Why you Shouldn't Ask a Woman Why She Doesn't Have Children Pt. 1
Becoming pregnant and starting a family is something that is 'supposed' to come naturally. You fall in love with your soul mate, you move in together, you plan to start a family, and are excited to begin building many memories together! But what happens when plans to start a family isn't following the timeline that you were hoping for?
Infertility can affect women of all ages and backgrounds. The interesting thing about infertility is that it comes in all shapes and sizes. You can’t look at a person and see that they’re struggling with fertility. I wanted to use this platform not only to share my story, but to inform others that infertility is more common than society likes to acknowledge. People also need to be aware of what kind of buttons and triggers they are hitting when they start asking a woman about why she doesn’t have kids. There could be more to it than you think.
Infertility has been an issue since the 1980s with 2.4 million women having suffered from this. Infertility wasn't much of a big topic of conversation back then. But infertility has been on the rise in the most recent years. Even though it's a prominent medical issue now, many people STILL don't know that many women and men (even some of their own family members) are suffering from fertility complications.
Women may struggle with fertility for a number of reasons:
1.) Infertility is often a symptom or result of another condition. Here all a few disorders that are linked to infertility: Endometriosis, fibroids, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Lupus, hypothyroidism, Fallopian tube blockage or damage
2.) Infertility can be linked to other factors such as being underweight or overweight, smoking, drug/alcohol use, other poorly managed health issues, excessive exercising, genetics, etc.
Ironically enough, all these conditions and symptoms have an influence on each other. For example, having a hormonal imbalance may cause weight gain. Weight gain, in turn, can cause depression or be linked to other diseases. Coming full circle, both of these things affect fertility.
Hormonal imbalances disturb the natural pattern of menstruation. Sometimes there’s an absence or irregularity of periods, which in turn can affect ovulation.
Keep reading for REAL STORIES from REAL WOMEN who previously or currently have experienced fertility issues:
“My name is Sidni Boykins, well Cooper now, and my struggle and experience with infertility may be different than most. My husband and I have been together for over four years now, and have never formally used any form of birth control. While we weren’t actively seeking to have any children, the two of us weren’t necessarily attempting to prevent it either.
Now, while a significant part of me was ecstatic that we could live our lives the way we wanted without any responsibilities, there was also the inevitable worry creeping in the back of my mind. I can admit that I was wrestling with the idea of there being something wrong with me, preventing me from being able to have a child. In a world where so many women can produce multiple children effortlessly, how could I not wonder why I couldn’t? I’ve shared my worries with my significant other numerous times, and he’s been firm in attempting to ease my mind by assuring me that things will happen on their own time.
However, as a woman, I can’t help but wonder if it won’t ever happen. I’ve only shared my fears with two of my closest cousins, who have both encouraged me to seek out a doctor to find out if there is indeed a barrier preventing me from conceiving a child, but, I don’t think I’m ever going to be ready for my world to change if it indeed something wrong.”
“I found out I was pregnant a month after stopping birth control with no expectation of anything other than a healthy pregnancy and baby. Little did I know, at 8 weeks I went for my first ultrasound and was told there was no heartbeat. I remember not being able to look at my husband because I had so much guilt. I was embarrassed and shamed. I don’t know why, there was no reason too but for some reason it’s a natural feeling after miscarriage. While initially in shock, I thought ok..we can try again. And I was wrong again. I soon found out that I had an abnormal pregnancy and it was suspected that it was a partial molar pregnancy. Because of this, I was advised to wait one year to try again to try to eliminate the possibility of having another abnormal pregnancy. I was so in shock, the Dr questioned if I knew what he said. I just starred at him. I was numb. It was a Thursday before Mother’s Day. I was devastated. Not only did I have to process the loss of a baby, but now I had to wait to try again.
