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I had always wanted a house full of children.
I pictured them snuggled around a fire, playing board games with myself and my adoring husband. A pot of homemade stew bubbling on the stove and the family dog snoring lightly in his bed. Maybe there was even a cat chasing a ball of yarn, why not? We can get as idyllic as we want in our imaginations.
I wanted this dream so badly, but I knew it was worth waiting for the right time and situation. I was always extremely careful; I had been on birth control since the age of 16.
Hormonal swings, irregular cycles, acne, and extreme fatigue had plagued me off and on in young adulthood. When I was 27, I’d had enough and decided to get a doctor involved. There was the usual physical examination, all sorts of probing questions, and blood work.
About a week later, I got a call from my doctor. She wanted me to come back in to go over my blood work.
In a cool and unemotional manner, she explained to me that my blood work indicated I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). In the next sentence, without hardly even taking a breath, she said it would likely be hard for me to get pregnant, and if I wanted to, I needed to do so before I was 30 years old.
When this news hit my ears, I became paralyzed. She presented this devastating information as if there was no wiggle room, no space to ask questions, and no need in getting a second opinion.
I was not going to be able to have kids.
That is what I heard.
I walked out of the medical office and back into my daily life, but everything had changed.
Perhaps another important part of my story is that I was a complete mess at this time in my life. I had been struggling with alcoholism, I recently got out of a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, I was having trouble holding down a job, and I was living in a room above my parents’ garage.
As far as romantic prospects that could turn into marriage and an adoring husband with whom I would have three or four children with to fulfill my idyllic fantasy before my 30th birthday (three years from then), well, they were nowhere in sight.
Heartbroken and reassessing my very existence as a woman, it’s safe to say I spiraled out of control over the next few months.
I stopped taking birth control; I didn’t even need it, right? I started living recklessly and taking unnecessary chances. I went home with people from the bar, I had a “friends with benefits” relationship with someone who was as equally as reckless as I was, and I attempted to date and look for possible long-term prospects all at the same time—a fruitless endeavor, I might add.
Off of birth control, my cycles were irregular. They had always been. So, it didn’t alarm me to have Aunt Flo show up a few weeks late or skip a month altogether. After all, I had PCOS. This was all normal and part of my inevitable fate.
On Christmas eve, about four months after my doctor visit, I noticed my breasts being extremely sore. I never tracked my cycles since they were irregular, but I couldn’t remember when my last period was. It had definitely been longer than a month. Something inside of me knew. I was pregnant.
Being Christmas Eve, all the stores were closed in my small town. I knew they would be closed on Christmas day, too. So, I struggled my way through the holiday, keeping the secret to myself. On the daybreak of December 26th, I ran to the store to purchase a test that would tell me what I already knew: I was pregnant.
A whirlwind of emotions came down on me. This was the news I had been waiting for my whole life but absolutely nothing about it was right. I didn’t even know who the father was—there were multiple possibilities, one of which I didn’t even have a phone number for.
I was angry at the doctor, angry at myself for so blindly believing her and not thinking to question the diagnosis. I was devastated to simultaneously discover the best news in the world that I can have kids, but to know that in my current situation, I could not properly care for and support this baby who deserved so much better. For me, the pain of thinking about going through the pregnancy and giving up the child for adoption was too great. I have all the respect in the world for women who can make the choice to adopt, but I was not that strong.
I knew what I had to do for myself, and I am forever grateful that the option was available to me in a safe, professional, compassionate, and prompt manner. I couldn’t help but think of other women in my situation throughout history who did not have this option, and the lengths they went to; sometimes even losing their own lives.
It has been about 10 years since my abortion. I know it was the right choice at the time, but thinking about it is still difficult, and the tears still come. Nothing about that time in my life was easy. It was the hardest choice I have ever had to make, but I am so grateful that it was just that: a choice that I was able to make for myself.
I think of that little soul 10 years ago as a star up in the heavens. They have been shining down on me and just waiting for the right time to come to their earthly home.
I still don’t have any children yet, but I have grown exponentially in the last 10 years. I got married about six months ago and finally, I know the time is right to make a version of my dream a reality.
As I face 40 around the corner, my new doctor reassures me that there are many fertility options for women in my situation. A house full of three or four children may not be a reality, but I have a fireplace, an adoring husband who is going to make the absolute best father, an old snoring dog, and a crazy cat.
When we are able to add a child to the picture, they are going to be born into the absolute best situation we can possibly provide for them. One with stability, family, emotional health, and all the love we can pour into them.
When the time is right, my star is going to have the best chance they can. That is why I have waited, and that is why I made the decision I did.