According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, out of one hundred couples, about twelve to thirteen of them struggle to become pregnant. In 2008, my husband and I found out that we are one of these couples.
After I decided to share my experience, I wrote about an interaction I had in a store when my daughter was much younger. Infertility won a daily deviation on the website Deviantart.com.
According to TarienCole, the member who nominated it, it is an honest peek into the daily struggle with a difficult topic.
by Lydia Larue
“When are you two going to start working on more kids?”
It was such a simple question. The thought behind it was innocent in design. A simple inquiry on why a thirty-one-year-old woman had only one child was one of the most dreadful conversations that I have ever had the pleasure of being part of.
While my daughter was the light in the darkness cast by my own body’s failure, my happy little family was not the societal norm. According to my family’s version of the American Dream, a man and a woman were supposed to have two children, a dog, and a white picket fence. This was a sign of success for a stay at home woman.
We were never normal. My husband and I did not marry in the conventional church. Those aren’t our beliefs. To replace us on this orbiting rock that we call earth, we have a little girl. She is too smart for her age, wanting to watch video games that are ahead of her time and writing a story of her own.
“We don’t want any more,” my husband said. He handled circumstances such as this with tact and grace. In that, he was calmer than me. I admired that like a fan admired their favorite celebrities’ traits.
The woman behind the conveyor belt looked at my husband. Her dark hair curled in, brushing her cheek with its luscious locks. She reached over and grabbed the plastic bag of frozen peppers. “Don’t you want another one?” she continued.
There were many people like this woman, I thought, incredulously. For two years, I had to make excuses and grow thicker skin. Still, their foray into my reproductive life ate at my soul like a bloated leech. Each inquest pierced my heart as if it were a conscientious shot from a rifle.
My daughter bent down, looking at the toys in the row of tempting treats next to us. She lifted one of the toy cameras from the shelf. Dancing princesses twirled across the pinkish surface.
I was thankful for the distraction. If I focused on my daughter, I could ignore the conversation. By pretending that I could not hear them, I found that I could pretend that I was fine. There were no golf ball-sized wounds on my ovaries. My hormone levels were correct. Of course, that was all pretend.
However, I could wish for a miracle. The doctors told me that the syndrome would go away when I reached menopause. All my problems would be solved as I would be too old to reproduce. It was like putting a bandage over a freshly amputated stump.
“She could have a sister or brother to play with,” the incessant person pestered. Her dark gaze leaped over to me and slid down my body judgmentally. Could she sense the illness deep inside of me? Obviously not, by her ceaseless questioning.
A long beep emerged from the scanner. Sugar-free yogurt passed through the blinding red light, inciting more shrill noises from the machine. The yogurt was for me. I was not allowed to have much sugar. Because my body can’t process sugar that well, I stayed away from it. Plus, I found the sores inside of me hurt less without it.
“Our daughter is enough,” my husband stated, firmer. The frustration coated his tone as if it were poison dripping from a blade. Like me, he wished that she would simply go back to processing our groceries.
I didn’t need a woman, who I knew to have 9 children, judge me based on my body’s fiasco. To her credit, she didn’t know about my condition. How was she to know that if I were to become pregnant, the pregnancy could risk my life? Numerous reasons flashed through my mind. My body seemed to wallow in its horrid malfunctions.
“Mommy!” my daughter called to me, diverting my mind once more. Her thin light hair covered her bright stare. Lifting up the toy, one of her small fingers hovered over a raised button. “Smile!”
“She could play with them at the playground.”
Now, I was becoming angry. Crimson flashed before my gaze as I brought my attention back to the other woman. The reddening emotion pulsed in my mind and made my body heated as if I was standing outside on a hot July day.
Like a dam breaking, the ire at this cashier’s patience washed over me. “We can’t have anymore,” I said, slightly more bitter than I would have liked. Reaching up, I ran the tips of my fingers through my hair. It was a habit that I had developed when I was younger. Strands fell effortless through my grip.
My sour mood was not entirely this woman’s fault. I was exhausted. Waking up in a sheet of sweat every four hours (and staying up until I could not anymore), exhaustion had set in many months ago. My husband worried because of that, yet there was nothing I could do to help it.
She frowned as she took in the information. To me, I knew that she would not be able to wrap her closed-off mind around it. Because she obsessed with us having more children, the fact that I couldn’t have anymore and the searing agony that caused could not sink into her.
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