Be gentle with me, my friends. This is a difficult post to write, and I crave your understanding and love.
It all started today when Elizabeth Esther tweeted about a Pampers commercial.
Now, I don’t have TV (rather, I have a TV, but no channels). So I googled “Pampers commercial” and found this beautiful gem:
My heart constricted. I glanced behind me at our rocking chair where a white, blue, and green crocheted baby blanket is folded and laying across the top. My mother made that blanket for me. I watched her crochet it when we would go to visit, wondering who she was making it for. Then one rare weekend when she and Dad came to visit, she gently pushed the folded blanket into my arms and said, “This is a sign of my faith that you will one day be able to have children.”
You see, one year ago I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It’s not a serious disease (or disorder – not sure which it actually is). Doctors do not know what causes PCOS, only that it is often hereditary. It’s a hormone imbalance among other things. It affects my ability to be able to properly process nutrients. It also means that I don’t ovulate – instead, my eggs attach to my ovaries and form cysts. It means that my ability to conceive is compromised. In fact, PCOS is the number one reason for female infertility.
I realize that it’s not a death sentence. It’s not even definitive that I won’t be able to have children. Many women with PCOS are able to conceive – whether with fertility treatment or after undergoing a surgery known as ovarian drilling.
But right now, my reproductive future is a giant unknown. We are not able to financially support a family at this point. And the current treatment for me is birth control, because of extreme symptoms that I exhibit otherwise. As the doctor said to me when I was diagnosed, “We’ll continue with your birth control, and when you guys are ready to talk about having children, schedule an appointment and we’ll see if that’s a possibility for you.” Those words…I walked out of the office that day in a daze, unsure of whether I wanted to scream at the sky or crumple into a ball of tears.
Still, a year later, I’m often plagued with fear or guilt when I consider Michael’s and my future. We got married with the understanding that we eventually wanted to start a family together. It never occurred to either of us to second-guess that assumption. I feel that I somehow should have known, should have gone to the doctor sooner, should have gotten diagnosed sooner, so we would have known what we were getting into. The days when this guilt becomes overwhelming, he’s wonderful…he holds me close and tells me that he married me for me, not for my reproductive organs or ability. That no matter what, we are a family. He is so full of love and patience and understanding and care.
Mom and Dad Kelley – you raised a really good man. Thank you.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this, frankly. And in such a public forum. I guess I’m tired of holding onto it like a secret, like a deep-seated shame that eats away at me. I’m tired of being afraid of the inevitable question I face at churches: “So, when will you start a family?” An invasively personal question to begin with, but even more painful for me. We won’t know if we even can until we’re at a point where we can consider it.
The unknown is a scary thing. It hurts. Especially this season, when we celebrate the most special birth of all.
If you’re a praying person, please pray for me. For us. If not, send your positive thoughts our way.
Every child is a miracle. Pampers certainly got that right.
And I’m praying for my own miracle.