You Can’t Divide by Zero

I was at the ripe old age of 20 before I figured out that you couldn’t divide by zero. I was, in fact, taking my second Math 114 (Calculus) class. A friend was tutoring me, we were sitting in the pub, and I was completing questions. I got to the end of a particularly tricky one, turned my notebook around and announced the answer was something like 2.68. She looked at me strangely, and looked at my work, and then looked up.

“You can’t divide by zero”.

This was, I will admit, news to me. Astonishing, I know. Honestly, I had made it through 12 years of grade school and I did not know this. I don’t think it will ever really make sense to me, that you can’t divide by zero, but there you have it: incontrovertible mathematical fact.

We have just finished our fourth medicated cycle, and still no luck. We have done chlomid and blood tests and an HSG. We’ve analyzed sperm and blood work, changed hypertensives. We’ve added metformin, increased the metformin, peed on sticks, and the very bottom line is, I’m still not pregnant. There’s no good reason for this, I’m ovulating, the sperm is good, my uterus is reasonably hospitable (the pre-e thing aside). I’m not pregnant. Truthfully, we didn’t think that getting pregnant would be a problem. We expected to be heading into the danger zone in a pregnancy at this time, not still struggling.

The gynecologist, will of course send me to an RE, after a suitable wait (this is Canada after all). And then, maybe, I guess, we could move on to IUI’s. And it’s not wrong to move on to IUI’s, but in my heart of hearts, I think I might be done. I am tired, beyond tired. I am weary. I’m not ready to move on to something else, but I can’t stay here any longer.

I have, for years, argued with Mr. Spit about why dividing by zero should give you a real number. And my odd logic doesn’t matter. You can’t divide by zero. Incontrovertible mathematical fact, and I’ve argued about it. Only me.

So, I come back. The ride of infertility is a long one, with many exit points. The problem is, none of them seem to be clearly marked. Perhaps we ride around and around, and for some of us, I think maybe we fall off in exhaustion at some point. Certainly, I’m falling off in exhaustion. I am done with the tears and the chaos and the hurt. The payoff just isn’t worth it.

I think I might have had more fortitude, were it not for pre-eclampsia. But, it does seem to me, when the pregnancy will be so hard, well, some of it needs to be easy. And none of it is. And I am tired. I am tired of giving my all to get pregnant, knowing that I’ll be giving my all to stay pregnant. Knowing how hard this is right now, and it isn’t all that hard, at least not compared to what it’s going to be.

And at some point in the last few weeks, without knowing all the answers, without understanding, at some point, I could hear God asking “Do you trust me? Do you trust me even if you never had another child? Do you trust me if the only child I ever give you sits in an urn on your shelf? Do you trust me even then?”, and a more gentle “Are you ready to be done now? To lay down this dream of a child of your own?”

I didn’t want to believe what God was asking me. I didn’t want to believe that he was really asking me. I wanted to believe it was really more of a hypothetical question. I wanted to believe that this wasn’t me. After all, I look around, and there are lots of people with children. God doesn’t seem to be asking them if they would still love him with no children. The question for them is, at best, hypothetical.

But out on my porch, that afternoon, the question wasn’t hypothetical. The question was real, and it demanded an answer. I took a deep breath and I said yes. I said that I didn’t know how I would do it, I don’t have that much strength, but with God’s help, yes, I would trust, even with no children. It was then that I realized I didn’t have to stay on this ride anymore. It was then I realized that I could be done now.

I don’t know where to go from here. After all, for 2 years now, I have been pregnant, grieving my son, or trying to get pregnant. I don’t know what to do with all the spare time. I don’t know how to give up the life of tears, chlomid, going from hopeful to hopeless every 33 days. I don’t know what to do now that I can find a new job, start volunteering again, move into my craft room permanently. I’ve thought, spoken, dreamed of being pregnant, and I just can’t do it any longer. I’m done. We’re done.

I believe that you can divide by zero, even if I know my belief to be false.

I do know this. When we know something for long enough, belief comes. I know this: belief can be fickle, I can believe what I want, it is what I know to be true that matters.

You can’t divide by zero. You just can’t. And I am done. Gabriel may well be our only child.

