Infertility isn’t just about sperms and eggs. It’s a mental health subject too.
So when my depression over my own infertility made me want to beaver away under the quilts watching romcom’s, sobbing and noshing chocolates, emerging only to throw heavy objects through plate-glass windows, then I knew it was time! Time to channel all that pain, anger and jealousy into a more constructive outlet: writing for you.
This blog is for you. For every woman who has lived with an OPK pee stick in one hand and a calendar in the other screaming at her man around the basal thermometer permanently under her tongue, “It’th time! Dwop youw showts! Bedwoom! Now!”
This blog is for all the women who force a smile and choke back hot tears of jealousy as her sisters, sisters-in-law, cousins, friends, co-workers and acquaintances “accidentally” get pregnant, have baby showers, and parade their offspring without so much as a hint of gratitude for their baby, and certainly with zero empathy or sensitivity for her empty arms.
This blog is for every woman who was abused and is scared shitless of introducing children into this cockeyed world for fear she, or someone else, will continue the pattern of abuse. For the woman who feels that being the victim of abuse – physical, sexual, emotional, mental and/or spiritual – robbed her of her maternal instinct and birthright to be a mother.
This blog is for every woman who was able to have one baby but is experiencing secondary infertility. For the woman who has all that baby stuff stashed in the attic, longing to put it into use again.
This blog is for every woman who has known, perhaps from childhood, that she would never be able to conceive and bear children. The woman who silently wonders if she should release her husband, if he’d be happier with a woman who can give him biological children. The woman who wants to deal a sharp slap-across-the-face to every busybody who says, “And do you have kids? When are you gonna have kids?” The woman who feels ridiculous as she cuddles her fur babies while her best-friend cuddles her infant. The woman who would like to use her breasts to nurse a baby, rather than lugging them through life never to be used for their intended purpose.
This blog is for every woman whose religion implies or teaches that a barren woman is somehow “less than.” The woman who ignores the sidelong glances from the other women at her place of worship as she stands alone, a pariah among self-styled fertility goddesses proudly toting diaper bags and wailing infants. The woman who fights the feeling that she is somehow being judged or punished by God while wondering why he sends babies to teenagers, pedophiles and drug dealers! That she must’ve done something wrong. That it’s her fault. That she isn’t “good enough” to be blessed with a baby. That she did something wrong, sometime, somewhere. That her empty arms are vengeance exacted by an angry, unforgiving God. (What nonsense, btw!)
This blog is for the step-mother who hides her rage that her husband gave children to “the wrong woman,” his malicious ex who used him like some glorified sperm donor and then kicked him to the kerb while still squeezing him dry financially. The step-mother who picks her step-children up for visitation, cooks the food, plays the games and does her crying silently on the toilet, wondering why she can’t have children with this wonderful man, but that loathsome bitch could.
This blog is for every woman who’s been told that she’s too fat to have kids or that her weight will make for unhealthy babies, even though she knows that she barely eats enough to keep body and soul together! It’s for the woman who’s peed on umpteen sticks and stared at “squinters” so long she’s got a raging case of “Line Eye.” (Been there!)
It’s for every women who strains her monthly budget buying supplements for PCOS, swallowing pills ’til she rattles. It’s for every woman who’s undergone fertility treatments, taken Clomid ’til it ran out her ears, had her tubes unblocked, her ovaries drilled and umpteen surgeries for endometriosis. It’s for the woman who has undiagnosed insulin resistance and hypothyroidism that, unbeknownst to her, is causing both her infertility and her depression. And for all of the women with inexplicable infertility where all systems say “Go” but each month’s single-lined HPT says “Thanks for playing. Better luck next month.”
This blog is for the men. The men who comfort their woman as she sobs each time Aunt Flo arrives. Another month older. Another month of trying wasted. The man who knows how hard it is to “get it up” when basal temperatures, OPKs, saliva ferning and the Age of Aquarius all align…but he isn’t in the mood! A man who’s so worn out after Day 14 that he wonders if he’s less of a man for turning down more sex in favor of sleep!
And this blog is for every woman whose infertility is a big factor in her depression. It’s for the woman who has grieved every miscarriage, every stillbirth, every baby she’s lost ’til she has no more tears to cry. For the woman who has that small angel tattoo as a living memorial to her Angel Baby. It’s for the woman who is fighting for her mental health while drowning in a sea of pain and anger. It’s for every woman who wants to scream when she sees some ungrateful mother yelling viciously at her precious children in the Walmart cereal aisle. For the woman guilt-ridden over her throes of jealousy when she sees yet another swollen belly. The woman who wanted to slap her best-friend and five-year infertility buddy across the face when she squealed, “I’m pregnant!!” with no thought nor sensitivity as to how it made you feel!
Because infertility isn’t just about luteinizing hormone and sperm counts. It’s not just about progesterone levels and sperm motility. It’s a mental health issue, too.
And we’ve suffered enough, my goodness Ladies, how we have suffered!
Our feelings are valid. That’s the point. I’m not going to talk you out of them or suggest you play little mind games with yourself or “just relax.” This blog is about validation. It’s about comfort. It’s about putting your pain, your feelings, your most hidden thoughts into words. So you don’t feel quite so alone.
Because your man doesn’t get it. He tries, but he can’t. Not entirely. He can’t understand how it feels to be “all dressed up with nowhere to go” because he doesn’t have a uterus and will never know the desire to use it! He doesn’t have the deep primal urge to suckle an infant. He can’t validate and understand you like I can. Because I’m infertile, too, and the pain gets so bad, I can almost taste it. You’re not alone! Infertility rates are higher than they’ve ever been before and sperm counts have tanked (and it’s not our fault!). You’re in very good company.
Welcome to Full Heart, Empty Arms where we talk about anything and everything infertility together. Here’s a big hug. We’re in this infertility bullsh*t together, Sister.