My personal account.
I remember being in the car with my husband, texting with one of my best friends, let’s call her Janet, when I received a phone call from my ob-gyn. The doctor explained that after reviewing my test results, I was diagnosed with Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Literally two seconds after I ended that call, my friend texted back:
“Kenia!!! I’m pregnant!”
For those who don’t know, PCOS is a hormonal disorder that not only affects your infertility, but also affects your metabolism, mental health, and physical appearance. You can find more information about PCOS here.
Now, if you know me, you’ll know that as a family advocate I celebrate life at all times, and as a friend I am delighted at my friends successes. At that moment though, as happy as I was for my friend, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for myself and wish that I was in my friend’s shoes. My husband knew that I was going through a tough moment but even so I didn’t let him see me tear. Instead, I waited until I was able to go to a public restroom and cried for a couple of minutes before I had to go back out.
I happened to mention my story to a friend who is a psychologist and as the great professional that she is, she said to me, “when you are ready, make sure you talk to someone. I am more than happy to be that person, but you need to talk it out.” Her words taught me two things: One, it is acceptable to grieve and take time to process. And two, no matter how well other coping mechanisms might work for us, we still need to vocalize our feelings.
The grieving period is a huge and nasty “B.” Pardon my not French, but it really is, am I right? Everyone wants you to be okay by pushing you to talk, by giving unwelcomed advice, by giving judgmental comments, etc., or at least that is how we perceive it. During this period there is uncertainty, fear, and darkness, and let me tell you something, we are entitled to those feelings, if that is how we process, then so be it.
Not only did I grow up in a Latin culture, where “señoras” are always asking you about your personal life and expecting you to keep up with their family life expectations, but I also grew up in a religion where there is a social clock. I met the social clock when I got married in my early twenties, but I kept missing it ever since because it has been three years since I got married and still don’t have a baby. Judgy much? I think so! Anyways, it was surrounded by this culture of pressure that I learned to forge my own perspective: these people have an opinion in my life because they care, and I can choose to ignore what I consider hurtful and straight up ignorant. Just. Like. That! Only you know your timing, and sometimes, in cases like infertility, not even then, but you are strong and you can overcome anything you put your mind and efforts on.
During my processing time, I also learned from other tough women who had dealt with infertility, complicated pregnancies and/or losses. These women have taught me about strength, braveness, resilience, faith, forgiveness, and, more importantly, hope. I still find myself questioning, “why me? Or, when will it be my time?” I might never receive the answer to those questions, but I know (and you should too) that I am not alone. I now can talk about it and find support on those who have gone through similar situations, on people that care for me and my family, on my faith, and on my sweet and patient husband.
I am grateful to my friend and her wise words which now I share with you: “When you are ready, talk to someone.” To her words I would add: “And never lose hope.” Take your time to process, and during this time, be kind to yourself, accept that you may not have all the answers that you demand to know, but in the meantime you can learn from incredible life lessons and you can find hope in all things. It is hard to understanding timing and comping with reality, but we are never alone and there is always hope.
If you have shared a similar experience, or you have some encouraging words for women like me, please leave a comment and don’t forget to share. Thank you!
To my dear Janet: I am so blessed to have your friendship and to have your sweet baby girl in my life. I sure hope to marry her with my future kid. (This is not a baby announcement, FYI, but a possible engagement announcement (fingers crossed!)).