All about me and ttc

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.

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About Tui

30-something kiwi-lesbian-stay at home-Mama, raising our toddler son with my wife, two cats and one dog.
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10 Responses to All about me and ttc

  1. Erin says:

    A lurker, coming out of lurkdom to say HI and thank you for your post. I have a lot of similar feelings about TTC, due to some health issues I’ve struggled with since college. Mine also can lessen or worsen with pregnancy.

    There is much secrecy and isolation in lesbian TTC and it’s really helpful to read other women’s journeys through the process.

  2. strawberry says:

    I can totally understand those feelings. I’m relieved that Nutella was able to get pregnant and that we have no plans for more. I’ve never wanted to get pregnant myself. But when discussing how far we’d go in our TTC journey, we decided that if she couldn’t get pregnant, then I would try. In seriously giving thought to that, I realized I still didn’t WANT to. I, too, don’t like thinking of what pregnancy might do to my body and mind. I don’t want to pass some of my fucked-up genes along. Giving birth scares me so much that I think I might’ve opted for an elective C-section, which also scares me. It’s a huge, huge thing to think about. And there have been moments where I thought I might want to, but that fear was always there.

  3. Me says:

    I can totally understand this as well. I have a family history of SIGNIFICANT post-partum depression and all sorts of other lovely mental health issues that scare the hell out of me when I think about being pregnant myself. I’m really worried about what may happen if we get to the point where it looks like my wife carrying the baby will be impossible. On top of the fact that I don’t want to be pregnant, my wife will be devastated that her body didn’t work in the way she thinks it should. It’s all so damn hard.

  4. Tui, it takes bravery to really wrestle with whether you want to be pregnant. It is a huge and scary thing to put oneself through. You’ve seen how harrowing TTC can be from an emotional standpoint alone. Adding the physical and mental health concerns, you have every reason to hesitate.

    I know two women (married to each other) who were both ambivalent about being pregnant, yet felt a biological drive to do so anyway. So they both did, one through IUI, one through IVF. They both had terrible horrible no good very bad pregnancies (with morning sickness lasting through vomiting during delivery, bed rest, etc.). While they are thrilled to be moms, their pregnancy stories are so harrowing that I try to avoid the subject with them. My point with this anecdote is that if you’re ambivalent, you should honor that. Your body may be warning you off for a very good reason, and that’s okay.

    I admire your committment to K’s pregnancy journey, and I’m hoping hoping hoping that your next round is the one that brings you your child(ren). You do a spectacular job of supporting her and honoring her deep desire to experience pregnancy.

    Whatever path(s) you choose in your quest to become moms, I’ll be cheering like a crazy woman for you. Thanks for writing so bravely through the journey.

  5. tbean says:

    Thanks for writing about this, I’m really glad you shared. I’ve always found that these conversations and decisions are absolutely massive and very different for each couple. For us, my wife is willing but not eager to try if it comes to that. But like you, she is as committed to seeing me pregnant as I am. And I know the emotional ramifications of switching to her would take lots and lots and LOTS of hard work to get through. So, yeah, this is hard stuff.

  6. thebao says:

    I’d imagine that another contributing factor of that fear is the fear of hurting K if you “switched uterii” and you became pregnant–the fear of “success,” in that hypothetical case, only highlighting for K that it didn’t work for her, and the resulting emotional tumult and possible resentment–possibly on both of your parts–that could follow.

    I very much hope that K gets pregnant and that this whole thing is moot. That said, though, I too spent many many years with the PCOS diagnosis looming in the back of my mind as a possible deal-breaker for my ability to bear a child. My understanding is that even with small amounts of intervention–Femara or Clomid, monitoring, Ovidrel, and IUI–the issues PCOS presents are avoidable. They were in my case, and I think the “PCOS=can’t have kids” theory no longer holds much water. (I know this is only a small part of what you’re dealing with here; just thought I’d throw what little I know into the mix.)

  7. Olive says:

    I’m so glad you were able to work out what your fears around pregnancy are about. Sometimes just naming them can be a huge relief. I too hope that K gets pregnant, but when it comes to be your turn, I know you’ll be able to work through your fears. It sounds like you have an amazing support system and have gotten through some hard times yourself before.

  8. Next in line says:

    You got guts to lay this on the table. You are not alone with some of those fears. I never planned or wanted to get pregnant either. I was terrified of going off the pill. I had endometriois and the pain wrecked havoc on my life. I had been on the pill for 13 years. I doubted I could get pregnant. My family medical history sucks.

    The tricky thing with everything is that everyone’s body is different and there is no way to tell how yours will react to pregnancy. You also worked so hard to get this equalibrium that I can see why you are scared to upset it, it is just hard to say what will happen.

    You and K work together so well and I know this story has a happy ending for you two. I am just waiting to see how it all comes together.

  9. amyblossom says:

    thanks for sharing. your introspection must have been hard. there are always so many things we worry about through the whole baby making and having process…it never ends. at least your relationship with K is open, honest and supportive so that you can share your fears with her and together you can come up with what is best for your family. i can’t wait to catch up on your journey!

  10. poppycat says:

    Tui,

    I have read this post three times and failed to comment because I have been having a hard time commenting anything but fluff lately and I didn’t want to leave something like that for a post like this.

    The thing that I keep wanting to say to you is that you should do what you know is best for you deep down inside. I know there are so many fears and so many pros and cons to having a bio baby but the most important thing is to really spend some time tuned in to what will realisticaly work for you. What can you handle? What happens if the worst case cinario plays out? How is that going to affect you, your child, your relationship? What if you decide the risks far out weigh the benefits? Will you struggle with guilt? Regret? Is that something you can get past?

    Just facing these issues and admitting your strenghts and weaknesses tells me that you are on the right path to finding that “right” answer. You have so much to consider and I am positive that no one, including K, would ever question that decision or why you made it.

    I can’t imagine having to make a choice like this. I can’t imagine having so many difficulties to overcome and I am so proud of you for being so self aware and willing to put it all out there. I hope that acyually typing it out and reading the responses helps you map things out in your mind so that you can know in the end that you have make the best choice for you.

    You are a strong woman and I know everything will turn out perfectly for you whether you have a bio baby or not.

    Much love,

    Poppy

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