1 in 8 couples will struggle with infertility. Nelson and I are 1 in 8 and this is an honest view of how it affected me and our relationship.
How it affected Me:
I have always had this gut feeling that I wouldn't be able to have kids. When I was younger I use to tell my friends I didn't want kids. I would say I wanted to just travel with my husband and have a bunch of animals, but that after my childhood I didn't want to have my own kids. I maintained this thought well into adulthood, but if i'm being honest by the time I was 20 that gut feeling was even stronger so I hoped that by telling others I didn't want to have kids it would make it hurt less when I found out I couldn't have any. Spoiler alert: it didn't help at all.
I have hated my body for a long time. I've had brief portions of my life where I learned to embrace my body type and my curves, but the majority of my life has been spent hating what I saw in the mirror. Finding out that it was my body that was causing our fertility issues only added to this hatred. I hated myself for not being able to do what so many other women have been able to do for centuries. I felt like I was letting Nelson down (despite his repeated attmepts to show me that wasn't true). My mental health took many hits from 2019-2021, but the day I was in the sonogram room with the doctor while he tried to determine why we weren't getting pregnant was probably one of the hardest. It was at the peak of Covid so Nelson wasn't allowed at my appointment so I had to go alone. The doctor was rude and cold and made faces when looking at the screen that gave away instantly what the results would be, but he still wouldn't say anyting other than, "yeah something is definitely wrong". I laid on that table, in a cold room, alone with just a man who didn't seem to care about me in any way, a nurse that's job was to make sure my feet stayed in the stirrups and I didn't move too much despite the pain and discomfort I was in, and the only thing I had to "comfort" me was my own mind, and it did the most damage of all. The walk from the doctors office to the parking garage was like a scene from a movie when the sounds are all muffled and everything is blurry and out of focus and I wanted to scream for help but couldn't. Instead I just walked to my truck, got in, and broke down. Even though they hadn't given me any actual results I knew from his tone and the faces he was making that everything I had ever feared regarding me getting pregnant was coming true.
I spent my life believing that God had a plan for me, and "all in his timing" so even though I had this gut feeling I still wanted to belive that if I was meant to be a mom I would be, no matter what my plan was. The problem this caused was I began seeing pregnancy as just God's blessing instead of biology and science so when it was eventually confirmedd that I was part of the 1 in 8 I saw it as God saying I wasn't meant to be a mom. This is when the spiraling started. This is when I started to compare myself to every other woman who got pregnant. This is when I began to doubt if I was even a good person at all. The more friends or family told me to just pray or take my fears to God the angrier I became. After all if God doesn't think I'm good enough to be a mom then something must be inherently wrong with me, right? I tried to go back to church to find God again and get my faith back, but it didn't help. The first two Sundays we went back the sermons revolved around parenthood and the blessing that children are. The next week was the weekend before Mother's Day and was all about loving and celebrating mothers. I knew Mother's Day was going to be difficult enough so we didn't go that week and haven't been back consistently since. Truth be told I was mad at God for a long time, but then something even worse happened. I lost my faith in God. I realized that in order to be mad at God it meant I still believed in him, but the more I tried to find that connection to God again the further away I felt I was getting until one day I didn't even know if I believed in God anymore. It was probably easier for me to think that there is no God because then my inability to get pregnant would be strictly science and for me that was easier than the thought that God didn't want me to be a mother.
This singular thought, "I'm not good enough to be a mother", played on repeat in my head. I started thinking of all the ways I wasn't fit to be a mom. I started reading back through old text and email exchanges with my in laws that hate me and began to think that maybe they were right about me. Maybe the child I wanted so bad would be better off with another woman who was more fit to be a mother.
