If You’re Waiting For Permission

On the dating profile where I met my now-boyfriend, I responded “maybe someday” to the kids question. I wasn’t one of those girls who carried around dolls as a child, feeding the imaginary baby and then putting it to bed. As I got older, I was terrified by the responsibility of carrying and caring for a tiny, fragile being that would be wholly dependent on me for survival. I would recoil at any reference to children. When I met my boyfriend at 24, that stage felt light years away.

The hands of the analog clock have since orbited their sun over 2,000 times. The clock is ticking. And I’m pretty sure it’s running fast.

Several weeks ago, I learned that I have few (if any) eggs left, due to an autoimmune attack on my reproductive system. I’ve since felt a small panic bubbling up. The more I suppress the buoyant emotions, the more forcefully they rise back to the surface. The decision I’ve diligently kept at arm’s-length for all these years may very well have slipped away from me.

I was just beginning to warm up to the idea of one day, possibly, starting a family. And then, poof! The magician name Life extends that elusive prize beyond my reach.

Last fall, I read Amanda Palmer’s best-selling memoir, The Art of Asking. I’ve watched her TED Talk by the same name and recently heard her speak on The Tim Ferriss Show about her miscarriage, deepest insecurities and most painful memories. It was so raw and so incredibly honest. While I expected to experience an overwhelming empathy, her opening up actually felt empowering. Talking is cathartic. Unloading our burdens gives us freedom. It felt like permission to do the same. 

I’ve been experiencing some increasingly concerning symptoms since the initial “your ovaries resemble those of a post-menopausal woman,” which led to my gynecologist calling me personally to follow up on my messages. Whether it’s premature ovarian failure, cervical cancer or my body playing a cruel joke on my mind, I feel afraid.

I’m experiencing sadness, guilt, anger, loneliness and, most poignantly, fear. And I feel like this isn’t something I’m allowed to talk about. It’s a personal problem and, as a 30-year-old woman who never particularly wanted kids to begin with, what right do I have to feel the way I feel and–god forbid–talk about the emotional roller coaster I’m riding at the moment?

If I take the cue from Amanda, I have every right to be open, honest and transparent. While it may ostracize and offend some, perhaps others will view it as an invitation to do the same. In my teens and early twenties, I was so overwhelmed with anxiety that it’s a wonder I got by as well as I did. What if someone had given me permission to delve deep into my personal sludge, rather than casually making small talk on the surface? Perhaps I would not have suffered the traumas of incessant rumination.

And I think back to the podcast episode, particular the anecdote in which Amanda is going through a devastating miscarriage alone in a hotel room on Christmas day. Right there, in the middle of a wide-reaching podcast, this brutally (and beautifully) honest being poured out all of her messy, embarrassing sludge for all the world to see. And I imagine most people did not judge, but instead looked on in awe. There was the permission I needed to talk about my real life. Perhaps this letter is the permission you need to talk about something real too.

17 thoughts on “If You’re Waiting For Permission

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  1. Being candid with issues is powerful and these conversations need to happen. My wife has dealt with endometriosis and was thankful for any stories she could find on the internet. Telling our stories about personal problem helps others who find them, then they don’t feel alone.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re absolutely right! Simply hitting publish on that article felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, and the empathetic responses felt like a big bear hug. Simply realizing we’re not alone makes everything challenge seem a little less daunting. I’m so happy you and your wife have been able to find those small pockets of others who understand, empathize and can offer support…I think, at our core, that’s really what all of us crave.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really tough topic and you’re brave to post this. As someone who has a toddler, she can be a handful and a lot of work. She makes me question my sanity. Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted kids (I’m an only child and hated it) but dating didn’t come easy to me which was half of my battle. I met my husband online too.

    Ik people who didn’t have kids and one lady in particular feels similar emotions as to what you are feeling: anger, guilt, resentment etc. however, she met her husband late in life and this was something beyond her control. Her husband never wanted kids. She has learned to accept life and is one of the most positive, upbeat people I know.

    I don’t want you to feel pressured into having kids if deep down, you are questioning things. Even with endometriosis, I would suggest listening to your heart and really thinking about whether you do want kids. If you decide that you do, there are stories of people who have been successful so I agree with the previous comment. Endometriosis/other health issues and whatnot does not define you as a person. Always follow your heart ❤️

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  3. There are many people who find life complete without children. It can be easy to decide not to decide and then nature decides for you. Don’t be discouraged by developing problems that make the choice for you or at least make it less likely. We all make choices along the way and some we wish we had done differently. Don’t regret those things. We chose our path with the knowledge we had at the time. Today’s knowledge is different. It may be that seeing the choice possibly removed has made you question the past. What has been done has been done. It is past. Live the choices you have today with acceptance and joy.

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  4. Science is proving that we can reverse damage and heal. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. It is a powerful step of healing. I have healed myself using food. Had it not been for a change in diet, I would be suffering right now.

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    1. Yes, it truly is astonishing how much the input (food, thoughts, etc.) affect the output (health, beliefs, etc.), so I’ll need to reassess those inputs. I recently saw a nutritionist who looked at my meal plan from the previous week and asked, “Why are you here?” 🤔 While I already eat healthfully, I do believe it’s an endless journey to find what works for each person as an individual. Thanks! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have had three miscarriages. And it’s been over six months since the last, and I feel like I’m supposed to be over it, that there isn’t space for me to still not be okay. But I’m not okay. The whole thing sucks, will always suck.

    Thank you for writing this post. I want to say something that will make your ovary situation better, but I know that’s not how it works. But I am thinking of you. Here is a heart –> ❤

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    1. I can’t even imagine the heaviness in your heart, but I hope you know–no matter what loved ones and online forums tell you–it’s okay to not be okay. Life is messy but, sometimes, I think the best remedy is simply talking. “I see you,” “I hear you” and “I’m thinking about you” are a decent salve, whatever the ailment. Sending a heart back at ya –> ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all, thank you for sharing your journey. I agree with everything you’ve said about speaking up and out about this issue, but really any issue. What you’ve mentioned is the reason I started writing (in all forms). Many times friends and family make us feel weird for expressing our feelings, so then we repress/suppress, whatever, not realizing the woman next to you has the exact same/similar thing going on in her life.

    Anywho, thanks again for writing about this. I’m sure it will help someone, including yourself.

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    1. It’s interesting that, even in this day and age where is seems everything is publicized, there are still these uncomfortable taboos that everyone seems to dance around despite the fact that many are common experiences. Thank you for your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

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