I originally intended this blog to chronicle our journey through infertility treatment. I wanted to do this because I process things by ‘putting them out there’, I share, and the comments I hear back help me reflect and process my own thoughts and feelings. In the past I would process things by holding them in. That led to me not be able to eat or hold down food, from stress. So I have taken intentional steps (hello therapy!) to not do that anymore. I also wanted to do this in hopes that others who are struggling will know they are not alone. Infertility is like a dirty little secret, no one talks about it, and that leads to feelings of shame and self-blame. I also wanted to share what it is like to be a Pastor’s wife and be the recipient of more speculation about the contents of my womb then you could ever imagine.
So I got a little side tracked with the arrival of our foster baby and I also lost my courage to share for a while. But I think I got it back. What I share is personal, it’s a lot of info about our life and journey and at times it gets uncomfortable. But that is life, and I want to share it with you all as I go through it.
So lets rewind. Two years ago I married the love of my life, an amazing man and we were so excited to start our life together. A month before our wedding I went on the pill as we were using the only 100% effective birth control before our wedding (think about it, it’ll come to you). Funny story though I had a severe infection from having a wisdom tooth extracted and was on a massively high dose of antibiotics on our honeymoon. Little did I know antibiotics negate the pill’s effectiveness. When I found this out I was all “PANIC!”. Little did I know I didn’t have to worry, I was infertile. (The funnier story is the story of our honeymoon when the antibiotics caused a severe reaction and I was sick as a dog for two days. Poor, poor Jacob.) Oh and the whole month up to our wedding was just one medical disaster and mishap after another. That is like 10 blog posts though and I don’t think you all want to read about it, but trust me it’s hilarious.
So why am I rambling about the pill? Because the instant you hear the diagnosis ‘infertile’ you start criticizing every choice you made, and then the guilt sets in. We did Catholic pre-marital counseling and Methodist pre-marital counseling. In the Catholic version you hear that life is a gift and children strengthen your bond as a couple and that you should not try to prevent that gift. In the Methodist version it was more focused on us as a couple and establishing that role before talking about kids. I’m not saying that is bad, just different from my thoughts on it. But we listened to society, family, friends that we MUST WAIT to have kids, they will RUIN your life if you have them too soon. I personally didn’t care how long we waited, but I felt like I was supposed to, so I did.
And I am not blaming anyone or thing AT ALL, this was my choice to wait. It is just we find out we can’t have kids and I start blaming myself, because if we had tried to have kids right away, we would have found out a lot sooner about the problem and started treatments a lot sooner. I have told myself I shouldn’t have gone on the pill, that maybe God (Catholic God of course) is punishing me for taking the pill. These are crazy thoughts, I know, but your mind still goes there.
So 7 months into marriage I go for my regular girly-doc appointment. The doc starts asking me about my history and everything and I tell her some information and she ask when we want kids and I tell her we are thinking of starting to try in about 6 months or so. She immediately says I need to stop taking the pill. I go, “Wah? I don’t want to be pregnant right now.” Her response was “oh honey, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to get pregnant on your own.”
What? What are you talking about? Suddenly that little bubble-dream of me with my husband and our future kids is popped. And in its place is this black cloud with a question mark.
This cloud wraps around you, it is cold and damp, and you can’t shake it off. It goes everywhere with you. I drink my morning coffee and the doctor’s words whisper through my head. I go to church and think I am focusing on worship and suddenly ‘I might not have kids’ starts going through my mind. Every action, every conversation, it is constantly on my mind. I go to bed thinking about it and I wake up thinking about it. I search the internet for any and all information. It just leads to more questions and more worries.
I’m a Pastor’s wife for Godsakes! I’m supposed to pop out kids and bake cookies! And get this, I have two degrees and a great career, but really all I want to do is have kids and bake cookies. I have always felt that way. I love that I have two degrees and a great job, but I have always known that when I have kids they will be my life. I don’t care if I would be ‘wasting’ my degrees. I want to be a stay at home Mom (if we can afford it) and bake some damn cookies!
And then there are the ‘church ladies’. GOD BLESS THEM. Every older lady at Jacob’s church has inquired about the contents of my womb and my plans for it. SEVERAL have told us that we need to ‘get working’ on having kids. Really? Would you like me to drop my pants right here in the sanctuary and ‘get working’ on it? I’m glad so many elderly ladies are thinking about my sex life. Because that is NOT AT ALL CREEPY! Like there is not enough pressure on me as a pastor’s wife already. Now I need to tie Jacob down and force him to impregnate me so the church ladies will be happy.
And I KNOW they mean well. But this is the only context I have found where it is acceptable to questions, prod, and ‘stick your nose where it does NOT belong’, a young woman about having kids. Why does the fact that my husband is a pastor make it ok for them to do this? If he was an accountant at a large firm his entire office would not be needling me about when I was going to ‘pop one out’.
And so every Sunday (yes EVERY) I had to deal with yet another person asking me about when I am going to have a child. And at the same time we are undergoing test after test to try to determine the severity of our infertility. Tests that are impersonal and uncomfortable and answering more questions about your private life then you ever wanted to share with a doctor. And so I would smile at the church ladies and tell them ‘oh yes we can’t wait to have kids’ and then quickly excuse myself before I burst into tears in front of them.
It sucks. And that was just the start of the sucking.
I apologize if any of you are blushing or feeling awkward after reading this. Please know I would not share it if I was not ok talking about it. My family reads this and I am totally fine sharing it with them and you (though they may not be fine with me sharing with them, SORRY DAD :)) Please feel free to share this with others, post it wherever, etc. I have spent a long time feeling ashamed about this, but have come to the realization there is nothing to be ashamed about. So if this helps anyone going through this as well, then great.
Next blog post teaser: FUN with BBT and Clomid!