Lately, I‘ve been thinking about how I choose to walk through life. I want to be more intentional. As I’ve been working on this goal I’ve come to the conclusion that before I can be intentional I need to know who I am and who I want to be. What I’ve been learning is how to be more authentically myself. Unapologetically and unabashedly real. And the truth of the matter is – I am infertile. And so are you. That’s our truth, and it’s a good thing.
Hear me out…
I know it can be incredibly challenging to own this truth about yourself. A truth that feels like it means something went ‘wrong’. Like it somehow makes a black mark on your character. But the reality is that you can’t be authentically yourself while not embracing your infertility. It’s as much a part of me as being short, blonde, or asthmatic. Sure infertility impacts my life almost daily, but only on the same level that having asthma does.
If I want to run a marathon I need to train differently to accommodate my breathing. If I want to play outside in the winter I need to take a proactive puff of meds and wrap my mouth in a scarf. Does that mean I don’t work out? Does it mean I can’t enjoy winter? Does it mean that my life is over because I have a disease that places limitations on my body?
There was a saying that I heard a lot growing up: “I have asthma, asthma doesn’t have me”. I actually think it was a slogan for many ‘disabilities’ in the 80’s, but because I have asthma that’s the way it stuck in my head. It’s a very 80’s type saying: proactive and powerful. I define my own limitations, I’ll shatter any glass ceiling, rah, rah, rah!! You get the idea. But it’s not wrong… It works for infertility too “I have diminished ovarian reserve, but it doesn’t have me!”
Any limitation only affects you to the level that you allow it! The same goes for infertility. I’m not saying that you just need to believe in yourself and you’ll find you really can have a baby. I have no way of knowing what’s in store for you. You may very well never take home a child, the cost of treatment (which is another thing altogether) may prove too steep, or maybe you get pregnant next month. But I do know that, if you let it, your infertility can crush you.
If you give infertility that power in your life it will destroy you. But, if you acknowledge it as a piece of you, and understand that while it changes your life it doesn’t ruin it, you can begin to move forward. Then you can begin to embrace it.
Yes, I want you to consider embracing your infertility.
Because that’s the shift that will enable you to walk with your shoulders down and head up. Acceptance, that’s how you reclaim that part of you. And when you can reclaim that part you’ll find it ADDS to your character.
Infertility is not going to stop me from becoming the bad ass woman I want to be any more than having asthma would. I will take these challenges and transform them into sparkling aspects of my personality. These pieces make me who I am! My infertility has made pregnancy difficult to achieve. But it has also made me more kind, more patient, and more empathetic. It has increased my resilience and passion for life. I’ve never been more proud of the woman I am than when I’m battling infertility and fighting for reproductive equality. I’ve never felt more drive and empathy than when speaking to an auditorium of students and someone in the crowd tells me how much it meant to them.
Because they are infertile.
And if I can rise up and not let it consume me then maybe they can too. Because infertility is our truth. And beyond all reason, through all the pain, it makes us amazing! I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. So, live your life fully present with who you are. Don’t be afraid to own all aspects of your personhood- including your infertility. See if you can embrace it instead of running from it. Be proud for that which makes you unique. For that’s how I want to start walking through life- intentionally, full of passion, and unapologetically infertile.