Infertle vs Sterile

Once you cross the bridge into the world of infertility you can never go back. It is almost as if you are marked with the letters IF using a hot brand. Time may pass and the wound may begin to heal. The scar may even start to fade a little but it is always there.

There seems to be this idea out there that once you become a parent whether through medical intervention, adoption, or a miracle pregnancy that your IF memory becomes erased  and almost invalid. I have had people question why parts of my story still make me sad now that I have Abby. It is true that I may not think about it as much now or that the sting might not go so deep these days but the reality is the infertility is still a part of my life. It is a part of the journey that led me to Abby. It is a real and devastating loss that I am still grieving. It is a part of me. It has shaped me into the person I am today – both in good and bad ways.

As I laid in bed tonight with all my thoughts swirling about infertility, I laid my hand gently on my lower abdomen and had a realization. The scar upon which I rested my hand made me no longer infertile but sterile. And not two weeks ago but three years ago. I have shared the pain of signing the paperwork before my hysterectomy and have always known since then that i was sterile but never owned it. When people would ask about pregnancy (after all, it is a normal part of life for most women my age), I would make jokes like “only if the doctor accidentally left something behind” or “maybe I’m a starfish and regrow it.”

But tonight as I lay in the dark with my husband asleep next to me and Charlie snoring on the floor, I am owning the fact that I am sterile. No amount of perfect timing or medical invention would allow me to become pregnant and carry a child. As a 29 year old it is a hard pill to swallow especially in the light of my recent surgery. While I knew that a hysterectomy was not a cure for endo, I at least held onto hope that it would resolve most of my pain and I would not find myself in the OR due to endo again.

This last surgery has made me question whether or not a hysterectomy was a good call.

What if I had held out a little longer?

What if we had tried one more treatment?

Could I have gotten pregnant?

While we have pretty good solid hypothesis about the fate of my fertility with my case of Endometriosis, it is nothing but a guess. Educated, yes, but still a guess.

The reality is that I will honestly never know. The title of “sterile” comes with its questions as well as a sense of emptiness that even my immense and irreplaceable love for my daughter cannot fill. I still feel a part of me is missing and it is something that I find difficult to explain in words.

Note:  I would not trade my family for anything and would walk the same path 1000 times for Abby. This is just a loss in my story that is very real and one in which I am trying to grieve. I share this in order to be as real as possible about my experience with chronic illness and infertility.


I love hearing from you!

  1. After 13 years of infertility, getting pregnant 4 times, miscarrying 3 times, carrying 1 baby full-term (my pride and joy and MIRACLE Damaris), knowing that the chance I would get pregnant again was less than 1 percent, the realization for me came when after having a follow-up test about 6 months ago to my surgery last summer, my doctor sent me a message via the clinic message site that said (and I quote), “Christie (the first C. in C.C. stands for Christie), you are sterile”. WHOA!!!!! Talk about insensitivity! She knew my whole history and yet felt it appropriate to type those four words (and only those four words) to me. It was like a slap to the face. I am still struggling to get through this. Praying for you tonight and for complete healing for you! I would never wish anyone else to walk a mile in your or my shoes.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. We went through two years of Primary Infertility and now going on 2 years of Secondary Infertility. I have a miracle bio-daughter and a miracle adoptive son.
    Getting pregnant again is dangerous for me both physically and emotionally.
    I appreciate your candid post. Thanks.

  3. I didn’t face that decision for my endo, but I do know that there’s always a multitude of factors. You went for the CHANCE of pain-relief and NO ONE should ever judge that choice…only YOU could make it and it is something only other Pain Warriors can even BEGIN to understand.

    One GYN went on and on and on saying I should have a baby to “treat” my endo. I know it CAN help in some women but his insistence irked me. Since the marriage crumbled and I just wasn’t ready anyway, I’m glad I didn’t let him push me around. Plus, I wondered if it didn’t work how the doc would take me coming in and saying “Sorry, I still hurt and NOW I have a crying baby and am too tired and pain-y to care for it well.”

