"Can I cum inside of you?"
I just nod and close my eyes.
While he finishes I bite my lower lip to keep from laughing out loud. It's comical -- all those years of doing everything possible to avoid pregnancy and here I am doing everything possible now to make it happen. Not that it matters.
It takes ovaries.
Well, in my case, just one ovary. I was young when I lost the other one due to a ruptured cyst and learned exactly how bad my reproductive situation was. I didn't mourn it. I just took it as "this wasn't meant for me," but that was a lie. I always wanted to be a mom. I had my eggs harvested after that experience for the future possibility, no matter how remote it might be.
It takes eggs.
I held space for those frozen eggs in my life even if I told myself I wouldn't. I opened a children's special occasion boutique. I told myself I was building a future so that I could have flexible and financial freedom, but what I was really doing was building a future so I could have flexible hours. Being self-employed meant my life wasn't dictated by someone else's business hours. I could own my time card, my benefits and work around my needs. Being self-employed with an online business meant I could work from home. It meant flexibility for the future kids I didn't have.
It takes compartmentalizing.
I tried to cordon off the feelings into a place where I didn't have to face them. I couldn't take all the emotions. It was easier to just avoid them, but two years into the boutique, I grew tired of explaining why I didn't have kids of my own to dress in my little clothes. I grew resentful of having to hold a smile on my face when you (my customers) gushed about how being a mom had changed your whole world. Not having kids was changing mine.
It takes hormones.
Injections. Pills. Patches. Supplements. Weight gain and loss. Acne like a teenager and hot flashes like my mom going through menopause. Everything under the sun to try and do the delicate dance of balancing the hormones. Each with a side effect that needed yet another solution, and each making it harder and harder to find equilibrium.
It takes dreams.
I tried to make peace with mine. I shifted careers and became more aggressive about achieving my goals. I no longer had the idea of waning fertile years to worry about. I couldn't wait for something that was slipping through my fingers like sand. I told myself, Having kids would have held me back, and There was a reason for this, I was meant to do more, but that wasn't true.
It takes lies.
Denial is seen in the things we tell ourselves and others to cope: Kids aren't for me. I don't have enough patience. But one whiff of a newborn head and I melt. That instinct to hold and protect. Maybe its just instinct to hold on one more minute to something I have to give back.
It takes menstruation.
My body stopped having periods with any consistency in late 2012. Months at a time would pass without them and when it would come I would rejoice. Funny; I used to dread that time of the month, now it's the only thing I pray will keep coming back.
It takes fear.
It took a health crisis to make me finally fight back. In early 2014, I passed a major piece of uterine lining. My cervix dilated and I pushed out something that looked like a sac. It turns out that when you stop having a period, your uterus can't shed properly. If it builds up long enough, it will get enlarged and it will cause problems. When mine shed (big enough to fill the bottom of a mason jar) it was discovered to be the home of dozens of tiny fibroids. You have a choice, my gyno said: treatment with a "wait and see" option or a radical hysterectomy.
It takes courage.
I chose option one. It takes bravery to sit in an ultrasound room every month waiting to know if the removed fibroids are growing and at what rate.
"It's not a matter of IF you'll have a hysterectomy," my doctor said, "it's a matter of WHEN."
Will this be the month? Will this be the time the doppler finds the masses have grown? Will this be the month I can wait for my turn without someone asking me how far along I am? So far it's "No" to all of the above.
It takes time.
I finally got scared enough to say, "I will not be a victim of my body or circumstance." I finally chose to fight for my health whether that meant resulting in a baby or not. I read Woman Code and started FLOliving -- fellow blogger Alisa Vitti's protocol. I made appointments with specialists and reproductive endocrinologists. I learned what to ask my doctors to test for thanks to what I learned from Dr. Sara Gottfried's work and "hacked my hormones."
I joined Weight Watchers and started to lose weight. I am not just fighting for my hormones anymore, I am fighting for a better life. Everything is now a conscious choice: Will what I'm doing support a healthier future? Or will it hold me hostage?
At this point, my doctor thinks it'll be a year to 18 months before I can get off the hormones, birth control regulating the fibroid growth and finally have a self-regulating body the way I'm supposed to be. It takes time to bring balance and correct all the years of pumping it with synthetic hormones.
It takes strength.
It takes heart to feel the feelings I fought so hard to bury. The feelings of inadequacy, of feeling like less of a woman, and of not feeling "enough." It takes strength to not cry when my mom says, "I saved you the Pottery Barn Kids catalog -- it's on the counter, folded back to the crib section... just case you need ideas," while in my head I know that is so far down the road, that it may never happen.
It takes resolve.
I have to make these decisions now. As a single woman. At 28. I have to make choices without a partner and be OK with the fact that if I don't meet the right partner when I'm ready... I may be doing this alone. I also have to be OK knowing it may never happen. I have to find peace in my Otherhood. The Otherhood I thought I had come to terms with before the big scare.
It takes love.
Love for myself. Love for the spaces I'm creating. Love for my body.
The relationship I have with my body is a direct expression of the relationship I have with myself. I can't wear exhaustion like a badge of courage anymore. I can't push myself to extremes and expect it to love me back. I can't abuse it with my thoughts, actions, stress, food, alcohol, smoking and expect it to perform what it's supposed to be able to at 100% capacity.
It takes faith.