I wrote this comment in response to a very good post that I read at No Kidding in NZ. I used to feel like such a failure, that it is worth repeating the concept in my words as well, if only to help others who are at the point that I was.
When I could not conceive initially, it was a shock. Prior to that, I thought of myself quite highly (why exactly, I don't know, and it bears examining, since being healthy, smart, tall, beautiful or any other adjectives that I might have self-attributed or heard from others actually have nothing to do with my own achievement really and have everything to do with the gifts received from God, genetics and the luck of the draw). I still hold myself up to extremely high standards, and it will be part of me for the rest of my life to bear the burden of my perfectionism. However, suffice it to say that I got quite the shock when things were just not working as planned, despite no obvious problems.
I took some time to accept that not all things can be done perfectly, that conception was out of my control, and hence that I could not hold myself accountable for the outcomes. Then, I got pregnant via IVF and lost the baby due to incompetent cervix. The sense of guilt coming out of that "failure" is still around to this day, but I have learned to live with it. There was guilt about all of the subsequent failed IVF's, and sense of guilt about not being able to breastfeed Emma like I thought all mothers SHOULD (ha! good word, should...).
By the time I got to Daniel, something interesting had shifted in me. I simply became immune to guilt, more or less. I just accepted that that is the way I am built, that my luck of the draw was this never-ending series of mishaps, some more monumental than others. And I suddenly felt free of a giant burden. Yes, occasionally the burden can be triggered again by a senseless comment that I unwittingly do not filter, usually when I am tired and run down. But somewhere in my subconscious mind, I have accepted the futility of trying to do anything to change my reproductive "failures", and that acceptance was a huge relief.
I don't know how this happened, I just know that it did, and it did not happen right away, but after many, many times of being hurt. I guess I just decided that I can no longer be bothered to be hurt by these judgements, whether they came from me or from others.
My hope is that this healing happen for everyone eventually. Every emotional pain, including guilt, and the sense of failure, has to dull down at some point. The initial intensity has to diminish, otherwise we would not be able to function. I think that is what happened to me, it was just too much to feel badly about, so I just stopped feeling badly. And when I did, I felt relief. But it was not something I had chosen to do, it just came about (and I am glad that it did :).