    I can’t imagine having to be in your shoes. But have confidence in your choices…you (and the Mr) made the choice that YOU needed given the hand life dealt. DO mourn the loss…it IS a loss…but try your darndest not to question yourself.

  4. I almost feel guilty replying to this post as I have three birth children and one adopted child; but all of them through VERY bad female problems. Less than one year after my last natural child was born my uterus was removed and I was told they were barely able to get the whole thing out as it was falling apart; also at the age of 29.

    Anyway, the reason I felt urged to reply was that I wholeheartedly agree with Cheryl. You do need to give yourself the time and the “room” to grieve this huge loss. And don’t let anyone ever let you think that having Abby should make up for the loss of something so very personal; as I said I have four children and all these years later I still feel the loss of my lady parts just because sometimes I feel “robbed” like I do with some of my other health issues. But you will get used to it over time just like you do with your fibro. It just becomes a part of you and one that makes you much stronger.

    And it is also why you are chosen to work with God. I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but many of us that suffer with chronic illnesses are those of us that are wanting to give back to our communities and friends and families the most… Sometimes it is a VERY hard path that we lead, but it is the most wonderful path I could have ever asked for.

    I just sent my oldest two sons off to college. One of them the adopted boy….and my heart literally broke to see them go. But on the other hand; after having lived with me they are the two most compassionate gentlemen I have ever met in my life, they will soar in life. You are on the right path Girl…It just sometimes sucks getting onto the right stepping stones.

    All my healing vibes,

  5. Pingback: Being Infertile in a Fertile Family | A New Kind of Normal | Get Pregnant Guide

  6. Hi
    As I am struggling with my uterus I am browsing through Internet most of my days searching for answers,for hope,for faith,anything .i came across ur blog… I read thru I feel a lump in my throat,lying in bed ,in pain.i feel the urge to reply back…asking what keeps you from losing your faith in god?

    • I have definitely had to wrestle quite a bit with my faith to get to the place where I am now. I was raised in a church where you don’t question God. Ever. So when I started getting sick and begin to face infertility, I found myself in a difficult place. I felt like if I questioned God and especially if I got angry with God, it meant that I didn’t have strong enough faith (or any faith at all). During the height of my struggle I was doing a chaplaincy internship at a busy hospital which thankfully gave me a great team of peers and supervisors to walk beside me and support me as I sought answers. I had to come to a place where I had to accept that I wouldn’t always understand and that I wouldn’t have all the answers. I learned that that is where true faith resides. There is a song by BarlowGirl called “I Believe In Love” that just spells it out better than I ever could. Personally, I don’t believe that God made me sick. I don’t believe that He looked down and said, “Jamee is going to suffer.” I believe that it is the exact opposite. I believe that He suffers alongside of me and cries with me. I think that sickness is just one of those things that exists in our broken world. I believe with all my heart that God is Healer and has the power to heal me. I really do. Now whether it happens today or never, I don’t have that answer and that’s tough. When it gets hard to trust because I don’t know the future, I can trust in God’s character and know that He is good and He is faithful and will never leave nor forsake me. That is what keeps me getting out of bed every morning and keeps me pressing on. If you ever need to chat, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

  7. As I lay here reading this portion of your blog I feel as if I’m reading my own diary. I too am 29 and I am scheduled to have a hysterectomy in less than 2 weeks. I am having a horrible time coming to terms with the fact that I will be sterile. The procedure itself is not giving me anxiety and the down time is not what I am concerned about either. It’s unfathomable to me to accept the fact that I will never again feel the kick of my unborn baby or hear a faint heartbeat again. Even though I have been fighting with endometriosis for 10 years and was lucky enough to have 1 child, whom I almost lost due to the disease, acceptance is hard for me. Do you have any advice for me? No one in my family or friends seem to understand the emotions I am going through right now. Thank you for your blog, and thank you for opening up so that complete strangers like me can take comfort that I am not alone. God bless.