I cannot conceive children. Well, not without medications, injections, doctors and about $15,000.
I did not know this until I was 28, married and trying hard to be a mom before hitting 30. My body could not perform a basic human, female, function. What kind of woman was I if I could not have children? Never had I felt like such a failure and a disappointment to my husband.
At age 3 I came close to death when my appendicitis was misdiagnosed as the flu. My mother, a nurse, knew what was going on but the pediatricians told her she was an overprotective, panicking mother. By the time she carried me into the hospital I was unresponsive and my lips were white. My appendix had ruptured days before and poison had spread through my abdominal cavity. The doctors spent hours cleaning out the debris and damage. It was several days before they knew I would survive. No one at the time realized the long-term consequences of my illness. Scar tissue formed thickly in and around my fallopian tubes, blocking eggs from the uterus for fertilization.
It was nobody's fault; it just was what it was.
But try telling a woman having a bad hair day that it's really not that bad and watch her roll her eyes and force a smile for your benefit because she knows you were lying for hers. My inability to conceive wasn't my fault, and yet I felt wholly responsible for our childless state. I told my husband he could find another woman to have a baby with. I honestly felt it was better for him to have sex with another woman than to be deprived of children because of my failure.
The helplessness was overwhelming. I cried almost constantly. I came up with all the reasons why it would be better not to have children. It didn't help that it took my sister one week to conceive her first child. It really did not help that my mother-in-law told me if I would just relax I would be pregnant and she would be a grandmother.
So the medical treatment began, and though at first it was unsuccessful, eventually I became a mother to two beautiful and amazing children. My husband was a trouper throughout and though not ashamed of my infertility he was at first unconvinced that our children should know how they came to be. I was insistent however, that they needed to know that in Mommy's brokenness, she became a fighter. I grew strong, persistent and determined to do whatever necessary to become a mother because that was my heart's desire.
Yes, my body is broken. It cannot do what other women's bodies can. But my brokenness tested and strengthened me and my marriage. It has allowed me time and again to put my arm around another hurting woman and say, "I understand, me too, I've been there."
It has allowed me to share with my children just how much I want them.
In being broken, I found strength.