Barrenness Is Acceptable

Tree of Life with burning red sunlight behind it. Painted by Michel Lang.

The resentment inside me continued to fester, and when I moved back to Minnesota with my husband, these aggressive conversations about having children began causing me to suffer emotional break downs and crying episodes; though nobody would listen. This persistent band of proselytizers seemed not to care that I had put a lot of thought into my decision, and yes, there was the possibility of changing my mind. However, I wanted to experience my own revelation and on my own terms, without the persistent input of these seemingly well-intentioned strangers.

As I lay harnessed in metal stirrups at what was supposed to be a basic checkup, I was facing the fact that I was no longer able to have children on my terms, or for that matter, in any such way related to my marriage. We had just found out we’d been unprotected for five years. A young couple in their twenties, married for a total of seven years, having unprotected sex over 70 percent of the time and devoid of a single pregnancy scare, is shocking, as well as soul-crushing. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t ready to have children during that time, and the fact that I didn’t actually see myself having any in the future, was irrelevant. However, and for some reason, this failed to cushion the devastating predicament of being denied something so intrinsically tied to my feminine identity and personal worth. In essence, what my body was saying is that – this will never happen.

I called my husband on the way home from the doctor, informing him that the decision to not have children of our own was final. There was no more discussing, there was no more input. We were unable to have children. He broke down, realizing that even if he had changed his mind, we would never have a child of our own. Despite this most unfortunate news, we held onto each other, and have since recovered.

I’d been holding onto the notion that when all was finally told, my husband and I would receive some much-needed sympathy and support, but there was none of it. Instead, everyone decided that the entire ordeal was all in my head, and that I wasn’t trying hard enough. People like my father, never previously thought of as keen on the idea of children those thirty years ago when I was conceived, began saying things like “Take your husband for a few rides, you’ll get pregnant in no time.” Turn Page

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