I am proud to share that I finally had my first therapy session. Another important step in my Endometriosis battle that I had been putting off, and putting off, for so many reasons. When the idea came up that I may need a hysterectomy, my nurse sister immediately encouraged me to start therapy to talk through what that loss would mean for me. And ways to cope with the finality of a hysterectomy, the emptiness that would be inside of me. So, I finally gathered enough courage to do research and began calling therapists with a focus on women’s reproductive health, infertility, and surgery trauma. It took a few different therapists to speak to because either their specialty did not quite match what I needed or they were not taking on new patients due to Covid. But then I found her- a therapist who started her practice to work with women only, on women’s health issues, who also was in network for my insurance.
Wow, was I nervous yesterday. I have never been the best in terms of expressing my feelings verbally. If you can guess, I have been writing down my feelings through poems or stories since I can remember. Do I have to lead the call? Do I have to keep the conversation going? What if there is not enough to talk about? So many thoughts, and negative thoughts mixed with excitement, were taking up the room in head. Taking a deep breath, I powered on my laptop and joined the virtual waiting room. And then it began!
The session went super quick as it was really a getting to know me session, my history, my life. I was surprised by how much I wanted to share, how the conversation was very free flowing and easy. The therapist attentively listened as I detailed all of my surgeries, including my misdiagnosed appendicitis, all of the doctors I had been to, our attempt at fertility treatment. She listened as I described the emotional toll fertility treatment and hormones do to my mind and body. When she asked what my goals were for therapy, I told her: to accept and understand that I have a chronic disease as well as to deal with the grief and loss of not being able to have a baby, a basic ability every woman should have, right?
My eyes are welling up with tears as I type this because I am so very lucky to have such amazing step-children and I would never want them to feel as if they were not enough to fill my bucket. To be their Mol-Mol is the greatest gift of my life. But it is hard to deny the nagging that I am a failure as a woman, as a wife, as a daughter, to not be able to grow life inside of me. I have imagined, on many occasions, what that little human would be like to be part me and part my husband. The most stubborn child in the world- absolutely- and tremendously loved because he or she finally arrived.
The therapist said something that stuck with me: You will always have grief over not being able to conceive. So know that grief will always be with you, but it will change as you change and as time goes on. I need to accept the grief and understand how it will be a part of me forever.
When I think about all of my Endosisters or anyone woman battling infertility, my heart aches for you all as it aches for my family. 30-50% of women with Endometriosis experience infertility, and it is the reason many women are finally diagnosed because they seek infertility treatment. Please know you are not alone, as lonely as it feels, as isolating as it feels. I understand the correlation to the emptiness in your womb to the emptiness deep inside your heart.
I look forward to working through these thoughts, these feelings, and understanding how to better cope so I can be the best step-mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, co-worker, friend, that I can be. So many amazing things in my life to be grateful for, I need to focus on what I have, not what I do not have.