I know that many of you will think we are giving up to soon, that we should not give up so easily, that we should adopt. If adoption was the answer for you, I am thankful. Right now Mr. Spit and I need to grieve that we may never again hold a child of our making, that we will never see our child in our home. We need some time to sit with this sorrow before we can look ahead.

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49 Responses to You Can’t Divide by Zero

  1. Sue says:

    If it’s okay, I’ll sit with you, quietly wishing for peace to come to you.

  2. Tash says:

    Oh Mrs. Spit. I’m just gutted.

    Infertility can do this. I’m not going to shake my head and tell you to get back on the horse and keep at it, because I’ve felt that exhaustion myself. The most depressed I ever was during my two year attempt to get pregnant with Bella was not my miscarriage, but a day in the middle of a medicated cycle when we had failed to have sex the night before. I didn’t cry that much again until Maddy died. But I thought, seriously, I’m sitting here crying over *sex.* But not really. I’m crying over everything I’ve become, everything I wanted to be.

    I will abide with this decision Mrs. Spit, and support you and defend you to the edge of the earth. But I will also tell you that it is your right to change your mind at any time in the future you see fit, without judgment or derision. I’m holding you all — Mr., Mrs., and Gabe — in my heart.

  3. blueeyedtawni says:

    hugs you tightly…

  4. yummysushipajamas says:

    Though I imagine this is a terribly difficult decision, I think it is quite admirable for you to truly be making the right choice for you and your family. I wish you nothing but peace and love, and I am so thankful that you have your faith in God to help pull you through. You are so strong, so amazing… you can get through anything, and together you and your beloved husband can discover a new life together.

  5. Chase says:

    Mrs. Spit,

    I am so sorry. You are strong, amazing, an inspiration, a wonderful mother, and it is all just unfair.

    I am sitting here holding you, Mr. Spit and Gabriel in my heart.

    Wishing you peace and love.


  6. Two Hands says:

    Abiding. Always abiding here with you.

    I wish there was more I could do.

    Much love, dear one.

  7. Bluebird says:

    I understand. We, as pre-e survivors, have so many cards stacked against us. It sometimes seems too much to add IF to the pile too.

    But please know that I am deeply, deeply sorry. I am sorry for your negative. I am sorry this is your reality.

    I so admire your strength, your resolve, and your courage. I will pray for peace and clarity for you and Mr. Spit as you continue trying to figure out this new path.

    And, if I may, I will be walking beside you the entire way, whereever it may take you. ((Hugs)) dear friend, lots of ((hugs))

  8. JuliaS says:

    Slamming into that brick wall hurts.
    Doing it repeatedly, you start to wonder if there isn’t another way and if there isn’t, choosing to stop. I agree with Tash – nothing says you can’t change your mind later on. For now, I think doing what is best for you and Mr. Spit is the best you can do. I am here – I may be a lousy swimmer, but I’ll do what I can to help you keep your head above water.

  9. ..... Carmen says:

    Sending you quiet, peace, love, and a hug.

  10. niobe says:

    What a beautiful, heartbreaking post.

  11. alicia says:


    I am amazed by your obedience and faith, it is soo humbling. I love that you hear his voice and trust him and just listen and obey, I wish I could do that. What a hard decision to come to, I can;t imagine the heartache you are going through. I am glad you have Mr Spit, together you 2 will get through this and whatever comes in the future will be meant to be. I am sending prayers and love, lots of love.

  12. Aunt Becky says:

    My heart just shattered into a billion tiny pieces on my keyboard. Mrs. Spit, Mr. Spit, I’m sorry that it’s come down to this. You are my friends and I grieve with you.

    I hold you, precious baby Gabe, and Mr. Spit close today and hope that this brings you peace. I trust that God will show you the way.

  13. Meghan says:

    Sending you my thoughts and prayers. May you find some peace in your hearts and hold your love for your son and one another close.

  14. Jen says:

    I’m sorry that nothing is coming easy for you. It isn’t fair.

    Much love…

  15. Donna says:

    It’s so hard to know when to say enough is enough. But when you get there you know you are there. IF becomes and all consuming battle that sucks all of the joy and energy out of your life.