This time was the lowest point of my life I had ever experienced. It’s a feeling that’s unexplainable. There are so many questions that you can’t process all of them at once. I wondered why me? I wondered was it my fault (despite being told it wasn’t) I questioned my ability to carry a child. I questioned my husband’s feelings and did he blame me. I wondered what I did wrong. I just wanted to know WHY? I struggled with seeing other women pregnant. I struggled with seeing baby showers, gender reveals, and anything related to pregnancy.
I talked to my doctor about trying again before the one month mark so I stopped birth control and remember feeling defeated because it didn’t just happen as I thought it would. For me, once I stopped my pitty party, I relied on my faith. In my lowest moment, I remember waking up in tears and I got on my knees and told God I give it up and I give it to you. It was the most free that I had felt in awhile. I remember when I asked God why, he said why not? From that moment forward, my prayer became a prayer of thanks, that I knew God was going to bless us with a healthy child before I expected. I read a 30 day devotional by Joel Olsteen and added my prayer for a healthy baby everyday. In January I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant. And what I thought would be an automatic joy, also came with some fear. I had to speak over my fear everyday and I would touch my belly and speak that I was going to have a healthy, pregnancy of ease, with a beautiful healthy baby. Everything would give me anxiety, but I would say..faith over fear and it would calm my nerves.
Looking back, I know this test wasn’t just for me but for many people I’ve met or been connected too. You don’t realize it when you’re going through but after you realize that someone else needed to hear your story, your strength, and the encouragement to continue to fight. I feared the absolute worst would happen again during my second pregnancy, but God. My miscarriage and wait to try again taught me so much about myself. I grew so much during my lowest point. There’s no amount of words to express my love for my baby, because I know what’s it’s like to have the thought that she may not have been here. She was so worth the fight of not giving up!”
“I found out I was having issues with infertility when I experienced a miscarriage in January 2017. My partner was very insensitive, he could not really relate at all. He just told me things happen and we'd try again later. My friends and family were supportive while I was in the hospital recovering because I lost so much blood I needed a DNC and transfusion. My mother in law was very supportive. She dealt with getting pregnant in her tubes in the past so she could relate and was helpful.”
“My husband and I have been trying for a baby since 2014. We went to doctor visits after doctor visits we conceived in 2016 and we lost the baby 3 days after finding out due to my negative blood type. My body rejected the pregnancy. In November of 2017 I was referred to Procreate fertility center. They ran different test and I was diagnosed with PCOS. I had to have surgery to have polyps removed off my uterus in March 2018. When I first found out I had PCOS I was worried because I never heard of it before I prayed every single day and kept the faith that everything was going to be ok. My husband didn’t understand and every month for us have been a struggle negative test after negative test. Silent tears and lots of prayer.“
“ I was diagnosed with PCOS at age 14. My doctors told me then that I may not be able to have children. I was freaked out, but she told me not to worry until I was ready to have kids. Fast forward to today: I am 27. I am still not ready to have children yet (I am not married, nor am so even in a relationship), but boy have I had my PCOS issues. When I first got my period (age 11), it was regular. Then, at age 14 it became irregular (hence my visit to the OBGYN where I received my PCOS diagnosis). I was very active then - I played basketball all throughout high school. But when I got to college, the freshman 15 basically turned into the freshman 50: i gained a lot of weight quickly. My period basically stopped altogether (and stayed that way for 5 years). I started a birth control that was later known to cause depression. So I stopped the birth control, and then began my streak of absolutely no period, unhealthy eating, depression, and more weight gain.
