I always say that I cannibalize my life just to provide content to this blog. However, there are certain topics that I try not to mention-just because it’s a part of my life that I am most sensitive about. So this post gets really personal. While I am not comfortable discussing this public, the seminar I attended earlier made me realize that this shouldn’t be lonely and painful battle.
The Hubs and I got married in 2008 when we were in our late 20s. In spite our happy go-lucky demeanor and often childish fascination to toys and to objects of our geekiness, we are both normal people who also wish to have children of our own. So we tried, and tried and tried…and tried again. Six years and eight months into marriage, we are still trying.
I probably heard it all: you are too stressed/fat/busy/childish/immature/broke to have a child. I have been told to slow down; silently judged for having a career and loving to travel and even pressured into procreating by “well-meaning” people because “your parents are not getting any younger.” The Hubs and I also endured seemingly-harmless jokes about our parts “not in working order”, of being “mahina shu-moot” (I know, the crass vulgarity is upsetting) and yes, the outright “wala ka yatang matris eh.”
It’s as if being childish is equivalent to being a freak. And me and the Hubs are the main event of the evening.
And so, in my case, I decided to ride it all out in a great combination of jokes and nonchalance. If you are one of the people who outright asked me, “BAKIT wala ka pang anak?” in a really patronizing manner while (in the same vein) quipping, “maiintindihan mo yan pag May anak ka na. Hindi ka pa kasi magulang eh” — I probably answered you a combination of the following:
- God has other plans pa
- God probably wants me to earn money and travel and be rich before I have kids
- Because I am child-proofing my toy collection pa
- And most spectacularly — yeah, in my mind – I probably told you to fuck off and mind your own freaking business.
I want you to know that in my mind, I am already calculating the risk of unfriending you on Facebook and in real life. Or I probably don’t wanna see you or talk to you again. Or sometimes, I am probably asking myself if you have managed to enrol yourself to a sensitivity seminar.
I wish I have an answer why i have yet to have my little one. You see, I was diagnosed as PCOS and probably already spent tens of thousands of pesos undergoing fertility treatments, taking medicines and supplements and being acquianted with the prophylactic-ed end of a TVU. I wish I can tell you that there are days when the sadness gets to me and I vent my feelings on (an old-fashioned) journal. I wish I can tell you that there are days when seeing baby bump and positive pregnancy tests can lead me to bouts of sadness. I wish I can tell you that I already have a little one at home waiting for me after work. But no, infertility is a lonely battle.
After all, we are all programed to believe that it is easy to reproduce. If it’s part of human nature, how hard can it be, right?
The seminar earlier, “Planting Seeds of Hope” an advocacy of Merck Serono in coordination with the Philippine Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (PSREI) and DOH gave me a fresh insight on infertility and the number of misconceptions about this is astounding. In fact, did you know that 1 out of 10 Filipino couples suffer from infertility? And that, sadly, infertility is always interpreted as the sole problem of the woman alone? In exact, if the couple seemed to have problems conceiving, people are always quick to judge that it’s the woman who has a problem?
The guests speakers are Dr. Anthony Marc B. Ancheta, FPOGS, FPSREI and is one of the country’s respected names in OB-gynecology; and Dr. Rudie Frederick B. Mendiola, FPOGS, FPSREI and the medical director of Kato Reproductive Biotech Center and current president of PSREI.
The doctors provided an in-depth look on the causes of infertility and the treatments available. They also answered questions and provided outlook on how infertility can be addressed. Perhaps, one of the things that stuck to me the most is when Dr. Ancheta said, “There are times when you have undergone all the treatments and is convinced you a physically ready, but still emotionally and psychologically unprepared, pregnancy will not happen.”
In the end, getting pregnant is a product of being physically, emotionally and psychologically prepared.
Being around people who is also fighting the same lonely battle as ours is also comforting in a weird way: we are not alone. It is also sobering to think that there are people with us who have been trying longer than us. With stories lonelier than what we have. And heartbreaks we can only imagine.
The program ended with planting of succulents which served as a bonding activities for the couples.
I left the event hopeful and inspired. In my mind, I am telling my future child that “mommy is ready — I’ll be glad to share with you my toys, my life and more.”
Disclosure: This is not a paid post or a press release. I signed up for the free seminar. However, I believe that the organizers and Merck are providing a lot of Filipino couples a renewed sense of purpose and “a hand to hold” so to speak. As I’ve said, infertility is a lonely battle and we need all the help we can get.
PS: This seminar and talk will have a second run on Saturday, 15 August. To sign up, please email Jinny Dolendo at firstname.lastname@example.org.