How it affected our Us:
When Nelson and I first got together he said he didn't think he'd want to have kids and I said that was fine because I didn't care about having kids either. When he signed up for the Army I figured not having kids was the best option for both of us. It would be less for me to handle while he was away and less for him to worry about when he was depoloyed. When Nelson got hurt and came home he was stuck at home for a few months with his injury and during that time he said he had time to think and he wanted to start trying for kids once he was able to get back to work full time. When I told Nelson about my fears he told me that if I wanted kids he'd love to have kids with me, but that for him it wasn't a deal breaker if we couldn't.
In the summer of 2019 (a couple months after our weddding) we were visiting my family in Illinois and on the second day we were there I noticed I had started spotting, but not normal spotting. I tried to Google what it could be caused by and the first description I found to match my symptoms was "implantation bleeding". At the time I wasn't drinking or smoking so I knew if i was pregnant I was being healthy, but I still wanted to take a test just to see what was going on. Nelson and I made an excuse to go to the gas station so we could buy a test and I took it in the gas station. The test was negative, but with everything I had read up on I knew it could've been too early to tell. I was quiet our whole drive back to my family's house until Nelson finally asked me what was going on in my mind. I told him that even though we had just gotten married and I knew the timing was bad I was hoping it would be positive because I had always feared I couldn't have kids and the negative test result hit me like a punch to the gut. It was when I got that negative test that I realized just how bad I wanted to have Nelson's baby. I had always been able to think of kids as an unlikely possiblity for me, but the thought of having a little me and Nelson running around was something I realized I wanted, and wanted bad. My period still hadn't come by the time we got back home to Texas so I took a few more tests. All negative. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor because I was having so many pregnancy symptoms and my period was weeks late. My period eventually came, but I still went and saw my doctor the next month when I could get in and she told me it was likely I had been pregnant but had a miscarriage before the horomone levels were high enough to be detected by a pregnancy test. She told me if I wanted to start trying to get pregnant I'd need to have a sonogram and some other tests to determine if anything needed to be done to help. I wasn't ready for that at the time. I was still processing the idea that I had likely had a miscarriage and blaming myself for anything that could have caused it despite me being healthy and not consuming anything bad at the time. Not long after dealing with this we were informed that someone in one of our families was going to be having a baby. The whole family was ecstatic about the announcement and wanted to talk about nothing else. I kept quiet about the miscarriage because the last thing I wanted was to take away from their happiness. The problems arose when I eventually told family what I had been going through and my fears about my infertility and that I felt I wasn't loved as much because I may not be able to produce grandchildren. One member of the family in a heated argument told Nelson and I, "It's the first grand baby. If you wanted all the attention you shouldv'e been the first one to have a baby." This text, sent at the end of 2019, set off a series of events that have impacted our lives ever since.
I spent every moment since then feeling as if I wasn't good enough for the family because I couldn't give them a grand child. Nelson and I took all the tests our doctors recommended and did everything we could up until the point of taking an ovulation drug. We decided against moving past that point because we both agreed putting ourselves in to debt wouldn't be smart or the best thing for a child. I've been told I must not want to be a mom that bad because I won't do IVF and I've had people tell me to just keep faith and "it'll happen". I've experienced the most true undying kind of love from Nelson and those members of my family and friends that have listened to me cry and kept me from giving up on life, but I've also experienced the lowest lows and loss of friends and family since starting this journey. I wouldn't wish infertility on my worst enemy because it is a form of hell that you won't understand until you've lived it, and I hope you never have to live it.
1 in 8 couples. The odds are you know someone struggling with infertility whether they have shared that struggle with you or not so always be kind. Think before you speak. And for the love of all things NEVER assume to know what another person is struggling with or how it may be affecting them and their life. The pain and suffering caused by infertility is already a heavy burden to carry without you adding to it with your remarks. If you are struggling with infertility and you don't have anyone to talk to please always reach out to me. I know more than I ever wanted to about infertility and trying to conceive, but more than that I know how isolating it can feel. If you take away nothing else from this post please take away this: you are not alone and being 1 in 8 is not a reflection on you, your character, or anything other than science.
🤍 Victoria 🤍