Dealing With Life’s Expectations | Infertility
It seems like no matter what you do these days there is always some expectation that you aren’t living up to. Or someone is shaming you because you aren’t meeting said expectations. As you grow up it’s expected that you graduate high school. Once you do that it is expected that you go to college and graduate and get a good paying job. After you graduate from college you should be getting married and having a baby while maintaining your career. It seems that people, especially women, just can’t help but ask when you will get married and have babies. They mean nothing of it. But they don’t know how hurtful that can be when you can’t have a baby. They don’t understand how hard it is to have to say over and over that you can’t have child. Or how hard it is to see all your friends having babies and knowing that you will never hold your own. Don’t get me wrong I am so happy to be an “Auntie.” But it’s just not the same as having your own.
Maybe I am wrong but to me it seems like there is so much more pressure on women to get through school, get your degree and then start having babies these days. If you are the odd women out and haven’t had a baby by the time you are 28 the questions start coming. When are you going to get married?? When are you going to start having kids?!?! How many kids do you want?!?? For most those are fun questions to think about. It’s a fun dream about building your own family. But for someone like me who has been told that have can’t have children, those questions are HARD! It’s difficult to have to tell people that you won’t be able to have kids; to explain why. It always amazes me that people can’t just take what I say and go with it. They have to tell me about all the options I have for having kids. You know you can adopt? How about a surrogate? Or my favorite, I have a friend who has Endometriosis and has had 3 kids! I appreciate that they care enough to think of the options, but I know. I know that there are other ways to have a baby. I am fully aware.
The fact that I will never have my own child naturally isn’t just because I have Endometriosis. Sure, that plays a big part. But I also have what seems like a millions and one other health issues. Several of which are genetic. I would never forgive myself if I passed on the gene for the conditions I have. I never want my child to have to deal with the issues I have especially when it could have been prevented. Before you tell me that there will probably be a cure for lupus before my kids grow up, I KNOW. Sure, that’s a possibility. But to me it’s not a strong enough possibility that I would risk having a child. There has only been ONE new medication released in the last FIFTY YEARS to treat lupus. Honestly it’s not just that I have endo, or could pass on my bad genes. Another BIG reason I won’t ever have a child is that I would have to stop pretty much every single one of my medications. These are the meds that give me what little normalcy that I have. Yes, that is kind of selfish, I know. But I also know how terrible I feel on bad days WITH my meds that I can’t imagine doing nine plus months with no meds at all.
The good news is there is adoption! It may sound crazy but I’ve felt like I was being called to adopt since I was in middle school, long before I got sick. I have been talking about adoption for years. By adopting I can fulfill my life long dream of being a mother without possibly passing my horrible genes on, and without having to suffer myself for months on end. And to top it all I get to give someone a family who doesn’t have one. I know its expensive and can be hard. But for me it seems like the best option at this point. There are so so so many kiddos out there who are bouncing around the foster care system and need a home. It truly warms my heart to think that one day I could help one (or maybe more) of those kiddos and show them what a real family is supposed to be like.
A woman should never be made to feel badly because she can’t or isn’t having children the “normal” way. There are so many things that can interfere with having a baby. Quite frankly it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS how or when I (or any other woman you may know) may choose to have children. I hate that the world has gotten to a place where it has almost become okay for women to shame other women because they don’t have kids. For women like me it’s not my choice in the end. If I could, and knew my child could be healthy and wouldn’t get my genes I would have a child in heart beat. But that’s not the case. But I should never have to explain that to anyone. It’s hard enough for me to deal with, much less having to explain it to other nosy people who ask. So please, if there is a woman in your life, no matter if they are your best friends or family, be cautious of how you bring up having children. Be kind and if you know there is a fertility or health issue, don’t shame her. Chances are she feels a lot of shame already because she isn’t living up to the expectations of the world. She doesn’t need your shame too.