So, as some of you may have guessed, my husband and I aren’t in Istanbul just for fun…
In short, I have some otherwise minor medical issues that are making reproduction a bit of a challenge. And treatments cost roughly 25% as much in Turkey as they do in the US.
I’ll post more details later about our specific situation. (The main problem seems to be endometriosis, if you’re curious.) For now I’ll just say that we’re doing well, hopeful for the future (we’ll become parents one way or another), and counting our many blessings in the meantime. (Is that enough clichés for one paragraph?)
I didn’t want to bring this up earlier for a few reasons. One, most people aren’t that familiar with Planet: Dealing with Reproductive Issues, and there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding it — many of which I used to have myself. I didn’t want to have to explain everything forty bazillion times, or feel rude when I didn’t feel like explaining.
It’s kind of like Palestine in that it’s not something you can explain in five minutes (or an hour) to someone who’s never been there. Yet countless people with no clue are eager to offer advice like, “Why don’t the Palestinians try nonviolent resistance? If only there was a Palestinian Gandhi!”
Likewise, I wasn’t looking forward to dodging well-meaning bromides like “Just relax!” or “Just adopt!” While relaxing is great and to be recommended in general, it unfortunately does not treat endometriosis (or most other medical conditions). And we may adopt, but that’s a very personal and immensely consequential decision — not something you “just” do. Plus it costs about $25,000. So. If you want to offer that advice AND give me $25,000 (or if you’ve actually adopted a child yourself), then I promise I’m all ears.
This isn’t a fast or simple process, and we’re trying to stay calm and centered during what mostly consists of a lot of waiting while doing research, staying healthy, taking supplements, and sometimes stabbing myself with needles — and of course enjoying beautiful Istanbul. Meaningful updates are relatively few and far between. So, just for the record here at the beginning: When we have news we wish to share, we’ll be sure to share it. 🙂
One thing that’s been really helpful over the past few months has been reading blogs by other couples who’ve gone through similar things. They get it, they have knowledge and wisdom (and humor) to share, and you feel less alone with doubts and questions and feelings you never imagined you’d have.
A few days ago I thought, well, I’m a writer. Maybe I have a little something to contribute, too, about an incredibly intense and surprisingly common human predicament that’s both ancient (Abraham and Sarah, anyone?) and, with all the latest technology, utterly new.
And then, if people ask me what’s going on, I can just send them a link!
(Yeah, writers can be kind of lazy and anti-social like that…)
So, over the course of two days, I spewed out ten blog posts’ worth of material that tells our story while breaking down misconceptions and generally sharing all the things I wish I could Vulcan mind-meld to anyone who asks. I’ll edit each post and upload a new one every few days.
It’s a surprisingly colorful and multi-faceted reality I find myself in. It’s caused me to think hard about things I had always taken for granted. It’s forced me to face deeply-held beliefs about myself and the world, to stir up dark murky layers that can be cleansed in the light of day, and to learn things about life experientially that you simply can’t learn — not really — any other way. I almost feel bad for people who reproduce so easily they barely even have to think about it.
Another reason I want to be open about this (other than being tired of answering evasively when people ask why we’re in Istanbul) is that this particular medical issue not only causes major disruptions in life plans, it can also come with a boatload of stigma, shame, and loneliness. I’m personally not ashamed that I have a medical condition. Would I be ashamed if I got cancer or broke my leg? Of course not.
And yet one reason I didn’t want to talk about this was because I was afraid people might feel shame or even pity on my behalf.
So please, don’t do that. 😉 I have a charmed life, a wonderful husband, overall excellent health, loving friends and family, and on top of all that, I will be a mom before too long, one way or another.
That’s not to say it doesn’t suck sometimes. Sometimes it really, really does suck.
And for many people, it would suck a lot less if some of the shame and stigma could be removed from an already tough situation. Hopefully by being open about this, I can do my little part to help that happen.
So here it is, the good and the bad, the truth of what’s happening in my life at the moment. I hope it’ll be a very short blog. But even if I’m knocked up in a couple of months followed by a boringly healthy pregnancy, I will always have gone through this particular part of my life, and I’m glad for the chance to document and share it.
If you’re going through something similar, I hope it helps you feel less alone. If you’re not, welcome to a human experience many people around you have had (roughly 10-15% of couples) and may or may not have ever talked about.
Here’s a preview of posts that are coming soon:
Lady Parts are Badass
Stigma, Shame, and Stereotypes: The Second Arrow
Our Story, in a Nutshell
Why This Sucks So Much — An Unpacking
Top Ten Things Not to Say to People Dealing with Reproductive Issues
Wait, Do I Really Want Kids?
On Donors, Adoption, and IVF
It’s the Wild Wild West Down There
Treatment in Turkey
The last post will finally discuss what we’re up to now. I felt like I needed nine posts’ worth of prelude before I could talk about it in an intelligible way.
And now, I’ll let Samuel L. Jackson sign off for me. (For the record, we’ve been ‘trying’ for two years.)
P.S. I just remembered another reason I initially didn’t want to talk about this: I don’t want people to feel weird about posting adorable pictures of their kids or sharing awesome news about their own growing families. The universe is not a zero sum game. Your gain is my gain. Plus I will be a parent sooner or later, and when I am, I fully expect Facebook to fawn over my kids just as much as I’ve fawned over yours!
So please, post and announce away, and don’t hesitate to invite me to baby showers or birthday parties. For some people, that’s really tough. For me, for whatever reason, it’s not.
Unless it’s Bristol Palin or any Duggar. I really don’t wanna hear about that… 😛