When enough is enough? This is a question I have felt having the answer for many, many times. An answer I felt conviction in giving, even though I sensed a painful guilt in admitting it. An answer I felt logic, even though I knew it was not rational. An answer I felt right, even though it did not seemed so.
And the answer was always simple, it was always the same: Now! When enough is enough? It is now! At the very moment we’ve got the news that once again our efforts were in vain. At the time my wife and I were both lying in bed after being told unsuccessful. At the time when it hurt in ways I felt no recovery possible.
But such answer was scary. An answer that I felt was definitive and, as such, would imply my defeat. It would imply I had given-up. It would imply I had lost faith. Yes it gave me a strange sense of comfort in knowing that somehow I was gaining control of the situation, but a control that was coming at too high of a price tag. No, it was not a rational answer. It was a “reactional” one. One resulting of my emotional tiredness and my mental exhaustion. One that I could not tell if it was right or wrong.
I however, as presumably most human beings, like to think that I have the ability to differentiate from other less evolved species by presenting two simple characteristics: forgetfulness and hope.
It is remarkable how quickly I forget about the challenges of the previous treatments when embarking in new ones… Like many fellow humans, I have had countless hurting, non-fertility related experiences in life. Therefore, the simple recollection of them, made me not look forward to repeat the mistakes that led me to feel that pain in the first place. And my logic behind such feeling was simple: I had the understanding of such mistakes and had little hope that I could change the outcome, therefore the pain would be inevitable. So the conclusion was easy: I knew it would burn me, so I was not going to put my unprotected finger on the fire. Pretty much a male-type, straight-forward and rational way of thinking, correct? Yes. Consequently, the “now” answer would be acceptable at the end of yet another unsuccessful pregnancy attempt, right? Well, no. Not quite…
And that was because I felt that logic did not applied to fertility treatments, as it was missing a key component: hope.
At every new fertility treatment we did, I had hope. Since we do not have a “definitive” diagnose for what is causing our affliction, Doctors could not pin-point the steps in our path that caused our pain, so, in theory, all new treatments were new ones. Ones that would learn from its predecessors and project a different outcome. Ones that would not oversight potential flaws made in the past. Ones that learned how to make a positive impact on the final result. So, at every new cycle, I had the conviction that it would work. At every new two-week period I was sure it would be the last. And that made me forget about the pain. And that made me focus on the positive result to come and not on the negatives of the past. And that made me believe a different outcome was possible. A positive one! Yes, hope most definitely made me forget.
So I think that the real answer to the “when enough is enough” question is: it depends.
Really, it depends. Is there hope that the fertility treatment this time would be different? Is there hope that the Doctor have found something new in the many clinical exams we did? If yes, then my answer would probably be “let’s see” when enough is enough… I have tried to put definitive milestones to help me with the decision making, but all fell apart when hope came to play. Were we having financial difficulties to keep-up with the cost of the treatment? Well, if there was hope I for sure found ways to come-up with the money. Was I reaching a “key age” to become a father? Well, if there was hope I reassured myself that an extra year or two would not be too much of a problem in the long run. Yes, all milestones were demolished by my hope bulldozer!
Our journey through couple’s infertility definitely made me grow conscious about the odds, but not discouraged. If I Mother Nature has a formula for procreation, I am convinced that I have uncovered the most important empirical element of it all: Hope. And I for sure continue to have it!