Mind your own womb

The lovely people on the Facebook page for Endo What? shared this beautiful piece the other day. I just felt it would speak to so many people on here that I wanted to share it.

At the end I've added an extra part that reflects some of my own feelings and experience. It felt so good to get it all out, and it inspired me to write my first post as a part of this community.

I hope if anyone else has their own feelings and experiences that they would like to share, that reading this might inspire them to know they are not alone and that we are all hear to listen and share in each others struggles:

Somewhere there is a woman: 30, no children. People ask her, “Still no kids?” Her response varies from day to day, but it usually includes forced smiles and restraint.

“Nope, not yet,” she says with a chuckle, muffling her frustration.

“Well, don’t wait forever. That clock is ticking, ya know,” the sage says before departing, happy with herself for imparting such erudite wisdom. The sage leaves. The woman holds her smile. Alone, she cries…

Cries because she’s been pregnant 4 times and miscarried every one. Cries because she started trying for a baby on her wedding night, and that was 5 years ago. Cries because her husband has an ex-wife and she has given him children. Cries because she wants desperately to try in vitro but can’t even afford the deposit. Cries because she’s done in vitro (multiple rounds) and still has no children. Cries because her best friend wouldn’t be a surrogate. “It would be too weird,” she said. Cries because her medication prevents pregnancy. Cries because this issue causes friction in her marriage. Cries because the doctor said she’s fine, but deep inside she knows it’s her. Cries because her husband blames himself, and that guilt makes him a hard person to live with. Cries because all her sisters have children. Cries because one of her sisters didn’t even want children. Cries because her best friend is pregnant. Cries because she got invited to another baby shower. Cries because her mother keeps asking, “Girl, what are you waiting on?” Cries because her in-laws want to be grandparents. Cries because her neighbor has twins and treats them like shit. Cries because 16-year-olds get pregnant without trying. Cries because she’s an amazing aunt. Cries because she’s already picked out names. Cries because there’s an empty room in her house. Cries because there is an empty space in her body. Cries because she has so much to offer. Cries because he’d be a great dad. Cries because she’d be a great mother, but isn’t.

Somewhere else is another woman: 34, five children. People say to her, “Five? Good lord, I hope you’re done!” And then they laugh… because those types of comments are funny. The woman laughs too, but not in earnest. She changes the subject, as she always does, and gives the disrespect a pass. Just another day. Alone, she cries…

Cries because she’s pregnant with another and feels like she has to hide the joy. Cries because she always wanted a big family and doesn’t see why people seem so disturbed by it. Cries because she has no siblings and felt profoundly lonely as a child. Cries because her Granny had 12 and she’d love to be just like her. Cries because she couldn’t imagine life without her children, but people treat her like they’re a punishment. Cries because she doesn’t want to be pitied. Cries because people assume this isn’t what she wanted. Cries because they assume she’s just irresponsible. Cries because they believe she has no say. Cries because she feels misunderstood. Cries because she’s tired of defending her private choices. Cries because she and her husband are perfectly capable of supporting their family but that doesn’t seem to matter. Cries because she’s tired of the “funny” comments. Cries because she minds her own business. Cries because she wishes others would mind theirs. Cries because sometimes she doubts herself and wonders if she should have stopped two kids ago. Cries because others are quick to offer criticism and slow to offer help. Cries because she’s sick of the scrutiny. Cries because she’s not a side show. Cries because people are rude. Cries because so many people seem to have opinions on her private life. Cries because all she wants to do is live in peace.

Another woman: 40, one child. People say to her, “Only one? You never wanted any more?”

“I’m happy with my one,” she says calmly, a rehearsed response she’s given more times than she can count. Quite believable. No one would ever suspect that alone, she cries…

Cries because her one pregnancy was a miracle. Cries because her son still asks for a brother or sister. Cries because she always wanted at least three. Cries because her second pregnancy had to be terminated to save her life. Cries because her doctor says it would be “high-risk.” Cries because she’s struggling to care for the one she has. Cries because sometimes one feels like two. Cries because her husband won’t even entertain the thought of another. Cries because her husband died and she hasn’t found love again. Cries because her family thinks one is enough. Cries because she’s deep into her career and can’t step away. Cries because she feels selfish. Cries because she still hasn’t lost the weight from her from her first pregnancy. Cries because her postpartum depression was so intense. Cries because she can’t imagine going through that again. Cries because she has body issues and pregnancy only exacerbates it. Cries because she still battles bulimia. Cries because she had to have a hysterectomy. Cries because she wants another baby, but can’t have it.

These women are everywhere. They are our neighbors, our friends, our sisters, our co-workers, our cousins. They have no use for our advice or opinions. Their wombs are their own. Let’s respect that.

~Nadirah Angail

My small addition...

Another woman, 25, is asked if she wants to have children. She replies she's never really felt it was for her. "Oh you'll change your mind, just wait."

The woman smiles defeatedly and agrees "never say never I guess."

Alone she cries...

Cries because she's made to feel like

she's abnormal. Cries because she knows she won't change her mind and she's tired of people telling her they know better. Cries because she feels like her choice disappoints people. Cries because she might be depriving her partner of a child, even though he says he's fine with it. Cries because her parents want grandchildren. Cries because her in-laws want grandchildren. Cries because she's afraid she'll end up being left behind when all her friends have kids. Cries because people tell her not wanting children makes her selfish. Cries because she feels guilty for making a choice that other women don't have. Cries because not having that motherly urge makes her question her identity as a woman. Cries because she didn't think she had to make a choice yet, but she's found out it may never be an option, leaving her shocked and confused. Cries because a part of her was always unsure, but in the end her body made the choice for her.

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10 Replies

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  • Morning, thank you for sharing this. Coincidentally it was only yesterday my friend told me that she'd seen something on Facebook that made her stop and think and that I'd like to read. How true x

  • hi Lbella, so so very true, thank you for sharing this with us. It always astounds me how so many people think it's ok to comment and question other people's lives.

  • your addition is so perfect, thanks for sharing x

  • This is very strong. Thank you for sharing X

  • I've seen this too, but your addition is just perfect and I can identify with every line.

    Choosing not to have children is never a single decision, it's one you question over and over. I no longer have the option either and thats a difficult thing to get my head around.

    TDM xx

  • It just came flowing out of me, it seemed like the perfect way to get all the feelings I've been struggling with out.

    You're so right, it's not something that you decide one day and never look back on. I can't wrap my head around it either, my endo journey has made me question my feelings all over again. xxx

  • As someone who has never wanted children, or tried to have them (therefore I have no idea if my 'endo' would ever have impeded pregnancy) I am really very grateful that you added your perspective. I was beginning to feel really alone, and outsider-ish, as I read the first 3 stories

    I'm sure the range of opinion is actually far, far wider than we ever get to hear. I do realise childless women are in the minority - but then many of the women in the world still do not have autonomy (or the vote, or contraception ... ) and still have no choice about whether they marry and have children - or how many. So, I wish the voices of childless women were heard more - particularly those who 'choose' not to mother. It is a perspective we rarely hear.

    Most of my close women friends don't have children. Many - like myself - are in hetero couples, and most took the conscious decision not to have children. Only one friend wanted children, but decided against having a child on her own. There are so, so many different stories about why women do or don't have children, and I would love their stories to be told, so that the 'norm' could be widened, we could all understand different perspectives more, and no one would be made to feel odd, unusual, an 'outsider' or ... 'selfish'? I've never, ever, understood that.

    Thanks again.

  • I felt the same way. I felt deep empathy for the women in the 3 stories, but I felt like my story was missing.

    I find it almost impossible to talk to anyone about the way I feel. People are so quick to jump to their own conclusions about what my choice to not have children means about me; strange, sad, selfish, a child hater(?!?). But I'm trying to find the strength to speak up and not avoid their questions or lie to make them feel less awkward, because I shouldn't have to feel bad for being true to myself and following my own path.

    It would be sooo amazing to hear more stories from other women, there is so much that we don't know about, and we all have so much to share and teach each other.

    🎗💛 xxx

  • Thank you for sharing! This so sums up my own situation in so many places. I'm going to forward it to friends, hopefully it will get people thinking.

    Your own addition is also very touching, thanks again. Best wishes to you. 💐❤️

  • Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment. It's so wonderful to be able to connect with you all through this amazing community. 🎗💛

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