Fear, Fertility, and Forgiveness

There’s a lot of woman-talk in here, which is part of my gender-identity that I struggle with a lot on multiple different levels… This is just one of those levels.

This blog was inspired by another blogger, Ooh Chiara, called inFertility, or “When your ovaries don’t want to work.”  It’s pretty awesome, so you should read it.

I am a firm believer in what I’ve come to call “The Gods’ Plan.”  I think that has a lot to do with being raised Presbyterian (aka, God’s Chosen).  When I was growing up, my family, being very devote PCUSA members, always reminded me that I had follow God’s plan for me since it was already laid out. When I told my dad what I wanted to be when I grew up, he said, “Now, you need to make sure that’s what you were put on this Earth to do.  You need to really think about it and make absolute sure that’s what you’re job is supposed to be.”  It’s something I can’t really shake, and it’s something I’ve carried over with me into my faith as a Pagan.

I think it’s because I like the idea and what it means.  It implies that the Gods always have my back as long as I am faithful.  It implies that when I feel lost, the Gods will be there to guide me and help me on my journey.  It implies that things will turn out okay in the end of it all.  The Gods having a plan for me gives me a lot of hope for the future, and I can look back on my past and see how that plan has led me directly to a better future.

Even the worst of all my past relationships have led me directly into the arms of my current love.  I have so much more to be thankful of when it comes to my past, so I don’t spend time anymore being angry about it.  And I was angry for a long time, but then I started thinking about the Gods’ plan, and I realized that I have no reason to be angry, only thankful.

The Gods’ Plan also makes way for something else to go away: fear.

Let me back up.  When I was in high school, I went for a yearly check up with a gynecologist, as all women do (or should do, really, although I haven’t been recently, so I’m not one to talk).  I hadn’t had a period in two months, and I was worried about something being wrong.  The doctor, of course, thought my tears meant that I was pregnant and just didn’t want to admit it because I was so young.  I got so fed up with him about it that I said, “Doc, unless it’s the next messiah, I’m NOT pregnant.”  He finally let off it.

At the end of the appointment, he said, “You aren’t ovulating, which is why you aren’t having any monthly cycles.  It’s probably because of your weight.  Different women have different weight thresholds, and you’ve just reached yours.  If you want to get your fertility back, then you need to lose weight.”

I thought that was a pretty cop-out answer (because I knowz allz the medicals), so I didn’t change my habits.  Eventually, I saw another doctor, who diagnosed me with PCOS, but he never saw any cysts, never told me that was what I had, and never treated me for it.  The only way I found out that was what I had was it was in my records and on my paperwork.  I was never treated.

After months stretched into years of not having a cycle, I finally realized that having kids of my own was in the low percentile, and once that realization hit me, I fell into one of the worst bouts of depression I have ever experienced.  One of the things I wanted out of life was my own kids.  I wanted to experience the birthing process, feel what it was like to have a tiny human kick me from the inside, hear the heartbeat over a monitor, and see the tiny hands on an ultrasound screen.  And each one of those dreams was crashing down around me.

I thought about fostering and adopting, but adoption worried me: what if the birth parents backed out?  What if it took years to finally get placed?  What if the state wouldn’t let me adopt because I was unfit?  And where the hell is all that money going to come from?  Adoptions are NOT cheap, and there is absolutely NO health insurance to help cover any costs.  Some places in the south won’t even bat an eye at telling a lesbian couple to suck it when it comes to having a child through adoption.  We’re two women in love, obviously we’re unfit for parenthood.

I’ve looked into different adoption options over the years: open adoptions, closed adoptions, adoptions from birth, adoptions through fostering.  A little over a year ago, I was in process to take custody of a girl who was in a bad situation, but she ended up being placed back with her family.  I hear these stories of friends and coworkers who just heard of a child who needed a placement and they were in the right place at the right time and now they have these amazing children.

Then I reached that age where Facebook goes from photos of nights out drinking and partying to new babies and smiling families.  And it is NOT easy.  It’s not easy when it’s something that you want so badly for yourself and it’s not a matter of when but a matter of if.  I spent many, many nights crying over my infertility and the “you’re next!” comments from well-meaning friends and family.  I would smile, but in the back of my head I was thinking, “Not me, not now, and probably not ever.”

I hear a lot of women who complain, a lot, about their monthly cycles: the up and down emotions, the pain, how annoying they are, how much they suck and how bad they feel.  I’ll make some comment like, “Well, at least you have one.”  And then it starts up the stream of, “Oh, you’re so lucky.” and “I wish I didn’t!”  I’d smile and agree, “Yeah, I guess that’s true,” at first, but after awhile, it really started to get to me.  Finally, I started saying, “I’d take having over not having one any day because I want to have kids and I can’t.  Not having my cycle means I’m infertile.  Every. Single. Month. that passes and I don’t get it again is another constant reminder of something I desperately want and can’t have.”

That was usually followed by some apologies and an uncomfortable silence.  I spent a lot of time forgiving myself and learning that this didn’t make me less of a person.  I spent a lot of time forgiving others for their well-meaning comments, and forgiving myself again for lashing out.  I had to allow myself to feel angry and mourn for these children I wanted and expected but weren’t ever going to have.  I cried a lot.

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Bes, Protector of the Home and Children

Two of my major Gods in my life, Ubasti and Bes, are associated with fertility, childbirth and children.  I was so adamant to add Bes to Erin and I’s family altar downstairs that I searched for months for an idol before speaking to an artist and having this one to the right specially made.

When things got bad, and I got desperate for any sign of my fertility (usually months and months of nothing), I would pray, in tears, for something… anything.  But the Gods don’t work on my schedule, They work on Theirs.

Photo Mar 20, 10 55 38 PMIn the time since placing Bes on our altar, I’ve lost 30 pounds and seen some major health improvements that have led to a lot of hope surrounding my chances of having children in the future.  I don’t know if it’s possible, but the hope is there.  I’ve decided to trust in the Gods’ plans for my life.

For one thing: It’s not time.  I know it’s not time.  Erin should start her graduate program in April, and then it’s two years before she has her Masters and her BCBA.  We’re working on getting our finances in line and our debt paid down.  We’re wanting to get married first and have a wedding with all our friends and family.  We want a stress-free honeymoon without having to worry about  pregnancy or who’s going to watch our kids and make sure everything and everyone is taken care of before leaving.

We have so much stuff we want to accomplish in our next two years that children just isn’t on that list.  School and being in better financial position are more important.  I know people will say, “But you’ll never really be ready to have kids.”  And that may be the case, but we can be more ready that we are now, which is not at all with Erin going back to school for her Masters and me getting some classes in over the summers for a promotion.

I honestly don’t know what my current fertility status is, but I do know this: It’s in the Gods’ hands.  I have faith in Them and Their plan.  All I can do is prepare and plan for the future as best I can because I can’t control what that future is.  It helps keep all the overwhelming feelings of falling behind from surfacing knowing that my time will come, just not quite yet.

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Posted on March 20, 2014, in Balance, Faith, Pagan Blog Project, PBP, Positive, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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