouragement. Tertia, you're so blisteringly honest that I trust you in a way it's hard for me to trust others--especially others who've not been down the path and who don't know that the victories out there each have their own costs--financial, emotional, etc.

I continue to fight the battle because I can't imagine stopping, not yet, but I've never felt even remotely certain that I can win the war. I come to your blog--and Julie's and Julia's and so many others--to hear the battle cry.

I think we understand each other perfectly, you and me. This is EXACTLY how I feel, how I have felt for the past five years: "Fuck you, fate. Fuck you, pain and loss. I am stronger than I ever knew and I will not beaten and I will not be unhappy and I WILL get what I most desire."

It is not "easy for you" to tell others to keep fighting simply because you are pregnant now. You are pregnant now because you kept fighting.

Was it difficult? Of course. When you wrote that you have never been so close to suicide as you were after Ben's death my heart broke for you. You know what it is like to pick up pieces of yourself so small that they cannot even be seen and push forward. I admire that, I admire you, fiercely.

So what do you say to those who come to you, seeking solace in their own struggles? [I refuse, by the way, to believe that you would ever offer advice unasked.] You say what anyone who knows your story would expect you to say- keep fighting. That doesn't mean keep trying infertility treatments or keep pursuing IVF or keep reconciling yourself to any course of action that feels too burdensome, it just means keep fighting for your own happiness.

I would ride to battle with you any day.

I think this is such a good thing to think about what to say. On TLOL I always encouraged everyone DO NOT GIVE UP because of my situation. We were financially drained but I would have continued on and on however, DH would not adopt. That is the saddest thing to me because all I wanted was to be a "mom" all my life. I think when you lose a baby too, m/c is awful but to actually hold a baby that was yours makes all of it so much more of a reality, at least it did to me. It was the most awful experience I ever faced holding my baby and losing my baby. That made me want to fight even harder because I saw with my own eyes and felt with my arms that I had a baby even though they called it a miscarriage. Tertia, this is such a fine line it's almost as if you have to know where are the people in the infertility struggle, how much can they afford, how far are they willing to go? I felt as if the choice was cut off for me before I was ready but we had no choice. It would be much easier if I had made the choice myself.
I think to NOT give up leaves you with no regrets if you can look in the mirror and say I did all I could possibly do.

I think that Tertia's encouraging people to not give up (when done the right way like Tertia did, without the assvice or general assitude) is really just about propping up and empowering dispirited friends after another bitter infertility disappointment. I personally need to hear those words to keep me going, so that I can gather the strength to ignore the nasty voice in my head telling me I'm a big failure and that there's no point in trying to fight for what I want. The few friends I've had that encouraged me like Tertia did in her post helped me to do exactly that, they helped to galvanize my resolve in moving forward with IVF. But I agree with other commentors that it isn't just about encouraging us to keep pursuing IVF, it's encouraging us to not let the pain and disappointment win out over our drive to become mothers. Or at the very least to find peace with whatever outcome we choose as being the right one for us individually.

I'm a lover, not a fighter.

I agree with Dale Ann . . . what happens if you simply can't afford to do more than you're doing? Or, the other barrier, the inability to emotionally cope with this "process?" I love and admire Tertia's will to fight and her effect on my thoughts of worthlessness and questioning the real meaning of life (seriously) and my response to the endless comments of new parents (everywhere you turn) on the life-changing effect of their very young babies. I want Tertia to have those healthy, beautiful twins as much as anyone else. I love to have this forum, Tertia is amazing, and her response is to fight to the end. But, what if you don't have that in you, financially or emotionally? How do you come to terms with your situation? I'm so burdened with thinking of the answer to "why didn't you have kids?" for . . .the . . rest . . . of . . my . . . life. Like many of you, it's not my choice. But I'm losing this battle and the result is more profound than I know how to handle.

Telling someone not to give up is well-meant and I don't think it would offend. At the same time, I think that any comment can hurt at any time, depending on the situation/ mood of the receiver. Sometimes, one just needs an ear to listen, and the most well-meant of encouragements can feel like pressure to do something.

I'd go with the classic "I don't want you to fix me - I want you to listen"

For me, a "keep on trying" message from an effortlessly-fertile might or might not be annoying. From you or someone like you who has fought her way through hell, that message would give me hope.

I think that message still applies to someone who is through with the babyquest...because that person is probably fighting to accept/grow to love the childfree choice. It's kind of a "keep on fighting infertility to get to happiness" -- whatever that happiness may entail.

YOU. GO. GIRL!

Screw those turtle board freaks!

BRILLIANT ADVISE!!!! I hope Im not too late in saying: "good luck for today" Im thinking of you the whole way through, and awaiting an update post in angst. (((((please let all be well with the LBC, please???? Amen))))))))))

Love your trio to bits!

just the fact that you asked this question shows how cosiderate you are.

I think it all depends where it's coming from. Someone like you, who has gone through so much to be where you are, obviously means it as encouragement, UNDERSTANDING where the person is holding, having been there yourself.

I don't know if I could take that from someone super-fertile who has no idea what it's really like.

obviously, I meant considerate.

Tertia, thank you for saying that you respect those who are childfree. Too bad others who are posting their comments can't be as respectful of a perfectly valid life choice. I have PCOS and level 4 endo, so the likelihood of my getting pregnant without IVF is slim to none.

I realize that I never wanted children myself bad enough to do go through the hell that is fertility treatment, so I didn't try. If that makes me a freak, so be it. Last I knew, being childfree is not a character defect.

I saw posts on Tuttle's board that said you were selfish. That is a comment that is leveled on everyone, especially those who don't have kids. I personally don't understand how living the life you want is selfish. Don't sweat it.

And for the record, anyone, childfree or no, who would wish a miscarriage on anyone deserves to be righteously bitch-slapped.

I think you are all so brave. I have been a lurker for a while, reading your infertility blogs. And you are all so brave. I am in awe of your courage, of your strength, your wit, of your dignity and warmth even on those despair-filled days when you think you have none left. Your pain is piercing. I wish I had the right words but I know there are is no such thing. So I will just say I will be thinking of you, all of you, and wishing you best of luck. And I will come out of the closet and finally post comments. You have my deepest respect.

I think that what you say depends on who you're talking too. We infertiles are a huge and diverse group...there is no 1 answer that will fit all. Personally, if I don't know enough about the person to have a good feel for what they might find comforting, I stick with something like: "I'm so sorry you're going through this. I am really hoping that it gets better for you soon." I've come to that b/c so many well-meaning people have irked me by saying the exact wrong thing without even knowing.

For example, I hate the people who 'know' I'm going to have a baby one day. Because you know what? You DON'T know that!!

I hate the people talking about God's Plan...if this is GOD's PLAN, then let me tell you where I think think this plan will go!

Ahh, maybe feeling a little angry today....

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