I believe being a mother starts with having the desire to be one, and for many, fighting to be one. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 3 years. We’ve gone to holistic doctors, we’ve tried it on our own, and now we have sought out modern medicine. None of which has resulted with what we want most - a child of our own.
If you were to ask me when I was a little girl what I envisioned my life to look like in my 30s, I would have rehearsed the multiple Disney movies that influenced me, and created a false expectation. Falling in love, getting married, having kids and of course, living happily ever after! Solid plan right?
I am now in my 30s. I had “planned” to be a mom by 28. I quickly discovered the weight of the phrase “when you make plans, God laughs.”
Looking back now, at 26 I was juggling a new marriage, a career, and relentless debt. I couldn’t take care of myself let alone another human being.
Fast forward a couple years when my husband and I were in a better place in our relationship and financially, I said this is the right time! The time I “chose”! Let’s have a baby!
A couple months go by, nothing happened. I read online that it takes up to a year sometimes so I was at peace with that. Then a year hit, then a year and half and I was baffled.
Immediately guilt started to sink in. Something is wrong with me. Because in our society when you think infertility, you primarily think of a woman.
We chose to seek out countless infertility doctors (some of which were so apathetic and seem to have forgotten how daunting this process could be). We met our (now) doctor who is incredible.
We did blood work, sonograms- let’s pause there.
Remember when I was speaking about my unrealistic expectations?
I thought the only time my husband and I would be in the same room during a sonogram, would be to gawk at the miracle taking place in my belly.
Not because I was going to be told I have PCOS on both sides and anovulation and my husband has a low sperm count.
We’ve been trying for 3 years. One failed IUI fore they suspended treatments due to covid-19.
Within the countless doctor appointments I feel I’m constantly being pricked and pulled and pushed toward the edge.
I hear the voices of those around me who say hurtful things without even realizing it.
“Oh we’re very fertile in this family, just relax”
“Is everything ok in your marriage”
“You better give him a baby before he leaves you for someone who is younger”
Followed by “oh I’m just kidding”
I needed it to stop.
I started comparing my journey to those around me. I was so bitter, that when someone asked me when we were having kids, I would reply with “Ask God”
I still navigate through every possible feeling. The joy, the hope and the disappointment.
However, through my healing, I knew I had a responsibility to remove the stigma of infertility. It’s rarely spoken about, but this shame is deeply felt by both woman AND men.
People are suffering silently and isolating themselves.
We have to remember our lives will always have struggles, but our struggles are there to create a bridge to a community where we don’t have to face our challenges alone.
Even at the risk of being judged, shamed, embarrassed, or misunderstood, I have shared our journey of starting a family quite publicly. Some people treat infertility like a contagious disease and give you the sympathy look others who are very close to us say things like “that stuff is private! It’s not for the world to know!” Or “Oh Geez, ANOTHER post about this?” Or this gem - “Are you looking for attention?”
No, I’m looking to create a world that doesn’t shame people for being vulnerable. To be a pioneer of women and men, who trade isolation and depression for hope and encouragement as coping mechanisms. We must share with no shame. Because chances are, one day, someone may come across YOUR story and be renewed, uplifted and given hope.
IG handle: Katerinapapadak