Lesbian Mom: The Damage of Infertility
By: Brandy Black
I never knew what infertility did to me until recently. The day I got pregnant, I shut the door on three years of pain and chose to never look back. I spent those years being shoved around like a pinball from doctor to doctor, a Voodoo doll with Eastern needles and Western needles coming at me from every direction. Working hard to convince myself that I was tough and that the tears would eventually stop. I learned each day that I was stronger than the last. I became an expert at hiding my pain, convincing people that “everything happens for a reason” and I was ok with whatever the results may be. Recently I dug the shrapnel out of my heart and released the suffering that I had been hiding away. I allowed myself to feel the hurt, the shame, the guilt, to hug the stoic little girl inside of me and tell her it was a difficult time in my life and it’s now ok to face it. I realized I was angry at the doctors for not understanding how hard it is to feel out of control in your body, for their lack of sensitivity each time I heard a “no”. I was mad at the clinics and the sperm donor agencies for providing anything less than the friendliest voice of reason to a woman who had been pumped full of meds and felt like she could explode at any minute. I was angry with the insurance company for making me fight for benefits that I should have been awarded in the first place. I was angry at my wife for not understanding that the crazy woman manifested on the surface was simply a tiny little girl on the inside crying out for help, needing to be held, needing to be taken care of. I was angry with myself for being so pathetic and weak and needy and alone and wanting and deserving.
The pain that I tucked away for so long has revealed itself in small yet significant ways since our daughter was born. I changed from allowing my wife to make decisions for me or even with me to a person who could only take care of herself. I became harder, guarded, and in some ways, colder to the love that came my way. Perhaps I was ready for more hurt or maybe I felt like I was still alone and fighting my own battles. It was like the reoccurring bad dream that you awake from yet can’t let go of. I didn’t want to liberate myself only to get beaten down again. It wasn’t my wife’s fault or even mine. We were two people that were thrown fiery curve balls and learned to fend for ourselves because of it. We grew apart.
As I sat in therapy working through the reminiscence of those tough years, I realized that infertility did a number on us and the only way to truly recover from it was to face it head on, to talk about the damage that had been done and to attempt to understand how each of us felt while it was happening. It wasn’t easy realizing that the one thing I knew I was born to do, that every woman throughout time seems to be able to do effortlessly, is something that I simply couldn’t –without the aid of a staff, an insane amount of money, and every machine I could think of prodding me in places I never expected.
I’ll be honest; the pain isn’t gone. I’m still angry and hurt and every time I meet a woman about to endure the pain that I did, I only hope that she can make it to the other side intact.