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.
12 thoughts on “I Missed National Infertility Awareness Week”
GREAT post!!! Thanks for sharing your heart!! I have a very similar story, it's funny how life doesn't always work out the way WE plan, but HIS plan is always so much better anyway!!
oh my goodness, your raw and beautiful words; thoughts and feelings; from your raw and beautiful heart. this post is stunningly transparent and i pray that many will read it and be touched positively…i'm nearly certain it will greatly help at least one person. thank you so much for sharing. i pray it is beneficial for you too. love~
thank you for this post.
thanks especially for the part about how your “baby-making hips” help you to carry your baby (and laundry and groceries) even though they didn't “make” him.
i needed to hear that.
Thank you for a true and beautiful post. It touches me deeply…and helps me to face things I don't want to face.
I was touched by your amazing blog. I want you to know that question of who are you is a thought provoking question. You are more than a barren woman. You are a woman who is beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
The doctors may say that your heart shaped uterus is a deformity but God made you with a uterus that was purposefully designed for you.
I know how you feel. I am also barren. I always wanted children. I shed my tears but I stopped crying and now I have decided to accept what God has for me. I believe that God has many blessings for me to receive as long as I seek is face and remain focused and obedient.
I encourage you to see yourself as more than a barren woman. Love yourself and the way God made you.
Oh, my. I have baby-making hips. I was raised a Christian. I AM a Christ follower. I abstained until I met my husband. Because I was terrified of becoming pregnant. Then I met my husband, and learned we would never become pregnant. And now I'm an adoptive momma.
My baby-making hips helped me carry my daughter through two years of attachment parenting. And they will help me this spring as we add another child to our family after almost five years waiting to adopt again from China.
I needed to hear that. They didn't help me make my daughter, but they did help me carry her. Thank you.
This post really resonates for me in so many ways.
I went through a sever and prolonged “what was the point?” phase, too.
Thank you for expressing these thoughts, Rachel.
Wow. Amazing post. Definately belongs in the creme de la creme.
Thank you for reminding me that infertility (even though I'm prego now) never leaves us and has changed us.
I went through a long phase where I hated my body. I abused it horribly and it took a few years to really start taking care of myself again.
IF will always be a part of you no matter how far away it becomes.
Congrats on receiving your little boy.
(from the creme)
This post breaks my heart. I'm so sorry for all of the pain that you have suffered.
I'm glad to hear that you are being kind to your body again. Your little boy needs you to be healthy, and you deserve to love yourself.
(here from creme)