There are a few phrases that we ladies are just not allowed to say:
“I wish I wasn’t a mom.”
“I wish I had less kids.”
“I wish I was less fertile.”
That last one is a doozy. Try posting that as your Facebook status (or heaven forbid, in a mommy group) and see just how fast you’ll get torn apart.
In today’s world of women empowerment and easy access to the internet (and thus, to the entire world), infertility is beginning to emerge from the private shadows. As more brave women speak out about their heart wrenching experiences with it, we are finally understanding how normal it is to struggle getting pregnant. And this awareness is incredibly needed! So much support comes from seeking help and opening up on the subject.
But there’s another side of having kids that no one is allowed to talk about. No one is allowed to say they wish they weren’t so fertile.
Because think about it: Your body is perfectly capable of getting and staying pregnant, of producing wonderful biological offspring. You get to experience motherhood, snuggling babies, raising children—all the good as well as all the hard stuff. So why should you complain? To quote someone I thought was a friend, but who ripped me apart when I told her I was scared about how fast I had conceived my second, she said:
“There are SO many wonderful women who deserve to be mothers but for one reason or another, they are unable to conceive or bring a pregnancy to term. Their bodies fight them with incredible pain through Endometriosis, hostile uteruses, or medical treatments that left them barren. How DARE you complain about how easy you get pregnant when so many women beg God for a child; just one child! Poor you!”
This was when I learned that apparently, it’s okay to be infertile and upset about it, but it’s not okay to be overly fertile and distraught.
Believe me, I’ve seen and heard it all. If you leave angry comments on this article or completely misunderstand my intent, I won’t be surprised. It’s a sensitive subject. You might’ve forgotten that a while back, I wrote an article about not taking my fertility for granted anymore, since becoming educated on the struggles of infertility. I know it sounds incredibly selfish to complain about easy fertility and believe me, I’d give some of my fertility to another in a heartbeat if it were only possible. But selfish or not, sometimes being too fertile is not a blessing.
Most people are quick to take offense, so quick to judge and assume the worst out of people. That’s why mothers who feel like I do never speak out or find support. When I know I should be grateful to have biological, healthy children that came to me with no problems and no waiting, why would I be “selfish” and dare to complain about that? But it really isn’t so cut and dry. Please open your minds to this other side of the topic, as I try to explain why I, and probably many other women, fear our overactive fertility:
- When you are overly fertile, you worry after every single intercourse. Did we have safe enough sex? Is our world changing again? Was I ovulating? What will happen if we have another baby? Kind of takes the magic out of the moment.
- When you are overly fertile, you risk the problems that come with it. For some women, this means risking your life. Some become so sick they end up in the hospital and mental diseases affect others. My Postpartum Depression worsened with each child born. That disease can put both mother and child in danger. These are very serious circumstances to accept when you become pregnant again so effortlessly.
- When you are overly fertile, sometimes even birth control methods don’t work. This means unplanned, unprepared, unexpected major changes in your life that aren’t always so easy to adjust to.
- When you are overly fertile and your methods of personal birth control fails, you risk losing intimacy with your husband as your fear unintentionally promotes abstinence. All it can take to conceive is just one drunk and frisky night on the living room floor, so you don’t dare chance it. You are too scared to do the most major act of joining together in an expression of love and losing that intimacy will begin to affect your marriage.
- When you are overly fertile, decisions you thought you’d never have to face will arise. Vasectomy? Tubes tied? These are major alterations to your organs that you can’t undo. It’s a stressful decision to make.
- When you are overly fertile, when birth control fails and surgery is not an option, you lose control of how big your family might get. If I know for certain that I cannot handle more than two kids, but my fertility betrays me, I face huge adjustments that I didn’t ask for and can’t mentally handle.
- When you are overly fertile, you give up your body. Some examples of this sacrifice include growing a human for the better part of a year, genital tears during delivery, hormonal changes, breastfeeding, and more. Your body permanently changes and if it’s severe enough, you begin to not recognize yourself anymore. Whether this is with cesarean scars, stretch marks, Diastasis Recti, incontinence, Postpartum Anxiety/OCD, “baby fat” that you can’t lose no matter how hard you work—your body is no longer your own. Prioritizing your kids over your body is what any selfless mother does, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.
- When you are overly fertile, you might start considering adoption, which is a whole other emotional pain to work through.
- When you are overly fertile, you’re facing another mouth to feed, another +years to your stay-at-home commitment, and sometimes, it means another job just so you can afford that child.
- When you are overly fertile, you can begin to feel so alone. You’re not allowed to be upset about it—a pregnancy is something to happily announce! So you keep quiet, trying to work through your struggles, emotions, and pain on your own.
Whether you like it or not, whether you believe it selfish or not, there IS another side to fertility. Being overly fertile really can be difficult. And we’ve already accepted that infertility is incredibly difficult. They are two separate challenges people face in life—two separate sides of a coin. We just aren’t allowed to say anything negative about what others view as privileged, so we keep quiet. We few who are on the other side of the coin continue to try and adjust our attitudes because most of us would still rather have the overly fertile problem than the infertility heartbreak. But my form of heartbreak is not without cause, and neither is yours. It’s okay to fear your fertility. You are most definitely not alone.