In nine weeks I will be gearing up to walk down the aisle to marry my boyfriend of six and a half years. Marriage comes with several confronting circumstances, but there has been one that I didn’t see coming.
You might think I’m talking about the hundreds of forms you have to complete to change your name, or the fact you have committed to spending the rest of your life with one person, but in comparison those things seem easy.
I’m talking about the age-old question that people think is fine to ask as soon as you tie the knot. “When are you going to have kids?”
Now some people might think it’s a harmless question and some also think that marriage means kids but I’m here to argue against that. In doing so I need to point out the elephant in the room. Infertility.
Mamamia Out Loud discuss how to answer that dreaded question.
It’s growing at an alarming rate. I discuss it with my friends, I discuss it with my mum, I discuss it with my fiancé.
Is it the fact that women want careers before they settle down? Is it what we eat? Is it the lack of exercise? Is it the binge drinking when we are younger? I don’t know the answers.
What I do know however is that infertility is becoming more common and we need a bigger platform to discuss it.
Eight years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, I have had six laparoscopic surgeries to treat the pain and drill my ovaries. I will tell you, there is nothing that can explain how you feel when you are told at the prime of your child bearing years you might not be able to ever conceive.
I will never forget each individual surgery, but that first one was a confronting experience.
Being wheeled in to a room full of complete strangers with nothing but a white and grey checked hospital gown on to keep you covered, they slide you on to a cold hard theatre table with stirrups on the end and all that runs through your head is the fact that all of these people are about to see the most private part about you.
You know they are all professionals, you know they are there to help you, but in that moment you feel out of control, undignified, lost, scared, hopeful, unsure.
Since that day I have found myself distancing my thoughts and controlling my feelings towards becoming a mother. I have drawn away from the fact that I might not ever be one. I have prepared myself as much as I can for the fact that I might not ever be able to take my own child to their first day of prep, to watch them get married, to hold my baby in my arms.
I can’t tell you if knowing for the past eight years has been a blessing or a curse. Maybe I would have been a bigger dreamer when it came to planning for kids, maybe I would have not said “hell no” when the doctor asked me if I had children last week.
I have built a wall, and I'm not sure if that wall will ever come down until I do hold a baby in my arms and I know what it's truly like to love someone that you have helped to make.
In December I found out I have a small number of eggs, at twenty six they are showing up as a 44-year-old's.
Premature ovarian failure the doctors call it. There are many women who have naturally fallen pregnant with less eggs then I have. Does that fact comfort me? No. Does it mean that I will be able to have kids? I don’t know. I have had two cysts burst on my right ovary in the last eight weeks, and I often get people telling me how common it is. Does that statement also comfort me? No, it doesn’t.
I'm a firm believer that when confronted with struggles, how you deal with them shows what kind of person you are. I believe challenges in life are there to make us grow, learn and become better as people.
I know most women are extremely private about their fertility and the issues that they face. I have always tried to be open and honest when it came to my own personal battle, only so others knew that they could talk to me, or empathize with me. I wanted to get people talking about this awful issue, and know that they weren’t alone.
What do you say to someone who's lost a baby? On This Glorious Mess.
I have already been asked when I'm going to have kids, and I was honest, we don’t know if we can, and one day when we're ready I will try with every fiber of my being to give this world a human that’s half of the greatest man I know and half of me.
I have prepared myself for the onslaught but I want people going forward to be mindful when they ask that question. You never know other peoples struggles, you never know if a couple has tried for two years or has had six rounds of unsuccessful IVF and three miscarriages. Please be mindful and don’t judge, there are also people who might never want children and that’s OK too.
Just know life is never measured by the bad things that happen to you but by the person you become on the other side of those tragedies.
Be strong, stay positive and know that it's never anything you have done but just something in life to make you stronger, better and eventually one day you can show your own child the courageous and persistent woman you are.