A re-run of Beverly Hills, 90210 (a series I am not ashamed to admit I watch daily in re-runs) got me to thinking recently. It was an episode where Kelly, following a pregnancy scare which turned out to be an early miscarriage was told she had endometriosis and that she probably wouldn't be able to conceive, and if she was able to, probably wouldn't be able to carry to term.
She was devastated. For that episode, only. Seems she got over it rather quickly...but I guess I should cut her some slack since she did get shot in a drive by shooting not long after and did lose some of her short term memory...so perhaps it slipped her mind.
At any rate, I was taken back to when I was just nineteen, sitting in a gynecologist's office, being told the same thing. I hadn't had a pregnancy scare or miscarriage, but after my endo diagnosis, I was told almost verbatim the same thing she was told in that episode. I had only gone to the gyn (for my first time) just to see if I could get some pain pills because my cramps were so bad. Next thing I knew, I was scheduled for surgery, then sitting in the office going over the results and being told, rather non nonchalantly, that I probably couldn't have children.
And my reaction? "Oh. Okay. Aaaannd, those pain pills?"
I wasn't devastated. I don't remember being all that concerned.
It just became part of me. I probably can't have kids. OK. Next. I didn't dwell on it, and I didn't care too much. It was what it was. It was pretty abstract, something far in the future and something I wasn't even sure I wanted, anyway. The internet didn't exist then, so I didn't spend hours researching my endo diagnosis...I (gasp) just took what the doctor said as the truth and figured that was it.
My indifference to this revelation didn't change for many years. I actually thought of my infertility as a back up birth control. I didn't have the best taste in boyfriends and had no desire to reproduce with any of them. I didn't have a biological clock, I didn't long for what I couldn't have, it didn't occur to me to be upset about infertility.
Until I met Chris. Then everything changed.
Suddenly, I was infertile.
I knew nothing about infertility treatment. I knew nothing about options. I naively thought that it was black and white...as in, once we decided to have children, I would be told, "Yes, you can!!" or "Nope, sorry, not gonna happen." None of this trying this, trying that, wait and see roller coaster.
I told Chris early on. I knew he wanted kids and to be fair, he had to know what I knew (which turns out was very little). I didn't have a choice in infertility, but he did. If he needed to have a biological child, I wasn't the woman for him. He stayed.
For the first time since I was diagnosed, infertility became a problem. I realize now it had no impact on me until I met "the one", because I couldn't care less about having a biological child. But, when I met Chris, I wanted his child. I was open to adoption, as was Chris, but it was all still so abstract to both of us. There was nothing for sure, so it didn't seem there was anything to really worry about...until we had to worry about it. Which, turns out, was shortly after we were married.
We jumped head first into treatment, holding each others hand the entire time. But my stance never changed. My motivation wasn't about producing my own spawn. I have never needed to be pregnant. It has always been a means to and end for me. While half the infertile population would burn me at the stake for that comment, it's the truth. Even as arrogant as I can be, I still have no true desire to see a mini me running around. What I wanted, what kept me going through all of the ups and mostly downs of infertility, was Chris' child. I want his mini-me. Not in a foot-stamping, spoiled brat way. Just in a heartbreaking way. I think my husband is one of the most amazing people on the planet. Why wouldn't I want to have his child?
I clearly remember the evening after my D&C. After watching his wife writhe in pain as the "remnants of conception" were removed from my body, we were both traumatized. To the point where when we left, we said, "that's it. Only adoption now." We couldn't go through that again. Instantly, a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt so much lighter. No more treatments, no more failures, no more hell. Moving on.
I felt pretty good until we went to bed that night. Chris kissed me good night and gave me his sweet smile. Immediately, I felt my blood run cold. I couldn't give up on having his child. I couldn't give up on seeing his smile in our child, or seeing something and thinking, "Just like his daddy." I couldn't give up on making another Chris. I didn't want to. Was adoption still a possibility, as it had always been? Of course. But I needed to try at least once more. Which we did, and were so fortunate that it worked.
I think my journey from not giving a shit about infertility to really giving a shit is why I'm not offended by statements about not understanding why people would pursue treatment...because I can relate. Not that I cared either way what people did, but I do understand the statement, "If I couldn't have kids, I just wouldn't have kids, or I'd adopt" because that was how I felt. Clearly I did a 180 when I met Chris so I know both sides and I wouldn't crucify anyone for making that comment. Now, talk out of your ass around me about IVF and the perils of pursuing that particular treatment, and I will crucify you. Publicly, if I can. But not understanding the motivation for those of us that do pursue treatment? Yeah, I get it.