Endometriosis can be the reason behind the difficulties many people face when wanting a family. While plenty of endometriosis patients conceive and have children, others rely on in vitro fertilization (IVF) and similar fertility treatments to become pregnant. Some are never able to do so.
I am reproductively challenged, and I am OK with that. Weirdly enough, I haven’t been able to be so accepting about this side of my life until recently, in my late 30s. One of the reasons it took me so long was outside pressure. To put it simply, I am faulty goods for some. On several occasions, I have been told to my face how my inability to produce a baby has been a disappointment.
If anyone asked me why I haven’t had a child, my honest answer would be a muffled, “Because it’s difficult for me.” Yet, more often than not, the response would span from the myriad things I should be trying to questioning the severity of my health issues.
I am an incredibly private person, and the more disruptive my endometriosis became, the more secretive I chose to be. I’ve never admitted to what I’m about to, so writing this in such a public space is a big deal for me. Yet, here it goes: I’ve kept miscarriages secret from partners and doctors. I know this was very irresponsible.
There was a scene in a recent TV show in which a character suffers a miscarriage in a restaurant restroom and says nothing. That was me once. I knew what was happening was not normal, but I dismissed it as the usual heavy bleeding from my endometriosis. Why did I do this? Because I didn’t want to be seen as damaged goods, as faulty. I was convinced others would reject me because of my broken body.
It was traumatic and terrifying, and it paralyzed me.
Due to my strict Catholic education, I was ashamed and downright horrified by the idea of a miscarriage. So I suffered in silence when I should have told others. I should have asked for support, sought help. After all, it takes two to make a baby, and “being bad at it” is nothing anyone chooses. It is also nothing to be ashamed of. The only person I must apologize to is myself, for shutting down my own voice, for diminishing my value.
Recently it hit me out of the blue, with clarity and a dash of self-love: I owe no one a baby. I am a complete, whole, self-realized woman. I am neither a failure nor defective.
Also, I am deciding not to get pregnant, I will not pursue having a child. This is my own decision, for the love of me. IVF is out of the cards. It’s expensive and extremely tough. My admiration goes to anyone who decides to go through it, but I won’t be doing so. I will not fight my malfunctioning ovaries, I will not mourn being miscarriage-prone.
I am everything a woman is and can be.
I am a marathon runner, an aunt, a best friend, a writer, a courageous solo traveler, a mother of canines. There are so many ways of being a mother, and I know I can excel at each one of them.
Bringing life into this world is not the most amazing thing a woman can do. We are more than our ability to produce life. I used to look at people carrying children and feel worthless. I now smile at them, and smile even harder when I realize who I am and how far I’ve come.
I’m done mourning what I don’t have. I am celebrating my own life, with all of its unexpected twists, puppy parties, late-night vogueing, and pizza-eating sessions.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.