I’ve struggled a lot with feelings of guilt around having to go the route of surrogacy and using a gestational carrier. It’s been extremely overwhelming at times, and there have been many tears shed alone, and with my husband. While I don’t have the experience of actual infertility, the reason we are in this position is because of me — because of my illness, it is not safe for me, or my child, for me to be the one to carry. Growing up, we are surrounded by the narrative that a woman’s most important job is to bring life into the world. When you can’t fulfill that responsibility, at times you can feel useless and like a failure, and it feels like I have failed my husband by not being able to give him a child. Add on top of that how much it’s costing us to have a child with surrogacy and the guilt can pile up to be unbearable. I’m sure I’m not the only woman that feels this way, but it’s easy to think that way because it seems that infertility is still not widely & openly talked about.
Mike has always tried to reassure me, telling me he doesn’t blame me at all, that he married me knowing this, and I need to be kinder to myself. If there were issues with Mike that put us in this situation, I would never hold any resentment towards him, but often we are kinder to the ones we love than we are to ourselves. The stress of the cost of this process makes things harder because it serves as a constant reminder that I’m the reason we have to do this. Every week we are confronted with an unexpected cost and because of that I continuously worry about our financial future. We are making sacrifices to have this family that we want so badly, and it’s hard to not feel guilty when I think about putting Mike in this situation. We’ve been told that kids are worth every penny, but it’s hard when you’re the one writing that check. An added layer to all of this is my inability to help with the finances. This illness has taken so much from me, and my job is one of those things. My symptoms are still so debilitating that I’m unable work consistently, so while we are forced to spend this money, I’m unable to contribute to the fund.
All of these things continue to add up and contribute to my emotional health, and honestly it’s been a huge struggle for me. I wish I had some great advice for letting these feelings go, but it’s a constant work in progress for me. Whether it’s a chronic illness or infertility that has brought you to read this, just try to remember: it’s out of your control. It is not my fault I got chronic Lyme disease. It is not my fault that there hasn’t been enough research to assure the safety of myself and my future child. If you are a person of faith I can only suggest you rely on that. I have trust that there is a reason I’m on this journey, forcing me to grapple with these feelings of doubt and guilt, but in the end I really do believe it will all work out. One thing I can tell you: give yourself some grace. That’s what I try to remind myself when these heavy, debilitating feelings of guilt creep into my mind.