From an evolutionary standpoint, a woman’s sole purpose in the world is to have kids. We perpetuate this expectation with our incessant shaming of childless women, especially when we label them as “selfish” or “damaged goods.”
I never expected to be one of those childless women, but I’m guessing that no one else did, either.
My doctor sat me down last week with a prognosis I could never be ready for. She had found dozens of cysts on my ovaries, along with other indicative signs of PCOS. The infertility rate among women with PCOS is between 70-80 percent. Clearly, those aren’t great odds to start with.
But that wasn’t all. Unfortunately, a larger, more complex cyst on my right ovary could rupture at any moment. A rupture would cause immense pain… and further damage to my baby box.
Finding out your fertility is in serious question at age 21 is as harrowing as you would expect.
It’s no secret that motherhood is a massive sacrifice. Recent studies have revealed just how much women give up to raise children, and honestly, those statistics frightened me out of motherhood. I felt fairly certain that I didn’t want my future to include kids. So what changed when the doctor told me that I couldn’t reproduce? Maybe it’s a case of wanting what you can’t have, or maybe I suddenly changed my mind.
As a woman, regardless of your politics, infertility feels like a betrayal. Your body can’t do the one thing it’s biologically programmed to do, and you feel isolated.
Nowadays, many women aren’t having children until their late twenties. And although I certainly am not ready to have kids any time soon, the cost of freezing my eggs isn’t financially viable for me.
To have to choose your future path well before you’ve even thought about it is one of the biggest journeys of self-doubt I’ve ever been on. Moreover, I feel like I’m walking this path alone.
I know women who have experienced infertility, and I have friends who constantly offer me their support. Still, women rarely actually speak about coping with infertility To admit that I’m unlikely to have kids makes me feel like a failure, but I hate myself for feeling this way.
I am still struggling with my new diagnosis and the life-changing decisions I now have to make. Right now, I’m not certain of my reproductive future. However,t I do know one thing: Society convinces women that our sole purpose is to produce offspring. It’s no wonder that when we can’t (or don’t) fulfill that purpose, we feel like we are letting down our fellow women. We need to start the conversation about infertility and remain open and free of judgment.