I was diagnosed with endometriosis in July 2020 after many years of wondering what was wrong. I’ve struggled with excruciating menstrual periods since I was a teenager, battling the kind of pain that medication can’t soothe. I’ve also spent the last eight years consulting numerous doctors because of my unexplained infertility. I didn’t realize that the two were related and that so many women are affected like I am. Because I’d been struggling and praying over my failure to have a child, it was a relief to finally have a possible explanation. But the relief quickly turned into anger.
I grabbed my phone to Google the terms the doctor tried to explain to me. One visit still stands out to me because I remember feeling so alone. It didn’t help that my husband was out of town for work. Getting such a diagnosis can be a double-edged sword: there’s relief to finally move forward, but it’s not easy. Receiving that diagnosis broke my heart. There’s nothing like knowing for certain that there’s something wrong with you.
Feeling Like Less of a Woman
The one thing that other women work hard to prevent every month is the one thing I yearned for more than anything in the world. I remember myself at 24 years old—a young bride, hopelessly in love, yet unprepared for the pain I would endure. I’ve always loved children, and I was looking forward to having a football team of children. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been so.
As a Christian African woman, I know full well that issues of sexuality, infertility, and female reproductive health are not well discussed. These topics are considered so taboo that you can’t just bring them up for discussion in families, communities, or churches. But we urgently need to talk and engage about such issues in open dialogue.
Individuals struggling with infertility and endometriosis usually suffer in silence. There aren’t always others willing to step into that place of pain just to hold a hand. As women going through infertility, we need friends who care and family members who don’t look down on us and blame us. I’m so grateful for the people God has placed in my life. I feel overwhelmed with love and support. Sadly, this can’t be said for everyone who suffers from endometriosis or infertility.
What Can You Do to Help?
God Loves and Cares About You
You may be at a point where you seriously doubt God’s love for you, but He surely cares and loves you deeply. He wants you to enjoy your life! Enjoy your marriage and don’t just endure it. Marriage is a beautiful institution that you should engage in with all your faculties and enjoy with intentionality. Infertility does affect couples negatively as emotions run very high during this time. As women, we want to talk and weep about how we’re feeling. Our husbands, on the other hand, may not be able to easily talk about the pain and hurt they go through. Learn and understand how to communicate as a couple, and be open to the journey, the joys, and the pains of what you may be feeling. Feel free to be vulnerable without letting your childlessness rob you of your joy.
You Are Enough
Guard Your Health
Coreen Madanha writes from the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
This article was adapted from https://echo.sid.adventist.org/embracing-my-journey-as-an-endo-warrior/.