Well, you know you’re officially a health blogger when you have to write this out for the first time:
I am not a doctor, and nothing I write should be misconstrued as medical advice. I am talking about myself, my personal health, and the things my personal health care providers have advised me.
And in fact, you should take anything you read on the internet with a grain of salt anyway, especially if you have endometriosis. Each case varies so much from woman to woman. Part of the reason endo is such a mystery is how uniquely it affects each one of us. You’re a beautiful unique snowflake, blah blah blah, please don’t try this at home and don’t sue me.
Now. On to the post.
Early on, my doctor told me that the best thing for my endometriosis would be to get pregnant. He stressed that there is no cure, but that pregnancy can really help and sometimes even cure endo.
You know what my first thought was?
How marvelous! This disease is totally incurable, but my God can cure it. God has a cure – pregnancy. Doctors can’t cure you but my Lord can!
And I know I don’t explicitly talk about my faith a lot on here (because religious squabbles belong in another forum. Far, FAR away from the comment section below) but I still really believe it. I believe I won’t have endo forever. I believe that God can do anything. But a lot has happened since then, and a lot has changed. My faith? Still there. But those “Hallelujah!” feelings? Yeah…they’re gone.
First, I got married. I was planning on that endo or not, but I did think that getting married young would work out pretty well since I need a baby. But there was no rush. I had my first laparoscopy and felt great for three years.
Then I started feeling sick again, and doc said all we could do was another surgery. I asked if I’d need surgeries every three years, and he said that three years was an awesome stint, and while I may last even longer last time, I may also need one sooner.
After the second surgery, I didn’t notice much change. Other than an uglier scar this time, the pain and fatigue were still steadily becoming more and more prominent in my life. I started eating better. I made sure to get a full 8 hours of sleep every day. I tried to exercise when I could, and rest every chance I got. I started taking warm bubble baths to stave away pain instead of using meds when possible. But it was clear that this surgery hadn’t “worked.” And I didn’t want to go through surgery again.
So that’s when we put “baby” on the table.
My doctor said that after operating on me twice, he felt strongly that pregnancy would help me. While delivering a baby can actually give some women endo, my doctor said that in MY case (don’t make me put another legal notice here) I had an 80% of being cured. The idea is that your body gets a chance to “start over.” Your uterus forms when you’re just a baby, but unlike other body parts, it has a chance for an extreme makeover in pregnancy. After stretching way out (and making the pain of endo even worse for those nine months, especially sans medication) it has a chance to shrink back to a happy, non-leaky, less temperamental uterus. And while 80% isn’t perfect, it’s still good odds in my book.
So why didn’t I just throw my arms in the air and say “Praise the Lord!” again?
I mean, it’s not like I don’t want kids. I want kids more than anything! If you watch the Do I Look Sick pinterest, you’ve seen how much I’m pinning to my “Need Kids Now!” board. And notice that it’s not just called “kids” or “future kids” or “someday…” like most people’s. I want kids now! Perfect, right?
Plus I’m in that place Tina Fey was in at the beginning of “baby mama.” I am the weirdo smelling baby’s heads in elevators. On our trip to Disneyland, I smiled and waved and talked to every little kid who looked at me. I showed little girls hummingbirds in the trees, and I let babies in line play with my graduation tassel. And I’m not at the age where all my friends are having babies, but enough of them do for me to wind up holding and playing with babies a lot.
I just graduated from college, and my husband is right behind me and will cross the stage in a few months. Perfect timing, right? It all works out!
Well, the problem is not having a baby really, the problem is everything else. Literally….everything…..else.
Like that college thing I was talking about. I got a diploma and a husband, I’m set for life! Right? Time to find jobs and get a house! Yup….find jobs….and get a house…
I was raised by a stay at home mom while my husband was raised by a nanny. We both turned out fine, but the stay at home mom thing is all I’ve ever known. So of course I want to stay at home with my babies! And luckily, since I want to be a writer, I can write from home and still be the wonderful at home mom I always envisioned myself being.
Of course, I’m not sure who I envisioned writing my paychecks, because the world just does not work that way.