But in 2013, it was as if someone found my switch that read “menstrual cycle”, realized it had been flipped off, and turned it ON. I had a period for a month, and then my next one was for 80 days. Yes, you read that correctly - 80 days...in the summer! It really is a wonder I didn’t pass out from the blood loss. I was in and out of the OBGYN’s office and begged - despite my fear of returning to the majorly depressed state I was in before - to be put back on birth control. So that’s what my doctor did. And I thought I was finally returning to “normal” and that things were working. But if I skipped a pill - which all of us have done at some point - the heavy flow switch was right back on. This was my PCOS life for a couple of years. Now before I go into the next part, let me add that I also have hypothyroidism - which is commonly paired with PCOS. In addition to my OBGYN, I also see an endocrinologist. I was on metformin for years, which many PCOS women will take when trying to conceive (Apparently it helps. But to not be a diabetic and on this medication - it was just one more pill to pop. And I popped 4, at 2000mg total, a day). Through my hypothyroidism diagnosis, I found out about my excess in testosterone - something that many PCOS women have. So I’m battling all these internal hormonal issues - testosterone, extremely low Viatamin D, unpracticed thyroid, etc - as well as internal emotions caused by the external - depressed from being so overweight, low self esteem, etc. So I realized I needed to do something.
And then I turned 25. I told myself I needed to get it together. I needed better health, I wanted higher self-esteem, I wanted to get back to the athlete me. I also knew I needed to prepare my body to carry a child one day. And for those who know me, I love children and cannot wait to have my own. So I worked my ass off. And I lost 55lbs. And then I continued my fitness - a journey I am still proudly on today! My readings were all great - testosterone was finally normal, I took myself off of metformin, Pap smears were good (I still have little cysts on my ovaries, but hey, that’s PCOS for you), etc. I thought, “Finally Lord!” I even entered a relationship, and I was very open with my PCOS. And he made me feel like shit...in many ways...but he questioned if he could be with me because of the possibility that I may not be able to have children. No matter what I said - how 1 in 10 women is reproductive age have this condition; how it’s genetic (it’s not like my lifestyle or choices gave me this condition); how I was literally doing everything I was supposed to go mange my condition, be healthy, etc; how all my test levels were normal; how my doctor reassured me I could have children; how I regularly take my birth control- NOTHING. I felt like my years of hard work didn’t mean a thing. I now know otherwise. And I am thankfully - for many reasons - no longer in that relationship. I keep on keeping on. I work out hard and often (& I love it). I am doing what I am supposed to do. So my advice to my fellow PCOS warriors out there is primarily to get or stay healthy. What you put in your body and a good exercise regiment is key. In my opinion, it’s the number 1 thing to tackling this condition. And if I can do it, anyone can!!!”
”Ever since I can remember I have had irregular periods. When I was a teenager I went on birth control to help regulate them but there was never any conversation about why this was happening. Fast forward many, many years my husband and I decided we wanted to start trying to expand out family. After about a year of no luck I decided to talk to my OBGYN.
She immediately told me I probably had PCOS and sent me to the fertility clinic. There was no conversation about what this meant or how I could handle it. I left the appointment feeling confused, defeated and heartbroken.
I made my appointment with the fertility clinic and went in for my consultation. After doing all of the ultrasounds and blood work my diagnosis was confirmed. I had PCOS. That's when the research started. Trying to figure out how I could "fix" this and how I could do it without meds and intervention.
PCOS does not run in my family so I was confused. How did this happen? Did I cause this? What does this mean for my future children? So many questions started running through my mind and Google made it that much worse.
My husband has been SO supportive. Through all of the emotions and the breakdowns. All of the tests and the treatments. All of the hormones that caused me to be, as my mom would say, hell on wheels. It hasn't been easy but he's been there every step of the way.
I'm now 33 weeks pregnant with a little girl and the new fears have set in. Will she have PCOS too? What I can do to prevent her from going through what I did? But I feel so much more equipped to help her. I know what to look for and I know how it feels to receive that diagnoses.”
“Found out I had PCOS after trying for 1 year to conceive with my husband. Once reality sunk in that I was going to be a statistic of infertility, my anxiety increased and I became very depressed. Never in a million years did I think I would be someone with fertility issues. Not only my emotional and mental state were suffering, but this information took a toll on my physical health as well. I was losing weight and my skin was going through a lot of ugly changes. I put a lot of blame on myself because I thought that there was something wrong with me and I could've done something to avoid having this problem.
