I’m writing this post as part of Project IF, the effort by RESOLVE and Mel of Stirrup Queens to highlight consequences of infertility as part of National Infertility Awareness Week.
What if my son would never have a sibling?
That ran through my mind so many times over the course of eight years. My son is a wonderful child, but he has troubles relating to others. Often he is a loner and in his own world. It is an imaginative, intelligent and creative world, but it is also often isolating. He latches onto a few core friends, but he is not that social. He is more at home with adults than his peers. All I could think about is how I would be failing him by not giving him a brother or sister.
I had always wanted another child. Not right away, not right after he was born. But, as he got to be about three years old, we decided that we would like another child.
As my son got to be five years old, my focus tended to shift on giving him something I could see he needed. He needed a sibling. He needed another child to relate to within our family structure.
He was diagnosed with ADHD with social pragmatic issues. As we went into school meeting after school meeting, I could often hear the unsaid debate going on with the educators -- if he was not an only child, maybe he could relate to other children more, maybe be more socialized...
We spent five years trying before we tried a fertility clinic. Fertility treatments were the last thing I had ever thought about through the many years of trying. I was not really aware of infertility or clinics. I knew one acquaintance who was having shots for fertility issues. And I did not think about it at all. Like most people, I did not think about these issues until I was faced with them myself. And, like most people, once I started fertility treatments, I found that all along there were people I knew who were struggling to have what I already had--a beautiful child to call their own.
As my son approached his eighth birthday, I started worrying. We were going to try to do up to three IVF/ICSI cycles. Was it too late to have a sibling for him? Was our baby obsession going to take away from our son and his issues? Maybe we just needed to focus on him only. Maybe he was destined to be an only child. What if we just stopped?
But. I needed to try. I needed, not only for myself and my husband. But for my son, who I knew, just knew, would be a wonderful big brother. My son, who needed someone who would be on his side when I was not able to be. My son, who needed someone to care for and be affectionate and loving to.
And I cannot believe my good fortune. Because our second cycle brought me my wonderful daughter. And she has proven to me what I knew all along--my son is a wonderful big brother, full of love, warmth and attention. To see him interact with her makes me happy and content, knowing that despite their age gap, they will be there for each other.
To see my son mature and grow, caring for his sibling and receiving such love back from her--it is what I wished for so many times.