Choice or circumstance.
The word implies trying and trying and trying to bring a child into the world without success. It implies tremendous heartache through repeated negative pregnancy tests and/or through pregnancy loss.
I always expected that my uterus would be ready to play host to a child for nine months should we decide to jump into parenthood. Even as the biological clock ticked away and even as health concern after health concern came into play, I never doubted my body’s ability to create and sustain a new life should we decide to create a new life.
Oh, how wrong I was. An incidental finding during imaging exams for a serious acute illness last winter indicated the uterus with which I was born is likely infertile ground. Women with my condition do create life, do sustain life, though at increased risks of miscarriage and pre-term birth. Add to that the laundry list of health concerns and the risks grow higher and higher.
And so I chose to eliminate those risks through tubal ligation during a follow-up surgical procedure for that serious acute illness. I accepted that my body would likely not tolerate pregnancy very well, including any emotional impact arising from such high risks of miscarriage, pre-term birth, and other pregnancy complications.
Here are the questions I still ponder. Because I never thought I wanted children and (more importantly) never tried to have children, do I have the right to call myself infertile? Do I have the right to grieve over my imperfect uterus?
You see, I cannot quite identify with women who are blissfully child-free, those with whom I used to agree without hesitation. And yet, I cannot identify with women who have tried and tried and tried to be full of child, only to see their bodies fail them time and time again.
I’m stuck somewhere between choice and circumstance. And wondering, really wondering, if anyone out there understands that feeling.