Fear of Failure…

The other day when I wrote this, I had a lump in my throat and tears just about at the surface. These feelings are super raw and uncomfortable. I know they are not the best thoughts to have, they don’t represent the best in me…but I feel I need to acknowledge that they are there and share them. I don’t want to ignore them. I feel like I ignored them the last time we did a treatment. As you read this…please bear with me, this post is a little darker than most I do, but I don’t want to think about rosier topics just yet either…I feel like I need to sit with these feelings, no matter how ugly they are, so that I can move past them.


I am afraid of failure. I am afraid of getting excited and being blindly hopeful and then failing. If things don’t work with the upcoming transfer, I am afraid of the hurt on the other side. I want to protect myself and remember that the odds are slim for success and that I have failed before. Despite all this fear, I am still willing to risk the pain and grief, because I know that there is hope and it might work.

As much as I want to protect myself, I also desperately want to protect those who are on this ride with me. I am afraid another failure will hurt others.

There is my husband…when I am in pain, he is in pain. Sometimes he knows what to do, but other times I can see he is lost. I hate it when he feels lost. As much as I want to protect him, I know I can’t…this is as much his journey as it is mine. He signed up for this with me, he is there for every step…so deep down I sort of feel less concern for him because he is a part of me and this is his story too.

With my mother, I desperately want to protect her from more pain, but I also want to give her hope. I know it pains her to watch me struggle with infertility the way she did 30 years ago. When I talk to her about it, I can see that the pain of infertility rears its ugly head… and it’s not just through me but others in her life too (co-workers, friends). There is also the pain I know she carries with regard to her separation from my father late last year. There is a lot of confusion, vulnerability and feelings of embarrassment when your partner leaves after 40 years of marriage and tells everyone their gay. She is a strong woman, but she doesn’t deserve to go through any of this. She deals with everything like a true warrior, but I know every day she is working through so much angst and confusion already. I am excited that I can give her the hope of a grandchild and a happier future. On the flip side, I hate the idea of her getting excited and then experiencing the crash on the other side with me. Like my husband, I know that when I am in pain, my mom is in pain too.

I also want to protect the couple who are giving us their embryos. It might seem strange, but we know the couple who is donating their embryos to us. We were introduced through mutual friends and are now in the process of building a relationship with them. They see their frozen embryos as a child for us already. They have beautiful twin daughters from an IVF treatment six years ago. For some reason I tell myself that they have forgotten how much it hurts to fail…even though I know they did before their daughters came along. I am afraid that I will be the one that fails them and reminds them of the pain. I fear that my ugly thoughts will stand in the way of implantation – self sabotage. How can I do that to them? I know that our pain, will be their pain.

I also want to protect my friends. Some of my supportive circle has walked with me through all my pain for almost four years. I hate that I think everyone feels sorry for me. I love that everyone gets excited and hopeful at the thought that our baby dreams might come true. But how can I possibly let them all down again? It is so embarrassing every time. It was so easy for them…they planned and executed. They all have several little ones running around now and I am still at square one. It feels like everyone else in the class graduated, but I can’t pass kindergarten *sigh*.

Then there is the rest of our family…my dad and brother and my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and my father-in-law and his wife. They are a little more removed, mainly by distance…but I know they hold their breath and hope when we tell them we are trying again, especially with it being something new. I hate that they see us struggle. I know they feel our hurt too.

The reality is that I don’t want anyone to see me struggle – physically or emotionally. And this thought isn’t just with infertility…it is with everything in my life, all my life. It hurts my ego to be flailing around and feeling like a spectacle on display. I am competitive and failing is losing. But then there is this other thought that popped into my head the other day…I think my ego feeds off people’s sympathy in some sick narcissistic way. My infertility story sometimes gets all the attention and empathy of others and I think my ego likes the attention. My life was pretty ordinary, now it isn’t…I get to go to special doctors, try different treatments than most, and I get to take special drugs. It’s crazy….I don’t want to experience any of it, but on the other hand my ego is like some sick psychopathic killer that thrives off of failure. Maybe my biggest problem isn’t my fear of failure…but my ego…perhaps it’s standing in my way to motherhood?



