I wish I could say that throughout the next 10 years I was an optimistic ray of sunshine facing adversity with a contagious grin and the courage of a hundred heroes.
But the truth is not a day went by that I didn’t end up in tears. Every day I mourned the loss of all the children that I’d never have. Every day I felt the shame of feeling like an absolute and complete mistake for not being able to do the one thing that society, and biology, seems to say is the most important thing a woman can do.
When I was 26, I finally received my official diagnosis: an ultrasound had revealed that I had premature ovaries, meaning they never fully developed.
I was traveling for work when the doctor called with the results of the test. I don’t remember much of the call itself, but I’ll never forget the feeling of heavy devastation afterward.
As I hung up the phone, time stood still, my fate once again sealed. Sometime later, my senses adjusted to the world around me and I returned to the conference room. Life needed to go on. So I threw myself into my career, went back to school for my MBA, and successfully transitioned from a career in public accounting to strategic marketing. The tears eventually stopped.
My romantic life was a disaster since I had no idea how or when to bring up the topic of my infertility. Talking about it on the first date in a confident take-me-for-who-I-am manner seemed like an automatic deal-breaker, and waiting to bring it up would result in a lot of unnecessary emotional investment. It’s no wonder that I wound up choosing noncommittal guys with whom this topic would never have the chance to be discussed.
At the same time, my friends were getting married and having children of their own. I constantly wrestled with my feelings of being happy for their beautiful growing families while feeling mostly judged and slightly defensive for my lack of the same.