Two years ago I married the man of my dreams. Along with many marriages comes the barrage of intrusive questions: are you going to get pregnant, do you want to have kids, do you not like kids, are you going to carry on the family name?
While each of these questions are well intentioned they are still harmful none the less. For me personally a fact that only a couple of people know is that I actually have been pregnant previously. The reality is that the abusive relationship I was in resulted in a miscarriage. The other facet of reality is that I saw a horrible gynecologist. This gynecologist out right lied to me. She told me that because I tested positive for a mutant gene that I had zero chance of having a healthy pregnancy. This in combination with my ex-husband constantly pressuring me to make sure that I never got pregnant, catapulted me into agreeing to do an endometrial ablation thus ensuring that I would never get pregnant again. I realized long ago that this was my cross to bear.
I don’t feel jealous when friends or colleagues tell me they are pregnant. I rejoice with them. I will freely admit that I internally struggle when women tell me they choose to end their pregnancy, the same way I struggle when moms put down the role of being a mom.
I decided to write this blog on behalf of all the women who have struggled with fertility issues. I wanted to give them a voice. Because unless you have been personally terrified of the potential rejection a pregnancy test can hold; you can only emphasize with us. That’s not to put anyone else down. It’s just a statement of fact.
Below are some tips for supporting women through fertility struggles:
Let us see your excitement: if you are pregnant, delivering or raising children please don’t exclude us from those conversations. Allow us to express and experience the joy with you.
Allow us to grieve: Obviously the grief process is different for everyone but it’s still relevant. Most women I know who have had miscarriages value the opportunity to talk about their unborn children. Even if only about their goals and dreams for their children.
Don’t judge us: each and every woman who has struggled with fertility issues handles it differently. Empower us to honor our bodies and unborn children versus judging us.
The sorrow runs deep: In all my years as a psychotherapist I have never experienced the type of pain associated with fertility issues. This is a unique and difficult pain to acknowledge or address. Please be patient with us.
Lay off the religious slogans: I don’t know of a more infuriating slogan than, “God must have something bigger in store for you!” Don’t get me wrong, I understand the philosophy but it’s actually very hurtful. Specifically when you are struggling to see the wisdom of any deity in these issues.
Sometimes we believe we are broken: For the longest time I felt flawed as a human being and even less worthy as a woman. I mean, what is really wrong with my body that it can’t manage to do what a 17 year old can easily do? The biggest thing that has changed this is allowing myself to grieve the loss.
Above all else love us: I am not even going to talk about the hormones that wreak havoc on a woman’s body. Above all else, love and support us. Check in with us. Bring us a cup of tea or a flower. Just let us know that we are loved.
To every woman out there who has struggled with getting pregnant, conceiving a child, being infertile, carrying a child full term or any other variation: I see you! I honor you! I support you! And I love you! Please know that while sometimes there are no answers, you are enough right here and right now. You are enough!
Jenn Bovee is a Psychotherapist and Shame Busting Coach! She loves working with people all over the world to eliminate the Shame from their lives, and helping them to step into their power. Learn more about her here:/