I wrote this a while ago but it’s taken me awhile to post it, in fact I was trying to decide whether to password protect it cos I don’t want to sound like I’m ungrateful or looking for sympathy, nor do I want to offend anyone in anyway. But the whole reason for this blog wasn’t for other people but to work through stuff ourselves.
So here’s the thing, my secret. I am scared to use my own body to ttc. To be more specific, I am scared to get pregnant.
For a long time I couldn’t articulate this which led to K believing I just didn’t want to do it. The first time I tried to voice this fear I screwed it up completely because I said I was scared and that was it, which I’ll admit after everything that K has put herself through for this seemed like a pretty shitty thing to say.
When K and I first got together, and when we first started talking about babies, it was logical that she would go first. She is older by four years and had always desperately wanted to have her own child. The Grand Plan was that she would carry two babies and I would carry one.
Growing up I never actually imagined being married and having children. A lot of that probably came from an unacknowledged aversion to the normative family picture. I grew up in a fairly conservative and religious environment and despite having several “alternative” friends that came out at high school, it never actually occurred to me until I was 19/20 that I could actually be gay myself. But I always knew I wasn’t going to marry a man, and in my sheltered mind that assumed that I wouldn’t bear children. That’s not to say I never thought I’d be a parent, I could definitely imagine myself with children but I just never considered how it would come about.
When I met K, that assumption swung back the other way. In those early days I don’t think she ever considered for a moment that I might not want to bear children. Neither did I to be honest, it seemed a simple switch in my head – I couldn’t imagine myself being pregnant, because I couldn’t accept the scenario of how that would come about. Meeting K and learning about queer parenting changed that; all of a sudden I could see how it would work.
Having said that, I was more than happy for K to go first. It never occurred to either of us that it would be a difficult thing to do, after all as we said at the time fertility runs rampant in her family. As time has gone by with nothing but disappointment, we started talking about when I might try. For a long time I avoided these conversations, so much so that K thought I didn’t want to try at all which isn’t strictly speaking true. But knowing that K wasn’t ready to stop trying herself, and not wanting to let her give up on that dream, it was easy to avoid thinking about it.
The story goes back about 6 years to when I was diagnosed with PCOS. My insurance meant that I was referred to the top gynecologist in the area, although we were still years away from trying at this point the subject still came up. He didn’t say I wouldn’t be able to conceive, but we did talk about his clinic and the ‘bonus’ of being in a f/f relationship meaning two uteri should we need them (and yes btw this is the same Dr as we now see at the Clinic). At the time I was pretty devastated that I had yet another seemingly major medical issue to deal with and I took from that that I may not be able to have my own children.
I’m not sure if I built this up in my mind as self protection in case it did come true, but for a long time I honestly believed I probably wouldn’t be able to have a baby. Now I know that’s not true, and we have since discussed the use of drugs etc to help which frankly don’t seem nearly as daunting now as they would have 2 years ago.
However, in realising this, I had to confront the fact that I still had issues with being the bio parent.
It goes back to my other health problems. For the most part I don’t talk about this much, mostly because I don’t like to think too much about it anymore but ten years or so ago I was diagnosed with arthritis, then later fibromyalgia. Up til that point I was sports mad, all I wanted to do with my life was play sport and I was doing well with it. All of a sudden that was ripped out from under me and the next several years were horrible. At times I couldn’t even get myself out of bed or walk without a walking stick, I was taking methotrexate which was just making me sicker and not helping at all. I was losing my friends because I was so angry and depressed and couldn’t do anything a normal 19 year old student could. And I could not for the life of me see it getting better. But slowly I did start to deal with it, and things got a little better, then a lot better, and then finally I was living a fairly normal adult life and working full time – something that for a long time I doubted I would ever be able to do. Most of this I credit to K. I was already starting to pull myself out of it when I met her, but her strength and support gave me something to strive for. I still had bad days, sometimes bad weeks and while they could still be devastating, they were becoming fewer and further between. We moved to a new city, and built ourselves a pretty good life here. I’ve reached a point now where while there is always room for improvement, I have a good balance between work and play. I still deal with aches and pains of varying intensity every day but save for my migraines, and my strength and fitness letting me down, I try hard not to let it stop me from doing a lot anymore.
So in the last couple of months, I’ve come to realise that my reluctance to step up and start trying has little to do with my pcos, or even with giving K a chance to live out her dream (although obviously I still believe very, very strongly in that!). It’s fear, plain and simple. I’m scared that by getting pregnant I will upset this equalibrium and spiral back downwards. I mean, it’s not perfect now but I can deal with it. I am absolutely terrified of not being able to physically deal with being pregnant. I’m scared of the pain of childbirth when I already have such a low low tolerance. I’m scared of my personal history of depression and family history of post-natal depression, and what sliding backwards healthwise would mean for that. I’m scared of having it impact my relationship with my child. I’m scared of passing on my stupid fucked up genes – while I know there are worse things to pass on, it’s not the best either. I’m scared of not being able to do everything I should, and for K have to pick up more slack than usual. And I’m scared of letting K down. After all that she has been through physically, after all we’ve both been through emotionally I don’t want to add to that burden by failing her.
I’ve googled a bit and been checking out some message boards and it seems the response is mixed. Some people say that pregnancy lessens symptoms but a lot also say that they got worse when pregnant.
But once I acknowledge this, once I voice it I find that the desire is still there, underneath it all. I think this is the first time in my life that I have truly confronted myself to find out if I want to get pregnant. When we first starting talking early in our relationship it was abstract, then after the PCOS diagnosis I used that as an excuse and well I guess I just assumed K would get pregnant easily and I wouldn’t have to worry about it for a few years yet.
All of my issues aside, I really hope for her sake that she does get pregnant. While I know that she will unconditionally love any child we bring into our family, however that may come about, being a biological parent is such a fundamental belief she has always held about herself and she deserves to live that. I’ve no where near worked through all of these issues, but whatever happens it will work out – after all this we have to hold onto that.