Or as I call it: The Shame and Fear from Having a Useless Uterus
As mentioned I had a horrendous week in regard to my mental health a few weeks back. One thing that bubbled up during that experience was the fact that while I THOUGHT I had been dealing just fine with my infertility the truth is I wasn’t. Not a bit. And this is why: SHAME. And fear.
Something that I realized recently is that no one, including myself, talks about the shame of infertility. The shame that comes along with infertility is unfounded. I liken it to the shame my dog Milo seems to experience when he has BAD digestive issues and has to go in the front yard every 15 minutes to do his business for the whole neighborhood to see. He can’t help it, he’s a mess, and the look of shame on his face with his little head bowed down, eyes and eyebrows lifted….wondering if anyone notices him and his shamefulness. When this happens it is…. hilarious… but also pitiful and well… shameful! Dog shame. Is it worse than infertility shame? There’s your question of the day.
Moving on. So, before you think “oh but there is no reason to feel ashamed,”remember that it’s easy for someone who hasn’t been there to say that. I’ve wracked my brain trying to find a way to explain how it FEELS to be infertile. I came up with a good explanation for The Edder the other day.
I asked Edder how it would feel if he could no longer provide for me (and our animal kingdom). If for whatever reason he could no longer be a lawyer and bring in the majority of our income. The look on his face said it all. In a split second I could tell the light switched on, his face clouded over and it was obvious how he would feel. Then he got up, walked over to me for a hug and said “I’m sorry you have to feel that way. I get it, that would be awful.”
Explaining the feeling of infertility to women who have no experience with infertility is a different story. I don’t know how to do that. All I can say is that makes me feel less whole. I cannot just create life easily in my body, the most natural thing a woman was meant to do. Create life. I feel less. So, I feel ashamed. Like if I were just a BETTER woman, stronger, more caring, a better human in general…. I would be able to have a baby.
It’s impossible sometimes to deal with these feelings. Along with the shame I feel in being infertile is the raging fear that when people find out they will judge. Other women will judge. Friends. Co-workers. Family. They will all judge me, thinking I am inferior because of my infertility. I realize that this is a mostly unfounded fear (so far). Any woman who would lord her fertility over an infertile woman with superiority clearly already has too many issues to name. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t sting, thanks to my shame and fear! It’s an ugly cycle.
Sadly the fear and shame are just part of the deal for now. I am working through it. Tentatively sharing more and more about my infertility and finding (so far) that I have been met with nothing but LOVE, compassion and acceptance from my family and friends. This is AFTER they know the whole story. I was to fault in the past for not sharing the whole story, which caused people to be unknowingly (sometimes) insensitive (more on that in part 2).
But again, so far my family and friends who have heard the whole story have been nothing but amazing. I am struggling to let go of the fear and shame. Thankfully, little by little I am.
Nothing in life worth truly having is easy to achieve. This is my new motto, especially since I’ve been experiencing it first hand the past two years in regard to almost everything in my life, not just infertility.
p.s. i apparently found my inspiration again… good gracious did i ever. sheesh robinson, longest post ever. a two-parter no less.