There is a certain doctor appointment that every woman of childbearing age must suffer once a year. This has to happen regardless of the working order of her body. And once a year, every woman of childbearing age must answer the same question: Do you want to get pregnant this year?
Every year, this appointment creates a lot of stress for me because of that question. I realize that if PCOS has taught me anything, it is bravado. I spend most of the year doing my best to NOT long for another child; to be happy with the amazing family that God gave me; to be grateful for my blessings. I remind myself that only having one child has a lot of benefits: more savings, more sleep, more opportunities.
But every parent knows that those things are temporary and there will eventually come a time when you have plenty of savings, sleep, and opportunities. But by then you likely won’t be able to have a child.
It’s so easy for so many women to answer that question with a simple “yes”. I’ve learned better. The last time I said yes, I was reminded of painful shots that leave enormous bruises; of waxy medications that must be refrigerated and cost a fortune; of hormones that make the body and mind go crazy. Of the overall expense of such an endeavor.
So I say “no”.
No, I don’t want to go through the emotional rollercoaster of infertility. No, I don’t want to bankrupt my family because healthcare in this country is an industry, not a humane provision. No, I don’t want to have this conversation.
Then I have to say “yes”.
Yes, I understand that to get pregnant would actually endanger my health. Yes, write me a prescription for a pill that will treat my PCOS symptoms. Yes, I accept that this same pill will ensure that my infertile self does not get pregnant. Yes, I see the tragic irony in the situation.
Yes, I will work harder this year to keep my mask of bravado in place. Yes, I will try to remember that infertility does not mean that I’m a horrible person and God has abandoned me. Yes, I will see you the same time next year when we will do this all over again.
No, those aren’t tears. That’s the glue that holds my mask on seeping out around the edges.
Yes, I have to use a lot of glue.