by Katie Steedly Curling, PhD, Writer & Guest Blogger for TSF
The Topic of Infertility
Infertility is definitely not a typical holiday topic, but it is a quiet discussion that whispers around the corners of my holidays: at family gatherings, in annual Christmas cards, on Christmas morning. Reminders are everywhere. These are the times when my path, that has not included giving birth to my own children, hurts with the pain of wondering, “what if?”
Infertility and TS
As a woman living with TS, I have known for many years giving birth to my own children would be difficult, if not impossible. When I was diagnosed at 15 I remember the endocrinologist saying, “by the time this is an issue for you, who knows what we will be able to do.” I was not comforted by that statement. In fact, that idea further separated me from what is considered normal and became a huge question that has framed decisions in my life.
Infertility looks different for each woman and girl living with TS. Each TS diagnosis is unique and describes a different situation. Not to get too technical, but different chromosomal make-ups mean different physical expression and therefore different treatments. Hope lives in the nooks and crannies of diagnoses and/or technology.
The Choice of Children
Having children is a choice for most. But, particularly right after my diagnosis, it felt like that choice had been taken from me. I would never get to decide baby names or feel rough elbows protrude from inside my belly. I would never get to take first day of school pictures or plan birthday parties or watch my kids pursue their passions. My definition of motherhood – of what it means to mother – has had to expand. It has grown to include the concept of aunt and stepmother, and the responsibility we have to all children. It now includes the perspective that we must care for and tend to our world. In that way, infertility has not left me out. It has asked me to see the world differently.
Infertility During the Holidays
As I experience another holiday season, loving my traditions both old and new, I am thankful. I am thankful for the young people in my life. I am thankful for the opportunity to care and tend and love. I am thankful for the peace I have about my capacity to love. I am thankful for the ways in which I mother every day.
As Katie mentioned, infertility is not limited to those who have Turner Syndrome, but it is one of the most common threads among those affected. It is a hurdle to overcome, yet there are so many other ways to start a family and find love in life. Our website contains information to help you understand your reproductive health and find a path to start a family.