An Open Letter To Aunt Flo From A Woman Dealing With Infertility
Look, it’s no secret that you’re pretty widely hated. I don’t know any women who particularly enjoy “going with the Flo,” so to speak, on a monthly basis. You’re a major pain in the ass uterus and dealing with your shit is exhausting. Tampons remind me of tiny cotton dildos, pads make me feel like an overgrown infant, and those weird cup things? Well, I’ve not yet tried them, but they sound like some sort of weird talisman designed for vampire drinking parties.
Then there are the cramps, bloating, food cravings and mood swings.
Bloody hell (literally), you can be a real bitch. I’m pretty sure most women agree with me here.
But here’s the thing: For women like me—women who are dealing with infertility—your bitchiness reaches a whole new level. It goes from annoying to downright sadistic.
I want another baby. There, I said it. I wish that speaking it aloud would somehow lift the infertility curse I’ve fallen under, but unfortunately, it’s not that easy. If it were, I’d be shouting about my reproductive handicap from the rooftops, and then coming back down to make dinner for my family of six or more (probably just ramen noodles because we’d be broke, but I wouldn’t care).
I love the kids I have, and I know I’m beyond lucky that modern medicine has made their existence possible. I am truly blessed (yes, obnoxiously, hashtagged, #BLESSED) to have twin boys. They are miracles. They are my world, and I love them so much it seems almost impossible that there could be room in my heart for another child.
But there is. Sometimes, when I look at my boys and imagine the surprise on their faces as they press their hands against my swollen belly to feel a baby kick, or I picture them cradling a little sibling in their tiny toddler arms, I can feel it—a tiny void in my heart.
Yes, I want another baby. I want another baby so much it hurts. It literally hurts everywhere, from that nagging ache in my heart to the crippling cramps in my uterus. Which brings me back to you.
You know the cramps I’m talking about—the ones you bring every month, reminding me that I have—once again—failed to conceive. The ones that tell me my body can’t just do what it was designed to. The ones that hit me when you cause my uterus to contract, preparing to shed my embryo-less lining.
I hate you so much.
And it’s not just because of the cramps, or the mood swings, or having to mess with feminine hygiene products, or the fact that you make it hard to fit into my jeans without the tradeoff of knowing there’s a baby in my belly.
It’s also because of the fucking mind games you play with me.
Do your symptoms really have to mimic those of early pregnancy?
Every month—every damn month—it’s the same: I delude myself into thinking that you’re anything besides what you really are. I trick myself into believing that my PMS symptoms aren’t due to your impending arrival, but rather that of the little baby I so badly long for.
I tell myself the cramps are an embryo digging in.
The bloat is due to an onslaught of pregnancy hormones.
My aching boobs are just prepping to nurse a baby.
I want to stuff my face with chocolate because the baby wants chocolate.
And then, when you start rearing your ugly head, I tell myself the spotting is just implantation bleeding.
Hell, I even Google that shit. It happens. In 30 percent of pregnancies, it happens.
Every month, I torture myself before you arrive. I read about symptoms on forums: What to expect at 2 dpo, 3 dpo, and on and on.
I look up baby names.
I calculate my due date and think about a Christmas baby in a Santa hat, or an autumn baby with a painted pumpkin butt, or a spring baby in an Easter bonnet, or a summer baby drenched in SPF 1000.
I imagine how we’d announce our pregnancy: I’d put my twin boys in matching “Big Brother” shirts and have them dramatically shed their jackets at a family dinner.
It’s an ugly, masochistic, vicious cycle. And I’m so freaking tired of it.
Because as soon as I’ve convinced myself you’re not really coming, that I won’t be seeing you for at least 9 or 10 months, it happens. You come and bleed all over my baby parade, you big fat fucking party pooper.
So I’m writing you this hate letter. I know it probably makes me sound a little crazy. Maybe I am a little crazy (infertility can do that to you). I realize you’re a bodily function, not a person. You can’t read this.
But other women can. Other women who hate you. Other women who are having a hard time getting pregnant. Other women who need to direct their anger and frustration at someone—something—besides the people they love. (I can tell you from experience that that only makes things worse.)
So, on behalf of all of us:
Fuck off, bitch.
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