So I’m still new to this IF thing…well, I’m not new to it, but I’m new to blogging about it and being aware that there are such things as National Infertillity Awareness Week. So this is my post dedicated to IF Awareness Week.
I find it ironic, and not a little disturbing, that National IF Week is only a week while the ENTIRE MONTH OF MAY has been designated Pregnancy Awareness Month. What?!?!?! If you’re pregnant, people are probably AWARE – your big belly kind of gives it away. But if you’re infertile…who can tell? Why do we – the ones with the “hidden” issue get a week while pregnancy (which is already a 10 month journey anyway) gets a whole month?
Infertility has changed my life. In my early teen years, I struggled, like most teenage girls, with self-image. I thought I was fat (I wasn’t). I thought I was ugly (I’m not). I hated that my hip bones are literally one foot apart. Seriously – you can lay a ruler across my hipbones. But the summer after 8th grade, a very good male friend said to me, in his sweet southern Georgia drawl, “Darlin’, you got baby-makin’ hips.”
Baby-makin’ hips. I wore that badge with pride. I would be a mother! I would be a mother goddess! Pregnancy would be a beautiful, wonderful, glorious time in my life. I would cherish every moment of it and have four babies!!!!
I was thirteen.
But all through high school and into college I remembered that phrase, and I secretly relished the fact that pregnancy was my goal and I would be a mother!
I protected my virginity in high school and college, terribly afraid of becoming pregnant outside of marriage.
Oh, the irony.
Keith & I, who met in 7th grade, wonder to this day if we could have made babies in high school. But, I was, after all, raised as a Christian, and sex was supposed to happen only within the bounds of marriage.
Then came graduate school.
I attended a very secular school where there was NO God – not even a FCA or Campus Crusade. I quickly fell away, but strangely, began working at a church.
Then I met him. He was an annoying senior undergrad…I was a know-it-all grad student. It was fate. We fell in love. We talked marriage…I gave in. And was petrified of being pregnant. So we took extreme measures to prevent me from becoming pregnant.
Then we broke up and I was devastated.
I moved home.
I moved to attend seminary.
Keith re-enters my life.
We do NOT have sex before we are married. By this point, we have both totally committed our lives (and our future marriage) to God. So we abstain. Because I have baby-makin’ hips, and my secret dreams of pregnancy and motherhood are just around the bend.
What if we had tried to make babies while I was still in my twenties, albeit, my LATE twenties?
Nine months into our marriage, we stop trying to prevent pregnancy. And discover we are infertile.
And I begin to despise my baby-makin’ hips.
In fact, I begin to despise my very body.
Again, like most women, I struggled with body image issues my whole life. But usually I could focus on the positive and ignore the things I didn’t like. But infertility was like shining a spotlight on my body.
It was broken. It IS broken. It cannot do what I secretly wanted since I was thirteen – make and carry a baby with ease.
So I began to hate my body. I quit exercising it – what was the point? I quit feeding it healthy foods – what was the point? And I quit sharing it with my husband – after all, what’s the point? We won’t get pregnant, so why bother??? I gained over 25 pounds because…what was the point?
I questioned why God would create me with broken parts – specifically, a broken uterus. If He did knit me together in my mother’s womb, why was I knitted together incorrectly? Why, why, why? What if, what if, what if?
I am still plagued with infertility. Unless God chooses to work some miracle in my heart-shaped hostile uterus, I never will be fertile.
I will always be infertile.
But I am trying to come to healthy terms with my body. Yes, I still have baby-makin’ hips. No, they will never spread to birth a baby. But now they support a baby as I carry him throughout the early months of his life. They help me carry groceries and laundry baskets with ease. They help me push his stroller around the zoo and the library and simply around the block.
I have started exercising & eating healthy again – I need to be healthy for my family. Yes, it is hard. There are many days I still hate my body. Every 30 days I am painfully reminded that I am infertile. But I cannot punish my body – it’s not like my body is separate from me and conspired against me to prevent pregnancy.
And my husband and I are working at the sharing thing. It’s hard – deep in the recesses of my mind I cry every time we make love, because we aren’t making a baby. That’s hard to overcome, but we are working at it together.
Infertility has changed my life.
Who would I be if I hadn’t been infertile?
Who would I be if I had known at thirteen that pregnancy would be impossible?
Who am I now?
An infertile woman, working her way through this life, knowing that God chose a different plan for my life. One that includes adoption and blogging.