29 thoughts on “Fear of Failure…

  1. Beautiful honesty. You do not have to be positive all the time, nor do you have to be strong all the time for others. It’s ok to be afraid and with what you’ve been through it’s totally understandable. I wish you the best through this next leg of your journey. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny, we were driving home from the beach today and my husband almost rear-ended someone with the car and Hormonal Me actually screamed at him, then thought to myself that maybe by doing this (along with upsetting my husband), my stress hormones may have overwhelmed the embryo and sent it packing. As if my mental is responsible for implantation, even though intellectually I know that’s crap.

    Remember, most implantation fails are because of the embryos being chromosomally abnormal, not because of your state of mind or what you ate for breakfast or if you had a beer eight weeks ago.

    My favorite mantra? “Go easy on yourself”.

    Also, talking to people about your health condition, infertility, is NOT “ego”. It is what you are dealing with in your life. I’ve found out who my real friends are because I talked about it, and while it’s a stinker, I am glad to know who’s true and who would walk away during the tough times. Would you feel guilty talking about any other condition? We as women need to let go of the shame…yes, easier said than done, but there is no shame in talking about it . Your reality is not shameful, neither are you, so don’t let that fear take over. And know that none of your internal struggles are affecting your ability to get pregnant.

    Now, must sign off to take my own advice! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think it’s really healthy and brave to face those feelings. It’s all part of the natural spectrum of feelings. There’s a lot at stake. But you will have done everything you could do, whatever the outcome. And no one is more deserving than you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so sorry you are carrying all of this but so grateful you can share your words. I find so much solace in the fact that these emotions are not my own and you articulated them beautifully. I hope these fears will all be put to rest soon enough. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally know the feeling too. It’s understandable. But please try to remember in this…if an IVF transfer fails…it’s not your failure. It’s a biological failure…it’s life….it’s not fair….it sucks….but it’s not your failure….you aren’t failing anyone. By doing this you are being so much braver than most people. I got so anxious before my last FET (the first with a PGS tested embryo) and I think it was because of similar feelings. It failed….and I know it wasn’t my fault…it just happened. I’m now gearing up for our last FET with my own eggs (before moving onto donor eggs) and I’m going to try and take my own advice this time as well. Keep writing…and sending hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all, here is a big virtual hug sent across the miles from me to you…. *BIGHUG*
    Second, thanks for being brave and sharing what’s honestly racing in your heart and mind right now. This is such an authentic and massive part of the infertile woman/couple’s journey… requiring much healing, support, validation that this part of the journey exists and can be so consuming. I’m so glad you already feel a bit better just by putting it out there.
    Third, it seems you have an awesome support network. That’s so great. When we started our IVF cycles, both sides of our family as well as all the friends we considered our ‘best’ or closest friends, knew. And for awhile that was great, helpful, what we needed. At a certain point, we began to start pulling away from sharing our next steps and outcomes, from so many people. That became part of the strain and weight we were carrying. The balance between wanting privacy and to handle what comes, vs support, can be a tough one. Give yourself permission to ebb and flow with what you need and what is too much for you.
    Fourth… we are very different… but we are very much the same. I understand what you’re saying about your Mom. She is in crisis right now, but you are where she was years ago, trying to make a family. And I’m sure that regardless of the changes she is going through right now, she recognizes that place where you guys are, and reflects on her great fortune as a parent, and a parent of wonderful people like you. You are just trying to have this chance, fighting the fight to become a parent. You have been in your own crisis of sorts for years, handling it like a champ with positivity and flexibility, but I hope your struggles aren’t swept under the rug in the midst of other’s struggles, that fit a more publically talked about and accepted version of what crisis/fear/change/instability/is. xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your words always make me feel so much better. Thank you for the big hug 🙂

      These are just really honest thoughts that have raced through my head the last few weeks. I don’t necessarily believe them all, but it is what is filling the space in my head. Thank you for letting share them with you. I feel like it is No different than sitting over a bottle of wine and spilling my deepest fears.

      I am hopeful I can move past them after I share them. Thank you for your validation! Xx


  7. Oh please please don’t take on the burden of everyone else’s pain. I know that is much easier said than done. And don’t blame yourself… Once again, easier said than done. Fear is so debilitating at times. I know you can move through it and face whatever lies next on your path – and I hope it’s a successful transfer with a baby beautiful in your arms at last. Thank you for opening up and sharing the depths of your emotions. It’s not easy to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Autumn, I am definitely recognizing that I can’t take on everyone else’s pain. Instead I am going to give myself permission to hope with reckless abandon and to let go on my past failures.

      It felt so good to just to write this stuff down. I hope this means I can move past these heavy thoughts. Thanks for your kind words!


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