I have been thinking a lot about hope and realism. Which is better to embrace in IF world? Should you hold into hope through every cycle, milestone, injection no matter how bleak the odds? Or should you brace yourself for bad news at every step along the way so the fall doesn’t feel so hard?

I would always default to ‘hope’ in my ‘normal’ life. I was always glowingly optimistic about my future, people around me, even sales deals I was working on. Blindly optimistic. It seemed to work. My optimism seemed to propel me towards success, make the people around me live up to my visions of them and make my future feel bright and happy.

In IF world I am not so sure it is the way to go. That first cycle I was so sure I would get pregnant that when I continually got bad news ( few eggs, few fertilized, even fewer growing, low quality) I was still so sure the one embryo they transferred on day 3 would stick. When I got the call it didn’t work, it was the most despair I have felt in my life. My world crumbled. Then each cycle after that, I would brace myself for the bad news and when it came, I felt more resilient. I felt like I was expecting it and not blindsided.

When I finally got the news I was pregnant, I almost didn’t register it. I didn’t feel immediate joy, only relief. My husband and I equated what we were feeling to learning that a friend who had been in a car accident was going to live. I apologize for the graphic analogy but that is how it felt. Relief after a shock but still trauma and no joy.

Throughout my pregnancy, I would allow moments of excitement and joy but always tempered them in my mind. I waited to truly celebrate until my son was in my arms. Did I waste the beautiful journey of pregnancy? Probably. But I really couldn’t help it.

As I continue on this IF path, I wonder if bracing for the bad and not expecting the good is the right approach. Am I wasting an opportunity to be happy and hopeful in the interim? I am not sure this question is even worth asking because I don’t think my heart and mind would allow the vulnerability of optimism. Granted- of course I have hope or why else would I go through the physical and emotional toll of IVF- but I know all too well what can go wrong. My mind won’t let me be blindly optimistic even if I wanted to.

I read the blogs of women who are strongly guided by their faith and God. They seem blindly hopeful that God will provide. I am envious of that blind faith. It sounds so reassuring.

After mulling this over, I have finally settled on something that has brought me peace. It is something my mom and twin sister believe and shared. That spirits find their way to us when they are supposed to. That the right baby and right spirit will find its way to me when it should. Holding my son and knowing he is the one spirit and one soul that is meant to be mine, I believe this with all that I am.

Hoping every single one of you have your spirits find you soon. The gift is infinitely greater than all of the pain and heartache of waiting.