My husband was very supportive but I was so ashamed to share this information with my extended family. They are accustomed to the normal routine of having kids after you get married. Since this wasn't the case for us, family would constantly ask when are the kids coming as if children are something you can just pick up from the store lol. With the constant questions about conceiving, this added more fuel to the fire because I knew what the problem was but didn't feel comfortable sharing this with my family at the time.
About a year later when I became a little more comfortable living in my truth, I decided to tell my close family members. Most of my family thought we didn't start a family yet because they thought we were waiting until the time was right for us. They had no idea we were dealing with such a big issue.
When I open up social media, I constantly see women announcing their pregnancies. I'm constantly congratulating these women and in my mind I'm saying "I hope and pray that I'm next". I try to stay positive about this but it's so hard because I look at pregnant women and wish it was me. I'm running errands and always see the cutest kids and my eyes tear up because I can't wait to experience that deep love and joy that one has from being a parent.”
“I found out in June 2016 that having children was going to be a struggle for my husband and I, as I was diagnosed with PCOS. When I first got the news, I was relieved because I could put a name to it and we had something to work with. However, my fear was now confirmed. I wasn’t going to be able to just “pop out some babies” to make my little family complete. I often wondered (and still do sometimes), why me? I work every day with children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect. Yet, here am I just wanting to love and raise amazing human beings and yet, I’m stuck at the initial part. I felt like less than a woman, a failure, incomplete, guilt, and shame. I even got to a point where I had to get off social media because I didn’t want to hear about anyone being pregnant. It made me more depressed.
My husband has been super supportive through it all. Dealing with my mood swings, constantly being a shoulder to cry on, and being strong for me when I’m at my weakest. I seriously cannot thank God enough for him. I did not share this with anyone outside of my close friends. They were super supportive and positive. I was actually relieved to find out that some of my friends shared the same struggles as far as irregular cycles and struggling with “the wait” to become pregnant”. My mother shared it with some family members without my permission and I was livid. One because I was embarrassed and two, I was still trying to process it all. I didn’t want anyone to ask me questions that I couldn’t answer. Luckily, no one ever confronted me about it. However, since finding out two years ago, I shared my struggle on social media for National Infertility Awareness Week and it was honestly the most liberating thing I have ever done. It literally felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was also able to connect with other women that I knew personally, yet had no idea they were having fertility issues. I still struggle with feeling sad, but prayer, counseling, and surrounding myself with positive people has changed my mindset for the better.
To anyone struggling with this I strongly encourage working through your emotions and connecting with others who know exactly what you are going through! It truly does make a difference. I know my BABIES are coming and I can’t wait to love on them!”
Do you know that:
7.4 million women between ages 15-44 in the US have difficulty reproducing.
6.1 million women suffer from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which is the most common cause of female infertility.
25 percent of couples have multiple factors that contribute to their infertility.
$12,400 is the average cost of a single cycle of IVF in the United States
40% of couples have a male partner who contributes to the cause of infertility.
Think twice before you starting asking women about why they don’t have children, there may be a major reason behind it.
Infertility doesn’t have a “look” and most women don't discuss their fertility issues for a number reasons. 98% of the women mentioned in this post are under 30 and all are/have battled something beyond their control that prevented them from becoming pregnant right away. Infertility is real and is not always due to “age”. If you are struggling with getting pregnant, consult your OBGYN to see what steps are best for you. Male infertility can also effect women not getting pregnant. It is important for your spouse or partner to undergo the necessary testing to rule out anything on his end.
To all my beautiful women who battle infertility… it is nothing to be ashamed of. Millions of women are going through the same struggle. Keep the faith. You are strong, you are amazing, you are WOMAN !
*Shoutout to my Collaborator: Brittany Santiago
Thanks Britt for helping me write this piece. Her blog and social media info are below:
Just Brittany Moments is all about beauty, fashion, food, healthy living, and everything NYC!
You can follow her @justbrittanymoments on Instagram!
*We are not medical doctors or professionals! See our references from which our information was gathered: