What It's Like To Be Infertile

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The waiting room is stark and pedestrian in appearance. Outdated magazines about pregnancy and kids are scattered on the table. In the background, tiny hands play with blocks next to their mothers' shoes. The Young and the Restless sounds softly in the background.

It's my annual gynecological visit, time to refill my birth control prescription. The news, I know, will be nothing new: I suffer from a condition known Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. That means that in order to have a menstrual cycle, I have take birth control pills. My reproductive organs are working, but my brain is not able to send the right signals to kick them into gear. Endocrinologists tell me that fertility treatment is the only viable option for me should I want to conceive a child. I will not be able to have biological children without the assistance of IVF.

Women with huge pregnant tummies waddle past me on the street. I long for my own cream colored stroller to push and a small being to belong to me. I hold back tears. Sometimes, I don't.

Unfortunately, in the state where I live, there is not an insurance mandate to cover the expenses and I can't afford to pay the costs out of pocket.

I must give off infertile vibes, because almost no one asks when I'm going to reproduce. But once, at a birthday party for one of my in-laws, my husband's great aunt asked when we were going to have a baby. I smiled and said, "We love children, but we're not sure if it is in the cards." The great aunt looked confused and politely smiled. I was relieved that she didn't ask me why.

Sometimes, the depression of not being able to reproduce hits my hard. Sometimes, it hits me at Target.

My husband gently takes me by the arm and leads me away from baby aisle. He says, "Honey, don't do that to yourself." He knows the dreamy stare and yearning look I get when I see a newborn outfit or a soft receiving blanket. When I look at packages of pacifiers, I envision a tiny infant with a binky making a Maggie Simpson-type of sound.

At times, I resent my husband for not being able to pay for the fertility treatments. He has two biological children from a previous marriage, but I know it pains him that we can't create life together. We have decided to wait and see if our financial situation improves.

Last week, a friend brought her adorable baby into the office. I held the soft-skinned stranger in my arms. A small gurgle came from the sweet infant. Often-suffocated feelings suddenly come to the fore again. My heart ached for my own baby to cradle.

Sometimes, I feel as though I'm missing out on an essential part of the experience of being a woman. In these moments, it seems that even experiencing what it feels like to have a small being growing inside me would make me content. I would give so much just to have morning sickness or feel a flutter-like sensation of a kick from the womb. But this unique body won't let me.

Women with huge pregnant tummies waddle past me on the street. I long for my own cream colored stroller to push and a small being to belong to me. I hold back tears. Sometimes, I don't.

The rational part of my brain reminds me that children are not all roses and sunshine. A normal day at the park can be chaotic. Kids scream and throw fits in public. Mothers and fathers yell at the offspring to knock it off.

On a blanket last weekend, my husband and I snuggled while drinking tea and chilled wine with my stepson. The brisk autumn air smelled of apples, hot popcorn, and dried leaves. The mood was interrupted by a random wail and pouting of a baby nearby.

Perhaps, one day, our insurance or financial situation will change. But for now, I'm left with only the fantasy that I'll have a baby of my own one day. My mind creates a vignette of having a doctor tell me I'm expecting. Oddly, this image cheers me up. The dream is still alive, even if it is slightly out of reach. It is high enough to not be able to grab it, like chubby little hands grabbing for their mama.