My husband and I endured 12 months of fertility treatments with a successful IVF in month 13. We considered ourselves lucky and blessed. When the time came to try for another using our frozen embryos, we endured another year of hormones and tests, but all four transfers were unsuccessful. It’s been a year and a half since that last failed embryo transfer, and I can only now say I do not want another child.
I finally feel my family is whole.
So, why did it take this time for me to finally accept this reality? I not only had to mourn the loss of a potential child, but I had to contend with a serious illness—depression. As I wrote about on Kveller, dealing with clinical depression while also raising my daughter was among the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But as difficult and painful as it was, the time was also a gift. As I recover from depression, I am able to think clearly and see not just the black and white, but all of the colors in between.
My husband, daughter, and I are a tight team. In the evenings and on the weekends, the three of us do almost everything together. I know this will change as she gets older but for now, this is cherished time. I used to worry about her growing up with no siblings. I have two brothers and whether I like to admit it or not, they did help shape who I am. Siblings can be accessible playmates, heroes, helpers, and supporters. I used to question where my daughter would get these important influences.
Now, I don’t question it. At the age of almost 5, she has amazing friendships with both boys and girls. She is comfortable with their parents and feels safe with their families. While friends and siblings are very different, she is flourishing as a result of these relationships. Her character and personality only strengthen her relationships with others. She is genuinely curious about other people.
My daughter doesn’t have a sibling to compete with, but at the same time we are raising her to be aware of others’ needs. If she wants me to play with her after I get in from a long walk, I don’t hesitate to tell her she needs to give me a few minutes to rest. I don’t jump up every time she asks for something. Yes, she is the center of our universe, but it is important to both my husband and me that she learns to be independent while also acknowledging the needs of others.
With my newfound clarity I am able to see that our family has a certain rhythm, and we follow a beat that works for the three of us. We are incredibly aware of how lucky we are to have our daughter and do not take that for granted. I finally feel at peace with having one child. I no longer feel badly for her and I no longer feel that something is lacking in our family. We are whole. We are complete. We are a team.