Little Blessings of a Bitter Curse by Rachel Babylon

I believe infertility is a blessing and a curse. Hearing this may widen eyes and raise eyebrows. Afterall, infertility is the taboo topic of the baby-making world. Oftentimes, when people hear the word infertility, they automatically become uncomfortable; they shut down, change the subject, look away, or assure the speaker (most likely the one with infertility) that they do not truly embody that word.

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) eleven years ago. I was young, naïve, and fifteen, and all I understood was that although PCOS was common and overall manageable, the biggest obstacle was the potential of infertility.

There were warning signs I hoped would resolve themselves: missed or late periods, cycles that lasted for over sixty days, and bleeding that wouldn’t stop until I was in the ER. When they didn’t, I fearfully waited for the confirmation; I had fertility issues due to anovulation.

My husband was aware of my diagnosis, the extra steps it might involve, the heartbreak it would inevitably cause, the uncertainties of the outcome in our journey. Yet, no one around us seems to accept it. They are horrified every time as if uttering the reality of our quiet battle will somehow make my infertility worse. Perhaps if we didn’t mention it, our struggle simply wouldn’t exist. That’s how curses work, right? Karma or God has spited me for bearing and verbalizing my infertility and made it so. I’ve cursed myself.

But, over these long, tiring past two years of trying to get pregnant, I’ve realized that I still have small yet significant blessings that those with children no longer possess. I can noisily stumble out of bed at midnight to indulge in fast-food cravings anytime I want. I can organize relaxing vacations without worrying about child care or family-friendly requirements. I can come home from a grueling day of work, and my duties are done. I can even nap without fear of a child demanding my attention. These tiny blessings are the little bits of joy I will cherish for now; though I hope one day they will be only memories.

So, while we strive for a miracle, I’ve devoted myself to another passion: writing. I focus on writing in between taking multiple shots in my stomach, having my blood drawn repeatedly, a wand or speculum shoved up between my legs, swallowing pill after pill, and sobbing over insurance, all for the sake of attempting to create a miniscule human atom.

            I’ve realized that without experiencing infertility, I wouldn’t be fortunate enough to tell others the labor of it. I would not be able to clutch the hands and hearts of other men and women who are silently and agonizingly going through the same fight. I believe if we do not speak of infertility, it will remain a raw burden that many of our brothers and sisters will suffer from in isolation, and they will not accept the hidden blessings that come with curses.

Rachel Babylon started as a student at HCC in 2013 and graduated with an Associate of English. In 2019, she earned her Bachelor of English through the University of Maryland Global Campus. After working at the Washington County Free Library for six years, Rachel came back to HCC this past January, as a Learning Support Specialist in Writing and Research at the LSC. She lives locally with her husband of almost four years, Connor, their two cats, Ember and Hazel, and their dog, Nova. Currently, Rachel is working on a YA fantasy novel, which she started in 2021 during National Novel Writing Month. When she isn’t writing or working, Rachel loves to take walks, play video games, listen to true crime podcasts, sing, doodle, organize and rearrange her home, and document her pets’ lives on their personal Instagram @emberthetortiecat.

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