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You WILL Survive Your IVF Baby Leaving for College or Kindergarten

By Tracey Minella

September 6th, 2017 at 4:52 pm

 

T. Minella


By now, just about all college kids have checked in for the new school year. And the little ones started school yesterday and today on Long Island. So, all across the country there are moms and dads feeling the sting…or rather, the devastation…of saying good-bye to their babies.

But IVF parents have it worse. We love harder.

There, I said it.

It’s not that we are better parents (okay I’m lying because I think we kind of are better), but we love differently. That’s entirely because we faced the frightening reality of never becoming parents. We don’t take parenthood for granted. We worked for it. It’s something the fertile folks won’t ever understand and it doesn’t just disappear after the infertility battle is won. It’s a part of us and is always there. It often manifests itself in over-protectiveness and over-involvement. From triple-checking the baby is still breathing, to fearing sleepovers or letting others watch or drive our kids, to tracking their iPhones and monitoring their social media, the vigilant watch unfolds until one day…poof…they are gone.

First, it’s kindergarten, where you are handing them off to another adult for the better part of the day. It’s not all unicorns, rainbows, and “ready confetti”. Stressing over things like whether they will do well academically, make friends, eat alone, be included at recess, or get bullied is normal. Major stuff.

Blink and you will be dropping them off at the dorm—maybe in another state—and wondering where the heck all the years went? Wasn’t it just yesterday that life was all blood work and sonograms? How did it all fly by so fast? Did I do a good enough job? Is my job over? Are they prepared? How will I make until Parent’s Weekend or Thanksgiving without seeing my baby? I want a do-over!

So, here is the deal…

To the kindergarten parents: You will adjust. And you will be amazed at how your baby learns and grows and makes friends. They are ready, even if you are not. It will be fine. They will come home and tell you about their day at school and you will sit in wonder at this little person you created. And there will still be plenty of hours in the day to hover over them and teach them to navigate their new wonderful world. It’s going to be okay. I promise. (Still need to feel better? Read on for the college version.)

To the college freshman parents: You will adjust. True, when someone told me that a year ago as I sent my first IVF baby off to college in Virginia, I admit that I smiled and nodded politely but I secretly thought to myself “Nope, you’re an idiot.” (Look, those moments of “mom desperation” when your baby is moving 8 hours away can bring out the worst in us. Am I right?)

But really, somehow, life does go on without them home. I know it is unimaginable (and that you’re thinking I’m an idiot). It’s truly unthinkable. And the hole in your heart and life is so big, raw, and real right now. I get that completely. But as they start this next big phase on their own, you will marvel at their ability to juggle it all. Watch in pride as they begin “adulting” based on the foundation you gave them. The schoolwork, activities, eating, even the occasional laundry. All mostly on their own now. They will thrive in the place they feel they belong—which will become a second home to them in time as new friendships bloom.

But they will still need you and they will reach out for advice–and money– so look forward to those moments to come. And with your heart in your throat, keep on them (gently but firmly) about the parties and your expectations of them as they adjust to their newfound freedom. They’ll make the friends who will be their friends for life, and maybe even meet their soulmate. Look forward to seeing them at Parent’s Weekend. You will be amazed at how they’ve grown. And Thanksgiving will have a whole new meaning this year.

I’ve been in your shoes and I know you can do this. You are going to make it. Things are different and sad. Change is hard, but it can be good. And it will be good. Just maybe not today.

So, let them fly. (Really, let go of their foot.)

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With decades of miracles behind us, Long Island IVF parents have sent countless numbers of babies off to school (and some down the aisle!). Feel free to pics of your baby’s back-to-school pics.

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