Sunday, June 03, 2007

Guest Entry - A Letter from Lauren

I received the following letter in my inbox yesterday:

I'm writing this as I need someone to share this burden with, and to share my complete desperation. I have not had an easy life, but after many difficult years I am finally moving on and am happy for the first time in many years. Or so I thought.
I made many difficult sacrifices in the past and I know that I may not achieve in life all that I could have; I have settled for a simple life with a simple, minimum wage job. This has not bothered me up until now as I realised I never wanted a "career," I wanted a family.

Unlike many of my female peers, I look forward to the time I will be a family woman, bearing children and looking after home and husband. After all the difficulties I have been through in life, and I won't list them here, I finally felt a sense of purpose - to be a wife and to be a mother. I have finally met "the one" and he feels the same for me. We are not well-off financially, but we both treasure the free things in life more than we could ever appreciate the material. We re planning on becoming engaged in the next few months, marrying a year or so after and then finally having a family of our own.

Knowing this meant I could justify dropping-out of education, justify working at a job far below my capability, taking home minimum wage. But now I have come to the cold realisation that I am struggling with fertility. This feels like the ultimate blow, one final punch in the guts from life. I don't understand why I can't have this, the only thing I want when so many others fall pregnant accidentally or unintentionally, with such ease. I don't know how I can cope with this, knowing I've thrown everything else away so I have the only thing I really wanted - a family; but now it seems I won't be granted my wish.

I feel like a failure as a woman and as a girlfriend, I feel like my body is betraying me. I fight to control my emotions everytime I see a young child, baby or pregnant woman. It's even harder when it's people I know, and everyone is so happy for them. But I can't help but feel jealous and cheated. Most of all I feel grief like I've never known, almost like a family member has died. Of course every month when AF comes I'm mourning the loss of something that was never actually there. I don't know how to deal with this and survive this, I just don't know how I can come to terms with not having any children, I just don't know what will fill this massive void in my life. Please help me. I'm at my wits end I just want it so much I can't even comprehend this never happening for me.

I felt the need to answer Lauren and know there are many important things I've missed. Got any words of wisdom for Lauren? I'm sure she'll appreciate it. I'll put my answer in the comments, so it will be with the other responses.


Rachel Inbar said...

As I'm sure others will tell you - it's not too late to go back to school. Getting a good education will be important to you, to your partner and to the child(ren) you will have someday.

It is common to give up other goals while trying to conceive. From my own experience, I believe it's a big mistake to put your life on hold until you finally have a baby - there's no way to get back the time that you've lost.

Just one last thing - from what you've written, it's not clear how long you've been trying or why you think you're battling fertility issues. Some problems do have easy solutions and sometimes when we've got a hunch that there's a problem, we're just plain wrong...

Bea said...

I've been trying to think of a reply that doesn't sound pat or cliched. You've done much better than me.

Kids grow up, mothers need something else in their lives at one stage or another. Time to set that in place. There's always *something* you *can* achieve.

Having said that, I think in the first shock of diagnosis it's usual to feel like everything is tumbling down. In some ways, you have to fall apart first, before you can start to cope. Hang on.


Leah Goodman said...

Hi Lauren,
My situation is different, and I'm sure some of the readers will be annoyed at me for even posting this... but there is a similarity between the two situations...

I always wanted to get married young. When I was 21, I got engaged and would have probably married the man if he hadn't actually hit me two months before our intended wedding.

My education meant nothing to me, my career meant nothing to me. All I wanted was to get married and have children.

When I broke off that engagement, I forced myself to get a job and go back to school. Over the next 7 years, I went on dozens of unsuccessful dates. I met scores of jerks. It was really hard on me watching my twenties slip away without a husband or child.

But... I decided that I was going to make the best of what I had. I completed the coursework for Master's Degree. I went skydiving. I tried to do as much of the things that you can't do once you have kids as I could.

Now that I am married and expecting, I see that what I did during those years, painful as they were, has made me more ready to be a wife and mother.

You may not be able to get a degree right now, but there are plenty of professional training courses available. Think about what kind of work interests you. Think about how to get there from here. Remember that even when you become a mother, your kids won't stay babies forever. Someday they'll be in school, and you'll want to work, and you won't want to be working a minimum-wage job when you have mouths to feed and basketball uniforms to buy.

Hope this helps some,