Two of my closest friends recently had their first babies, and I’ll admit, I was nervous about how it was all going to go down. I didn’t know what negative feelings might surface as I was reminded – yet again – that their story would never be my story. Read More
Image by Tina Floersch
Post by Amy Brown, amazing woman, blogger, and co-host of the Bobby Bones Show.
My husband and I started trying to get pregnant about 8+ years ago. We’d been married for a couple of years at that point and decided we were ready to grow our family and into the next phase of life. Little did we know how hard it would be to do that.
When it didn’t happen right away, I assumed it was because he traveled often and we didn’t always have the luxury of being together. At the time, we were stationed at a military base in North Carolina, so we did the best we could between deployments… I held out hope and charted my cycle… oh, and also did all the tricks… handstands and such. (You know what I’m talking about!)
We both waited for that inevitable moment when we would see our “plus sign.”
I have always been a high achiever. A constant producer. Someone who gets things done. After being a woman who prided herself in her accomplishments for so long, you can imagine that being literally unable to produce offspring was quite the blow to my ego. Read More
I’ve noticed that people like fixing other people’s problems, and the problem of infertility is no exception. In conversations with people about your infertility, have you ever heard anything similar to the following?
- A friend of your friend was struggling to get pregnant. Then she and her husband fostered some children, and because she wasn’t so focused on getting pregnant anymore, she finally did. (In other words, your anxiety is the reason you’re not pregnant.)
- A friend of your friend was trying to get pregnant, but then she adopted some children and now she is perfectly content as their mother. (In other words, you don’t have to parent biological children to be happy.)
- A friend of your friend’s was having trouble getting pregnant. Then she adopted and realized God was truly the one in charge of her family. And now she’s pregnant with twins. (In other words, you also must not have given over everything to God yet. Otherwise, you would be pregnant too. Okay, that’s the pretty cynical interpretation. Maybe they are trying to say that God’s timing is not your timing.)
There can be a lot of shame around being infertile, even in America, and especially in other countries where the patriarchal systems remain in full force. Willem Ombelet of the Genk Institute for Fertility Technology said, “If you are infertile in some cultures, you are less than a dog.” In the U.S. we can feel shame around infertility because of the stigma or the feeling of “strangeness” that comes with being peripheral to societal norms. Read More
I hate to admit it, but there’s still a stigma attached to infertility in our society. Merriam Webster defines stigma as “a scar; a mark of shame; an identifying characteristic, specifically a diagnostic sign of disease.” The best definition I found for it was a “spoiled identity” (Goffman, 1963). There is often a stigma attached to infertility for us because that which should be a mark of femaleness – the ability to give birth to babies – is “scarred” or “spoiled” in barren women. Read More
It’s strange walking around being married for 11 years and having no kids. Yes, I’ll own that. My parents raised me not to care about what people think, so I’ve always been a little strange. Case in point: I had this stuffed clown that I slept with every night until I was 22. I’m not sure which is more strange: not having kids after all these years of marriage, or not getting rid of that clown. (For those of you who hate clowns, don’t worry, I’m not going to talk about it anymore. Also, I’m not a psycho. My grandma gave it to me when I was a kid.)
Anyway, my lack of children has arrived at the “strange” stage. After all, having kids is the natural way of things. You get married. You do things married people do, and eventually, that leads to kids. We see it happen all around us all the time.
Except, sometimes it doesn’t. Read More
For a long time, I didn’t believe God loved all of me. I knew He loved me because He had sent Jesus to die for me, but I thought He couldn’t love the part of me that was still broken, the part of me that was marred by sin. I pictured Him looking down from heaven, watching me go about my day, and every once in awhile, a disappointed look would cross His face. He would turn away, thinking, I wish Anna could have kids. Read More
I gained some confidence after starting my cycle. I began caring more about my appearance and started dating. I could finally put the worries of my pseudo-womanhood behind me. Or at least, I could shove the fears and anxieties of my teenage years to the back of my mind and act like they weren’t there, which is exactly what I did. Read More
Note: Let me start by saying my story is not your story. I am keenly aware of this. You may have just found out you were infertile and are trying to figure out what to do next. You may already have biological children, but getting pregnant again is looking more and more unlikely. You might be single and eager to have children with a spouse, but you’re not even dating anyone. All of our stories and sorrows are different, and there is really no point in comparing our suffering. As Jerry Sittser says, “The right question to ask is not, ‘Whose is worse?’ It is to ask, ‘What meaning can be gained from suffering?’” (A Grace Disguised) For this reason, everyone’s story is important. And now, I’ll go ahead and share mine. Read More