When Is It Time to Move On From TTC?
Talk show host Aisha Taylor may not be done with trying to become a mom, but she is done with trying to get pregnant. How do you when it's time to move on from TTC?
Not too long ago, a dear friend of mine made the difficult decision to give up on trying to have a baby. Over the course of two years she had gone through three rounds of IVF and experienced three miscarriages. She and her husband decided to “let go” as she termed it, partly due to the high cost of fertility treatments, but also because the process was taking too big of an emotional toll.
I thought about my friend when I caught a recent clip of The Talk in which co-host Aisha Tyler opened up about her fertility struggles and the decision she and her husband have recently made to end their TTC plans. Tyler, known for comedic acting skills on Friends, wasn’t making anyone laugh as she told her co-hosts about the difficult journey she and her husband of 21 years, Jeff Tietjens, have had in trying to start a family.
After going off birth control a few years ago, Tyler, now 42, was surprised when she wasn’t able to get pregnant. In seeking fertility assistance, she learned that she has a tortuous (twisted or folded) fallopian tube, which makes it “very hard for a sperm to get to your egg,” Tyler explained.
The couple then pursued IVF, though Tyler admitted, “After 40 your chances of getting pregnant are between 2 and 8 percent, and in my particular case they were less than 5 percent.” When multiple IVF transfer attempts didn’t work, Tyler had a frank discussion with her doctor who told her, “‘Look, based on what we’re seeing here, I just don’t think this is going to happen for you.’”
She and her husband then decided to stop trying.
“The hardest part is I really love my husband—he’s such a good person and he would be such a great father. But we just decided it wasn’t worth it to go through that and so we decided to stop,” she said through tears. “It was better to not go through that torture.”
Is adoption in the works for the couple, then? Not right now.
“I love the idea of adoption, but I feel like this is such a fresh wound that I want to let it heal for a while before I think about what we could do next,” Tyler told co-host Sara Gilbert when asked about this option.
I emailed my friend who had a baby via surrogate last January to ask what she thought of Tyler’s openness about her experience. When do you know it’s time to move on? Is it after the doctor makes her pronouncement on your chances? Or when your bank account is zero? Or is it something else?
“I admire Aisha for being so brutally honest. It is torture. That’s the perfect word for it,” she emailed back. “I would have ignored what my doctors were telling me and taken out five mortgages on our house if I thought I could mentally keep going. Women who can’t have children go through an emotional hell that I don’t think anyone can truly understand unless they’ve been there.”
In the aftermath of making the decision to stop TTC, my friend also hopes that Tyler gets to experience the same sense of relief she did.
“I wasn’t in a healthy place when we quit, but when I called up and cancelled my next appointment at the IVF clinic, I had this intense feeling of freedom run through my veins. No more hormone shots! No more living in fear and dread of getting my period!”
Like Tyler, at first my friend was resistant to adoption and other alternatives for becoming a mom.
“It’s a healing process that takes as long as it needs to take. I just hope that Aisha, or any other woman in the same boat, can get to the place where she realizes that motherhood can come in all shapes and sizes, from foster parenting to surrogacy to being an awesome aunt.”
Because once you get there? “It’s easier to finally find peace,” my very wise friend relayed.
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