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Mara Shapshay Headshot

Do It For The Kids

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This past Sunday, my stomach bungee jumped to my ankles when I watched this beautiful, young mother with her doting husband and their cherubic baby as they ate eggs benedict at brunch. Fine, I'm envious -- I always wanted my own Nicholas Sparks Sunday brunching scene, but that was not how it worked out.

I made sure to marry in my twenties so I could start a family in my thirties. I planned out my life to fit a very elaborate fairy tale. But, as they say, "God laughs at those who make plans."

What wasn't in my plan was being in a sexless marriage with a man who had more secrets than the CIA. I was too focused on my fantasy of a perfect marriage than reality. I did the worst thing one can do when they find themselves in a bad situation...I stayed.

I should never have married my husband because I wasn't sure about the relationship, but alas the preverbal clock was ticking -- I had babies to make. My marriage deteriorated faster than two-day-old bananas. Sex went from occasional to bi-yearly to me permanently sleeping on the couch in pajamas with cats on them.

I stayed in that marriage because of fear of being alone. As a wise friend said to me, "You can either be in fear or in faith." I chose the dark side, fear. I didn't have faith then.

My prime reproductive years were spent in this sex-less and love-less marriage. Meanwhile, my eggs were rapidly aging and would soon need to wear white shoes and retire to Florida to play shuffleboard.

When I finally left my husband I was 34. According to doctors and the media, I had one more year of prime baby making, after that; it would be an egg meets sperm in a petri dish kind of situation.

When you get divorced, it actually does divorce you from your things and turns your life upside down. At least that is what happened to me. 'm a big believer in grieving an old relationship before starting another. Otherwise, you take your hard Samsonite baggage into your next relationship.

I waited at least a year to start dating again, but honestly I wasn't ready even then. The fear that I wouldn't have children made me insane. Unfairly, every man that I dated became the future father of my children.

I feel really bad for one of my former boyfriends whom I put so much pressure on. I had to have surgery to remove 8 very large fibroids in my uterus that were just hanging out there causing havoc. Vic, my largest fibroid, was the leader and asserted dominance over the others. He took up almost my entire lady flower.

There was no way I could conceive much less carry a child to term with Vic and his army taking up residence in my wound, so I opted for the surgery. My poor boyfriend, all I could talk about was getting the surgery and then trying to conceive. You see the other thing about fibroids is that they usually grow back, plus I wasn't getting any younger...so now I didn't have a minute to waste!

I had my myomectomy done at UCLA, which is a teaching hospital, that means every resident, intern, and janitor saw my vagina. I was examined by more strangers than a Pekingese at The Westminster Dog show.

It was a tough recovery from the surgery. It took a good week just to walk to the front door and the pain was unbearable at night. I have a lovely scar on my bikini line that looks like a Google road map because I don't believe my surgeon could draw in a straight line.

I'd like to tell you that my relationship worked out, but it didn't. I had to come to terms that maybe having children just isn't in the cards for me and I had to surrender to that reality. Like I mentioned earlier, I can either be in fear or in faith. I have faith now. If having children or adopting is in store for me than that is what will happen.

If I could impart any advise to those women in unhappy or unhealthy marriages who want to have children -- don't stay, leave. "Do it for the kids"...your unborn kids.