But what’s great is that I have a college education and real world experience in production! I don’t anticipate it being difficult for me to find a great job. But I do know that finding the “work from home” job of my dreams… probably won’t ever happen. I’ve toyed around a little with the idea of opening a kickstarter or indygogo to try and fund the production of one of my scripts (and essentially pay myself for writing/directing it) but even with that I don’t know where to start. So in short: there’s the issue of money.
But it’s not just an issue of money. There’s also the issue of society’s view of pregnancy. I’ll be blunt: most people associate pregnancy with failure. Your life is over. And people say that jokingly, and I’m sure many of you are quick to say “Not at all! That’s just joking!” but let me explain: how many of you would call having a baby in wedlock wherein both spouses have a college degree failure? I bet the general consensus is that there’s nothing wrong with that. But riddle me this: if your daughter, upon graduating from college, decided to have a baby with her spouse (DECIDED. She CHOSE to TRY to get pregnant) would you be disappointed in her? I mean, why not just wait? Why not start a career first? What parent doesn’t want their little girl to have it all?
It’s not just accidental pregnancies that are looked down on anymore. In fact, in some ways, I think young married couples may even be more looked down on. Accidents happen, but why would you do it on purpose?!
And let’s not forget relationship issues. No couple is perfect, obviously. But I can’t help but feel we need to be…a little more perfect, I guess, to be parents. I know right now we’re in a transitional time. My husband is working hard to graduate, and both of us are navigating transitions in our careers. We’ll be moving soon, and we’d like to be having kids soon….but everything’s so crazy now! We seem to hardly see each other, we eat dinner around midnight (as that’s about when hubby gets home from work), and to be frank, things are tense!
But things get better after college right? Things will settle down? We’ll have more money once we don’t have tuition anymore…right?
Remember the other day when my car exploded? Yeah. So we had to get a new (to us) one. And for one week (this week) we literally have no money. I’m waiting on our paycheck for the saddest, most ridiculous reasons. Like to buy stamps and toilet paper. And cereal. This was unpredictable, but what would we do in some kind of crisis like this if we had a baby? We need more security.
We need more money.
We need to be older.
We need more support.
We need to be closer.
We need to be stronger Christians.
We need to stop cussing so much.
We need to eat healthier food and plan meals.
We need more space.
We need a nicer neighborhood.
And when I reach points of extreme conflict and intense desperation, I google sad rhetorical questions like a little emo kid and find a lot of advice like this:
“Don’t worry! If you wait until you’re ready/you have more money/you have a career you’ll never have kids! Just do what you think is right.”
So I become pensive. And I pray. I try to be quite and listen to my heart. Or my brain. Or my soul.
And this is what it says:
WHAA I’M HURTING AND SICK ALL THE TIME, MAKE IT BETTER!
We have no money. We have no money. We have no money.
OMG WANT BABY WANT FAMILY WANT LOVE
Stake your claim to fame, make art, make a difference in the world.
But I am le tired. I don’t want to go to work.
My parents would be disappointed.
Why not just let good enough alone?! Stay the course!
I don’t want to take medicine.
But what can I do? Have another surgery? Remove my uterus altogether?
First world problems! It’s not like your pain is unbearable!
I can’t live this way.
What if being baby crazy is just a phase?
I’ll regret it.
It feels so right.
It feels so wrong.
My heart wants a baby. My heart wants to be a mom. My brain says that’s irrational, illogical, and impossible.
But the worst voice is my body’s.
It just wants to not be sick anymore.
I want too much.
There are risks and rewards with any treatment method. When you’ve got invisible, chronic illness, there will always be tough decisions to make. What your heart wants and what your mind wants might be totally different, and there’s no good way to know what you need.
Moral dilemmas. Ethics. A cure. A cost.
I think only someone who’s walked with illness knows how desperate people can get for a cure. We see heroes, like Shiloh from Repo! – which I’ll be posting about soon – as much as villains, like the dinosaur man who tries to kill Spiderman. The signs and clues all seem to be 50/50 – do it/don’t.
But what a way to be cured, huh? How wonderful to tell your child one day, “you saved mommy.”
But how terrible… to shoulder the guilt of wanting pregnancy for yourself. Somehow it feels like you’re not supposed to want a baby to benefit yourself, only them. Will they question my love? Will they wonder if they were only born for my sake?
And the scariest uncertainty of all… what if it doesn’t work, and then you’re a mom with endometriosis?
That’s a whole ‘nother post.