As a young girl, I imagined myself married, with children, and a career–I was raised to think I could have it all. It never occurred to me that I might end up experiencing unexplained infertility. In fact, like most women of my generation, I spent most of my child-bearing years trying to prevent pregnancy. Now as a 35 year old, I face the reality of having my fertility reduced by age.
My situation, my experience with infertility, is a little bit different from other women with fertility who have never had a successful pregnancy. My own double-edged experience is that I had a baby who died of SIDS. However, similar to many women who struggle to get pregnant, I also had an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in the loss of a fallopian tube. Before this occurred, fertility had never been something I had really considered.
As a woman, usually fertility is something you take for granted and just assume you have. You may save yourself for marriage or protect your virginity until it feels like the right time, but socially, we are never taught to preserve our fertility. And with more and more women waiting until their education is completed or their careers have been established, fertility is becoming an increasing issue, if not commodity, for women.
My journey with infertility has not been experienced alone–it takes place in the context of a marriage, in which my own desire to have a baby is balanced by the desire to enjoy the relationship I have now. This context has helped me appreciate the varied life experiences women can have with fertility in general, whether it involves a same-sex relationship, a single woman, or marriages similar to my own. Wanting to have a family is an universal experience, and a barrier to this wish is one of the ultimate tragedies.
Personally, at this point in my life, I have chosen not to go the IVF route in terms of treatment. Instead, I have looked to alternative paths, such as yoga and supplements, to enhance my fertility. I appreciate my body in a way I never did when I was younger. I feel my age and understand my limits in a way I don’t think I would if I had no fertility limitations.
The details of my fertility journey involve moments of hope, loss, grief and despair. It involves recognizing that I am not in ultimate control of my destiny, but a product of my culture, biology and situation. But through it all, I believe I have become a better person, a better wife, and a better woman. My ultimate hope, still, is to become a mother, hopefully one stop on the way of my destination.