This story is submitted by a guest: Rachel Okun
My name is Rachel. When my husband and I got married in July of 2015, starting a family right away was an exciting possibility. Except, we’re still not pregnant. It has been 1 year. In some respects, it has been a year of sorrow for me because it is hard to not get pregnant when everyone else in my life is getting pregnant and having children and I’m being bombarded with the question, “So now that you’re married when are you going to have kids?” This year has been hard because I’m not pregnant and I haven’t often known how to handle that, process that, or talk about that.
We haven’t always been free to talk about this, we haven’t learned how to talk about this because our mothers often didn’t talk about this because their mother’s didn’t talk about this. I’m talking about this because through the million emotions I’ve gone through talking about this has been one of the healing things for me. It has healed me because it’s allowed me to be honest about my journey and that my plan didn’t happen. It has healed me because I’ve discovered that talking about it has also been healing for others. Some of the time I shared, I learned how many other women were struggling to conceive too, or had struggled before they finally got pregnant. I’ve learned I’m not alone, so I want you to know you are not alone. This doesn’t take away the pain, but having a community surrounding me has helped me process the pain.
In all of this, I have also learned a lot about my body. Before we even got married, my husband and I decided to learn and use natural family planning as our form of birth control and the way to help us conceive. Though this path was the one I chose due to my Catholic faith, the science behind it is what has really drawn me in and kept me on the path. In the beginning of my struggle, I was mourning many things, one being that I felt defective because my body wasn’t making a child. However, watching each month as my cervical fluid changes to become fertile, knowing each day what part of my cycle I am in, understanding that charting my observations can reveal patterns that allow my instructor to give me advice and my OBGYN to recognize possible barriers for my fertility is amazing to me. Even when my body doesn’t do what I thought it would, it still gives signs of what it IS doing is simply wonderful to me. So now, I know words like progesterone and luteal phase. I know that if your luteal phase is too short, your fertilized egg doesn’t have enough time to travel from your fallopian tubes to attach in your womb before your period begins. I know that my chart shows this is mostly likely what is happening to me. I don’t know if progesterone is the only part of my infertility story, but when I meet with my doctor next week, I know I have information to share with her so that we have a starting point on my journey of what to do next. More importantly, I know that my female body is STILL beautiful.
I’m not sure how this is all going to pan out. I’m not sure if low progesterone is my only barrier in conceiving a child. But I am sure that I am learning to let my life chapters be written in time instead of trying to make them happen on my timeline. I’m learning to be open about the joys in my life, as well as the challenges. I am learning that to share my story, allows me to be the relational being that I am, which enables me to be strengthened and encouraged. I have learned to love my body, even if it doesn’t “work” the way I thought it would, and to love the plan, even if it isn’t what I expected and even if sometimes it still causes tears.
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