“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” – Brene Brown
I’ve never thought the question “so when are you having kids?” was an intrusive one. Especially being a newlywed. I mean, it’s almost expected. That is, until we had to make the tough decision to put that part of our lives on hold for a while. I don’t know if it’s because it’s at the forefront of my mind that I’m noticing how many times it comes up in daily conversation, or if it’s because we’re really so conditioned that this is the ‘next step’ after marriage that it has just become a societal norm to ask such a personal question to a complete stranger. Either way, it makes me wince a little.
If you don’t know us personally, then you may not be aware, that for the past year or so my husband has been dealing with some unexplained medical issues. Shortly before we got married, things intensified. In sickness and in health, right? Without giving too much detail, because that’s his story to tell, he has dealt with several different infections and some crappy (no pun intended) GI issues. The doctors have their speculations, but no concrete diagnoses have been determined. As a result of the unknown and the ‘what-if’s’, he was put on a very intense medication. He was placed on the medication as a trial. Bad news: it didn’t work and they’re now trying other things. Good news: it didn’t work and they’re now trying other things. If you’re wondering why that’s important, and what it has to do with that first paragraph, keep reading.
Unfortunately while taking the medication, and for six to eight months afterwards, that medication can have dangerous effects on a pregnancy. It is listed as a ‘Category X’ medication. If you don’t know what that means, Google it. So in the months following our marriage, my husband was given his options, and we made the tough decision to hold off on starting our family; because ultimately his health comes first. As far as we’re aware, these effects will not be long term. But it’s still long enough. When you’re in your thirties, tried for several months prior with no luck and have an extensive family history of fertility concerns, it feels like a lifetime. If I’m being completely honest, I’ve always had a fear of being unable conceive; I just never thought it would have to be a choice.
I’ve cried many tears in the last couple of months and more often than not, the sight of a baby or a child is like a punch in the gut. So for those of you with children, especially those who had no concerns conceiving, or for anyone who may think I’m overreacting, please don’t undermine our situation by saying “oh relax, it’ll happen”. You don’t know that; we don’t know that. And we certainly don’t know when. I have no doubt we’ll get through this season of life, look back and smile, seeing it as a road bump. But for right now, it’s very real and it’s very hard. To those of you who are reading this and dealing with an unchosen path of infertility, know that you are loved, you matter, your story matters; most importantly, your worth does not come from mothering a child.