I am at that time in my life where everyone is always asking "When are you having kids?!" or "Do you have kids?" I am almost 30 and will be married for 10 years this September so I get that this is an honest question. In the world view of things that is the logical next step right? So many people I grew up with are pregnant, some on their second, third, or even 5th child and have been married less time then my husband and I. As much as I know no harm was meant by these questions, its always painful to get them. How do you answer? Do you say "not yet but its in the plan", or make the person uncomfortable with the honest answer……"I can't have children". I struggle with the answers to these questions. Before getting too far into it I guess I should explain.
I grew up normal, no problems or major health issues. I was a regular kid. I hit junior high and then high school and still everything was normal except one main thing. I never had "that time of the month". It never worried me that much, I just figured I was a late bloomer and my mom didn't seem concerned. Finally at the age of 17 (or was it 18?), my mom made an appointment to see a doctor. I still wasn't all that worried. I had no idea what I was in store for.
I had a full exam. They did every test they could think of. I had blood drawn to check for auto-immune problems, I had my genetics tested to make sure my chromosomes were normal, blood tests for all my hormones. The day of my senior pictures I went and had an ultrasound done. After this we waited. We waited for the tests to come back. I was young and unconcerned, not really understanding the full extent of what the results could be. A couple of weeks went by and the doctor called us in to get the results. I have what they call pre-ovarian failure. It's also called pre-menapausal. What the heck is that right? That was my first reaction. The doctor explained that I had a hormone imbalance where 1. My body didn't make enough of certain hormones, and 2. My body did not make eggs. Zero, zip, nothing. In simple terms, I would be menopausal my entire life and I could not have children of my own.
"Infertility is a loss. It's the loss
of a dream.
It's the loss of an assumed future.
And, like every loss,
it will be grieved"
I was in shock. I couldn't even process what he was saying to me. I remember getting in the car with my mom and she started to cry. I just stared at her at first like, why are you crying? I still didn't fully understand. How do you respond to something like this at such a young age? We went home after that. One of the things I remember the most is telling the rest of my family and my sister asking me if Jeff still wanted to be with me. We were dating at the time. It was like a slap in the face. I hadn't even thought of the possibility that he might not. And so it began. All the questions, the uncertainty, the dread of talking to people about something that should be normal. My husband has always been so supportive of me through the whole thing bless him. I have gone through a lot in my journey and we have so much further to go.
Found on Pinterest
After getting married to Jeff and moving to our first duty station with the military to North Carolina we started to explore the options. I went to my first infertility specialist. I had more blood tests, bone scans, more ultrasounds. I learned that I had osteoporosis already in my early twenties and would need to be put on medication for that on top of the hormone replacement pills. It was all just so overwhelming. My husband deployed several times to Iraq during the process and I just couldn't handle it all. I decided to put it on hold. We found out we would be moving to San Diego and I made the choice to wait until we moved to do anything further. I just wanted to ignore the problem and pretend like it didn't exist for awhile. We moved to San Diego and eventually started again. I went to a new specialist and redid all the same tests, triple checked that I didn't have any eggs and basically heard the same things over again. You can't have children. The only way to carry a child is to get a donor egg or we would have to adopt. Again it was just too much. I went through a stage where I didn't want children. I told myself I didn't really want them anyways so it would be easier to deal with. My amazing husband said ok, we don't need children to be happy. He has been so patient with me.
Since then I have stopped lying to myself and yes, I want children. I don't know how, or when, but hopefully some day. I am again standing at the beginning of this journey and I have no idea how long it will take or how much more heart ache there might be, but I am willing to try. I'm ready. "Do you have children?' Back to the dreaded question. To be honest or to be vague? Either way it leads down paths that I don't particularly like to take. If I am honest and say I can't it always leads to the same answer. Well you can always adopt. I wish I could tell people that that is a hurtful thing to say, that it isn't that easy. Don't you think we have thought of that? Maybe I'm mourning the fact that I can't have my own child. It will never be my flesh, it will never be half me and half my husband. I am not saying that I won't love any child we have but I do think it is normal to mourn what can never be. Unless you're in the same boat you can't judge. All I need you to say is "I'm sorry, that must be hard". I don't want you to fix the problem or attempt to make me feel better by offering me your child as a joke. Just be there for me. Be understanding and mindful of what you say. That's all I ask.
I am trying to learn now that I am enough, that I haven't failed in some way for not being able to give my husband a child. I am learning that I am not less of a woman for this, that somehow I am worthy of being loved by such a wonderful man. I am learning to not be angry at God anymore. To move on from asking why me and trying to trust. It's a struggle some days but I am taking one tiny step at a time. That is all I can do, trust that God has a plan for me and that it will eventually be revealed. Until then I have to learn to be patient.
Sorry, this turned out to be so long! Hard to stop the flowing thoughts some times. I hope this touches some people and if you are experiencing similar things, know that you are not alone. Feel free to contact me, I know its hard to find people to understand what you're going through. Thanks for listening. I hope you have an amazing rest of the week!