How To Deal With Learning You’re Infertile In Your 20’s
So you can’t have kids. And you’re in your 20’s. It blows. There’s no point in saying it doesn’t, because it does. This knowledge will affect you for the rest of your life. Even if you knew you didn’t want to have kids, having that choice taken away is such a shitty, powerless, feeling. And if you did want kids, it’s like the plan you had for your life is no longer an option. I feel like the universe should at least ask us before it decides to change the course of the rest of our lives. Rude.
However, according to a survey of married women conducted by the CDC, 1.5 million women in the US are infertile. And that’s only of married women, and that’s only in the US alone. So, you can wrap yourself up in that comforting cliche that you are not alone in the struggle. What does make us different though, is that we’re most likely not married. We’re in our 20′s. This is obviously both good and bad. Yes, we don’t have a partner to help us through this, but we do have the opportunity and the time to consider this news from all angles and to adjust accordingly.
There’s this huge stigma in our society around infertility. My question is, why? Sure, it’s preferable for a woman to be able to have her own children, but that does not make her any less of a woman or any less of a mother if she chooses to have a child by other means. A woman does not need to be a mother or even want to be a mother to be considered a woman. And a mother’s child does not need to be her biological offspring to be considered her child. Back in the cave man days, yeah, it would have been more of a problem if you wanted kids and couldn’t conceive. But there are millions of children who need to be adopted and need to have mothers. It may sound super cheesy, but your love for another person has nothing to do with biology.
But adoption is something you have the time to fully consider and to decide if thats what you want. Many women do not find out they are infertile until they are trying to conceive and unfortunately do not have the luxury of having so much time. But we do. We have time–years, even–to figure out if we want to have kids and how we want to go about that. Not all options are available to all infertile women due to the various factors that cause infertility, but there are still plenty options to choose from no matter what the case is. There’s also IVF, egg and sperm donation, you can choose to have a surrogate, you can choose to be a foster parent. And considering that the medical field is constantly advancing, who knows what will be available within the next couple of years.? The point is, that even though having giving birth to a child of our own may not be possible, having a child is.
In How I Met Your Mother, the character Robin always knew that she never wanted kids, but when she found out she could not have them at all, her perspective was changed. She still didn’t want kids, but was genuinely surprised to find out that she was sad about that. Never being able to have that experience as a woman is painful, regardless of whether you actually wanted a child or not. It’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to be angry about it, but remember—it doesn’t define you.