    Maybe someday in the future you will feel strong enough to continue – or maybe you won’t.

    No matter what I will be thinking of you and sending you peace.

  16. loribeth says:

    I have always said that all of us on this journey have our own personal lines in the sand, & we somehow know when we've crossed them. I know this is not the life you wanted, Mrs. Spit, but I hope that knowing there are others on this path with you & Mr. Spit will bring you a little comfort (if not now, eventually). Many (((hugs))).

  17. Susan says:

    I wish that you could sit where I am and recognize the wisdom that you display on your blog. You are so perfectly where you need to be and you recognize it, yet you don’t. I am in awe of your grip of reality and what you and Mr. Spit NEED to do right now. Please don’t take this the wrong way but I really want to say it. You are going to be a great mom someday. How, where, when, the circumstances, no one knows but you are gonna rock.

  18. Heather says:

    Mrs. Spit, wherever this new journey leads, I’ll follow. I’m holding you, Mr. Spit, and sweet Gabriel so very close in thought and prayer. You are right, exactly right, some of it does *need* to be easy.

    Love to you, my friend.

  19. Trish says:

    Sweet pea.. you do what is right for YOU.
    It’s not “giving up” it’s simply moving forward. It may not be in the direction you had envisioned, but you’re finding your way.

    Who knows what the future my bring. Maybe another fork in the road that leads to a biological child, maybe a quick curve the left of adoption. Or maybe straight ahead the way things are. Whatever the road brings, I’m here with you.


  20. mlg- believe-n-miracles says:

    It is okay, you should take as much time as you need, there is no timeline to any of this, there is no right or wrong way. I pray that you can continue to find some peace and guidance, and that He may comfort you.

    I am holding you, Mr. Spit and Gabriel close.

  21. Reese says:

    Still walking behind you.

    Now sitting down by you…..

  22. Hope's Mama says:

    Sending you so much peace and love.

  23. Naomi says:

    as always, my thoughts and prayers are with you. xo

  24. Tanya says:

    If stopping is what is right for you then that’s what you should do. Yes, some will go to the ends of the earth and never stop trying but you need to do what feels right.

  25. excavator says:

    Heartfelt, quiet hugs.

  26. Natalie says:

    Oh Mrs. Spit, I’m sorry. I understand… something in this should be easy. It is just so, so exhausting.

    I’ll sit with you, too, wishing you peace and comfort somewhere in the darkness.

  27. Kathy says:

    What a beautiful and bittersweet post Mrs. Spit. (((HUGS)))

    I call to mind a comment you made on one of my posts awhile back… I had tried for so long to be positive and make the most of our journey with Molly, but was just having one of those very hard/down days and asking “why.” I remember your kind and comforting words and how you told me how questions of “why” are the hardest ones… You also quoted me some inspiring verses from Job 19:25-27.

    Hang in there. Holding you close and sending lots of thoughts and prayers your way. I wish you peace and comfort today (as you did to me that day). (((HUGS)))

  28. Carbon says:

    I hope there is joy and peace ahead, around the bend, just out of sight, along the path you have chosen.

  29. Hope says:

    Mrs Spit-
    I’m sorry that you are feeling tired of this journey.
    Listen to your heart-if that means you are done, then so be it. If it means you feel differently later, that’s fine too.
    Ultimately, only you and Mr Spit know what’s right for you and what you need to do and we’ll all be here no matter what!

    Thinking of you,

  30. B says:

    Oh Mr and Mrs Spit. I am crying.

    I don;t get it. Why would God demand that? I am so deeply sad for you that this last cycle has not worked.

    Your courage and faith is astounding. I have been unable to take that step. While I can see that holding back is slowly destroying me, I can’t seem to trust God. I don’t want to. He asks for too much.

    May you truly be free. It is such a courageous thing.

    Dear God,

    I ask that you see my friend Mrs Spit. She is brave and true. Please delight in that. She and he have soo much love to give. Please find it a home. Please do not handle her trust with clumsy hard fingers. It is very tender. Please be gentle with it. Please honour it.

    Show mercy to your faithful child. I beg this of you.

