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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Infertility

I've been thinking about writing this post for months. The words have been spinning in my head and are itching to be out, yet, the fear in my heart is strong. The fear of vulnerability. The fear of judgment. The fear of the unknown. What's happening is personal and private and no one's business.

Yet...

I've told some people: family, a few friends and co-workers. And every time I share my story, I feel lighter. It feels good to come clean; it's cathartic. Still, I worry that I'm supposed to keep quiet because maybe being open about my issues will make others uncomfortable, or it'll make it seem like I'm craving attention, or people will pity me - all reactions that I don't want. 

But maybe this revelation will open dialogue with people I've never really spoken to, or maybe it'll make someone who might be dealing with the same issue feel less alone, or maybe sharing my story will inspire others to come clean about their story without shame. I've come to learn that there's a certain power that comes with vulnerability.

In comparison to the many other things about which people must decide to come clean- serious issues that are often hidden inside for safety reasons - this shouldn't seem like a big deal at all. And maybe it's not to some people though it is to me. Which is why I just want to get it out and not bottle it up anymore.

Hi everyone, I'm Ana, 34 years old and "infertile". See! I can't even associate myself with the word without putting it in quotation marks because somewhere in our female history (herstory, for you fellow feminists) infertile became a bad word with a bad stigma and I'm still scared to accept it as being part of who I might be. The truth is, 10 to 15 percent of couples in the U.S are infertile - that's a lot of people! So I'm here to dismantle the infertility stigma (a lofty goal). Maybe some people already knew or suspected that I was having fertility issues because we've been told that women are supposed to behave a certain way so to be married for 5 years and on the verge of the forsaken 35th year without children is a red flag. But to hell with that flag. A lot of women are happy and satisfied in life without children - going home after a long day of kicking ass at work to lounge on the couch with a hefty glass of wine and watch Netflix without having to attend to anyone, clean up sticky messes, or deal with tantrums is wonderful and it's the life I live right now.

Nonetheless, I do also long for children to attend to and clean up after and deal with and LOVE, but, alas, I am currently infertile. A word that a doctor has used to describe me, in combination with the adjective "unexplained", making it possibly the most frustrating word combination I've heard because it's hard to fix something without knowing where it's broken. I'm tired of feeling like less of a woman or person just because it's been much harder to get pregnant than I had ever envisioned. Because what if after all the medications and treatments I still don't get pregnant?

I don't want it to be some dark secret that I have to keep to myself for the rest of my life. Maybe five years from now I'm still not pregnant. Oh well. I tried. I don't want infertility to define me. Just like I wouldn't want being a mother to define me. I am mercurial; I choose to identify myself in many ways: vegan, feminist, wife, teacher, sister, daughter, social agitator, and hoping to add "mother" to that list. Choosing to try to get pregnant and not becoming pregnant is very difficult to deal with but it isn't all that I have nor is it all that I am.

So there. That's my secret. I've been trying to get pregnant for a long while. Many people I know have been able to get pregnant and given birth all in the same time frame that I've been trying to conceive. Yes, it's frustrating - so frustrating. But I'm not the first one this has happened to and I won't be the last so maybe it's time for the anonymity of infertility to go screw itself.  In that vein I'll be posting more about the treatments I'm undergoing and my thoughts regarding them in future posts. 

For now, if we're hanging out in the evening and I have to rush off by a certain time it's not because I don't want to hang out, it's probably because I need to go home and inject myself in the stomach with hormones. Also, if I seem gloomy, distracted, or weirder than usual just ask me what's up (or don't, totally fine either way)! Maybe I'll break down in tears, or joke, or cuss a lot, or shrug my shoulders, but that's just me having normal reactions to normal feelings about a totally normal issue and that's okay; it doesn't make me less special or more special than the next person, it makes me human. That's life.



3 comments:

Cootcita said...

Hey, human!
I'm glad you wrote about this. I don't want you to feel cooped up holding onto a secret. That doesn't feel good. I'm glad expressing yourself about this feels right to you and I support you in openly feeling your feelings. I can confirm from personal experience that you're pretty great at many of the things you define yourself by, but sister especially. So by extension, you will be a great mother, but I'm glad you're multi-faceted. That's part of what makes you great.
I'm sorry for all the physical pain this journey is putting you through. I can't image giving my own self shots in the stomach. So, you're tough. You're very, very tough.
Thanks for being the big sister I still look up to.
Love,
Coot

Kallmen said...

Very brave dear Daughter and so well written. Also very enlightening and educational.
We love you both so much!
Kristi A.

Nanners said...

Oh my dear grandchildren... What a beautifully written blog that I have read over and over. I feel so privileged to be able to share this part of your life. It makes me sad that you two were going through this alone.... but not anymore! I love you both. Love, Nanners