As I sit down to write this I am shaking. I think I have always known that I would share my story but haven’t had the words until now. So, here we go.
David and I suffer from ‘Unexplained Infertility’. A fun little term that they stamp on your forehead after a year of trying to conceive without success and with no apparent reason why. It’s now been two years since we decided that we would officially start ‘trying’. It was a few months before a year of trying and I had a feeling that something was wrong. I come from a family of extremely fertile women and was an ‘accident’ myself. Also, I seem to remember a very informed coach saying, “Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die”. Still waiting, Coach Carr. I expressed concern with my OBGYN and she brushed off my concerns and made me feel like an overreacting child. “You’re young”, she said. “You are healthy, have never had an abnormal PAP and your mom did not have difficulty conceiving. You’ll be fine.” And that was the last time I saw her.
I have gone on to try everything in the book before fertility treatments. People like to ask if you’ve tried this and that and want you to know that their mom’s friend’s sister in law had the SAME EXACT problem and now they are pregnant with their fifth child so don’t worry. Thanks, now I can relax. That’s also my favorite – ‘just relax’. I have been told to pray more and harder and in a certain way. It has been suggested to me that my womb is closed so that I can focus on a career. I have been told to do handstands after sex, take these vitamins, no wait that THESE vitamins, try meditating, talk to so-and-so, eat meat, don’t eat meat, gain weight, stop running because running is TERRIBLE, make sure you’re exercising, and the list goes on and on.
We have, as of now completed two rounds of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) with no success. I am now a pro at shooting myself up in my stomach, something that makes me feel like I could both walk on hot stones like Pam Beasley from The Office and collapse to the floor like the wet noodle that I am. My life is one giant oxymoron. I have now done things that never in a million years did I think I would ever consider or thought that I was sturdy enough to handle and I will go on to tackle a hundred more hurdles that will shock and amaze me.
If I had to describe this journey with a metaphor, I would say that it’s like being stranded on a life boat in the middle of the ocean with a cheese banana and a flip phone. You keep paddling because what else do you do, you eat the cheese banana because it’s all you have and it’s so terrible that it’s actually hilarious in a fucked up kind of way and you use the flip phone for its shitty reception because you have to find a way to connect with someone even if it’s never enough to fill the giant hole in your raft.
I have sobbed in front of strangers, distanced myself from friends and family and have experienced the most intense feelings of jealousy known to woman-kind… something that I am profoundly ashamed of. I sometimes wonder if the universe finds my plight amusing when Instagram shows me ads of perfectly glowing moms-to-be, Amazon sends me free trial diapers and someone announces a pregnancy every time I start my period. I am unpredictable, extremely protective of myself, totally raw and somehow still hopeful. And that is why I write this for you.
To the woman screaming in her car, this is for you. To the woman still smiling when there is nothing left inside, this is for you. To the men feeling useless and confused, love her so hard. To the women who have come before me to expose your wounds, thank you. You inspire me every day. To the woman who can’t reveal this pain, I see you. This is for you. To all my warrior sisters, we are hella strong and I am proud to be among so much love, courage and compassion. This is for us.