    Sending all my heart and strength to you, walking beside you

    love B

  31. Dalene says:

    I’m so sorry, Mrs. Spit. I’ll be thinking of you, Mr. Spit, and Gabriel.

  32. CLC says:

    Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Spit, I am so sorry this has been so hard for you. I will never understand why, as I am sure you don’t either. I will be here to support you in this new leg of your journey. I hope that you find some peace with it.

  33. Ya Chun says:

    Math never makes much sense to me either.

    And neither does life.

    But I do understand writing here, and being here with you, and decisions, undecisions, and redecisions.

    And life never does really work out the way we think we want it to.

    Hugs to you all.

  34. Virginia says:

    I think I understand. And I”m sorry.

  35. Alice says:

    … walking beside you, holding your hand, lending you my shoulder to lean on, to cry on … I remain your true and faithful companion.

  36. Maureen says:

    I’m sorry that it isn’t a hypothetical question for you and Mr. Spit.

    I’m here, listening, praying.

  37. G$ says:

    It’s probably one of the hardest decisions in life, stopping. Honoring your limits. As that limit grows closer for me, it’s mixed with a sense of panic and a sense of relief.

    Walking through the world with this hurt and this pain, coupled with cycling is too much.

    I am here with you, holding your hand.

  38. hardknockedup says:

    This was so beautifully written.

    I am sorry it has come to this point for you – that the pain and tears are too much to keep moving towards a goal that is so close to your heart – but I am happy for you that you have the peace of recognizing when enough is enough for you. I hope you and Mr. Spit can feel comfort in this decision and no pressure from others to rethink it.

  39. Jennifer says:

    Making the choice not to move forward to IUI/IVF is a very personal choice. That is a hard road (all those drugs, all those treatments), so if you’re not ready for it, then that’s your decision to make. I can only offer you a hug!!! And a hope that this path becomes easier for you, not harder.


  40. Christy says:

    Oh Mrs. Spit, you are so wise and you have phrased so beautifully what I, and many others, have felt but been unable to articulate. But this is about you. I’ll sit by and hold your hand while you absorb all of this, and I’ll keep tagging along whichever direction you feel led to.

  41. Seraphim says:

    Mrs Spit, you wrote on my blog a while ago that you thought there were many different kinds of bravery. Reading this post I know you are right. I am thinking of you, and will keep faith with you on this road. xxxx

  42. ScientistMother says:

    I’m sitting here in the blog world, sitting with you, holding your hand. When you are ready, I will hold you hand and talk about other options. Not yet. Take all the time to mourn the loss of your dream.

  43. Brown Owl says:

    Dear Heart,
    It is okay to say “enough. I cannot do this anymore.”
    It is okay to stop when the weight of it is more than you can bare.
    It may not be the life you dreamed of, or planned on, or worked towards; but it is a good and wonderful life, and you have much to give and share.
    Trusting in God’s grace that you will find that joy in his time.
    love you always…

  44. Martha says:

    I am so sorry, Big ((Hugs))

  45. MrsSpock says:

    It can take as much bravery to listen to the voice that says, “It is time to stop!”, as the one that says, “Keep going!” Abiding with you…

  46. JamieD says:

    Thinking of you and holding both of you in my heart.

  47. Candid Engineer says:

    Mrs. Spit, I am sorry to hear that it has worked out like this, but I know that you and Mr. Spit will make the right decisions for yourselves. Know that I am here, thinking of you.

  48. Emily (Apron Strings) says:

    Beautifully written … I'm a little late in reading and responding to this, Mrs. Spit. But I just wanted to let you know that I'm here; sitting with you and supporting you and Mr. Spit with this most important and heart-wrenching decision. You've been there for me as I've struggled with my own crazy and sometimes nonsensical thoughts. I just want to be there for you. Big hugs to you & Mr. Spit.

  49. sweetsalty kate says:

    Oh Mrs. Spit…. one of your readers nominated you for a Glow in the Woods award for this ( ) and I'm gutted too. That said, thank you for continuing to write so gracefully… it's so important. For you and for everyone else who comes here, and for all the people you've helped on this road with your voice and with this space.

    Wishing for peace, too, and for the exhaustion to take a hike.
    Much love.

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