- 3 years ago
I wrote this Friday but never had the chance to post. Almost decided not to post but I felt compelled to share.
I’m not sure where to begin. I can’t have children. I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure six years ago at 26. When I was diagnosed it was hard, but I took the “chin-up” approach. I fell apart the day I was diagnosed—went home, crawled in bed, cried myself to sleep. Then I got up the next day, plastered a smile on my face and went to work. … And that’s generally the approach I’ve tried to take ever since.
I went to the doctor today. I had to transfer care to a new fertility specialist to oversee my HRT, as I moved within the last few years and now live too far away from my former doctor. I went in to not only discuss my HRT (to check back in and make sure I’m on the right stuff) but also to discuss long-term options for having a baby.
The stupid thing is I know my long-term options: egg donor or adoption. The end. I have no other options, and I know that. But for some reason I had this stupid idea to go talk about “options,” as though something magically would have changed within the last six years.
The appointment was a disaster. My former specialist did not transfer my records, so I had to spend 20 minutes recounting my entire history—test results, symptoms, diagnosis, medications, etc. At some point not long after that I realized they thought I was there to try to start the process of getting pregnant, like, tomorrow. Uh, no. I just want to understand my situation. So at this point I feel stupid for even going in. And frustrated my records never made it. And upset because—well, because I can’t have children, and everything the doctor was telling me today reaffirmed that. This will absolutely never, ever, EVER happen for me.
And then I cried. Not even just a few tears kind of a cry—like a sobbing type of cry. I was so surprised at my reaction it made me cry even more. Cue embarrassment. … I’m usually so composed about this.
Then the doctor said something to me that really stuck, “The psychological impact of not being able to have children is severely underestimated.” Ding. Ding. Ding. It absolutely is.
The truth is, this a grief that never passes. It’s always there causing, at the very least, a subtle sting. It’s grieving every single day of your life through the smallest and most common acts. Hearing colleagues talk about their families. Going to the store. Watching a nephew’s soccer game. Seeing baby photos posted on FB. … Every time another friend or family member breaks new baby news it’s a punch in the gut—not that you feel less happy for them, but it’s then that your grief really kicks into high gear.
Over the years I’ve smiled through clenched teeth as people casually pass over infertlity in conversation, as insensitive comments rolled off the tongues of people who know I can’t conceive.
“You never know!” … “It just magically happens for people!” … And my personal favorite, “Oh! I’ve always thought I can’t have children, either!” (Yeah, because that’s almost the same thing as knowing you can’t. Trust me, you don’t want to be in this club.)
Potentially worse is listening to people talk about what they’d do if they couldn’t have kids. So many say they’d just be OK with it. They say they’d look at it as though it’s just not “meant to be.” That’s easy to say sitting where you sit. You’ve never felt this pain. Never been dealt the blow that takes away all hope. Never had to face the fact that you’ll never see a mini version of your husband running around, with those same fields of freckles and those same dimples. The ache that causes is mountainous.
My point? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just to be a little more aware the next time you find out a friend or family member is suffering with infertility. This road is not an easy one to walk. It’s a constant struggle of smiling when it hurts most and trying not to cry at the random little kid in the store who tugs at your heartstrings. And just when it seems you’ve climbed that mountain and overcome that pain, it jumps out of nowhere with a giant sucker punch to remind you it’s still there.