Finding Support When Wondering If You Can Have A Child
I was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 21, and I spent almost every day of the following 7 years wondering if I would be able to conceive or not. I knew from the moment I heard the word “endometriosis”, that having children was never going to be simple. But it became all-consuming.
My consultant at the time had given me two options regarding my endometriosis: have a baby or have a hysterectomy. Like either one was as simple as that! At this point, I didn’t feel old enough, nor was I in the right place in my life, to have a baby. But, I was desperate to know whether I could have children in the future. My consultant told me I should be able to, as long as everything stayed as it was post-surgery. Of course, we both knew that was never going to happen.
My endometriosis has always maintained its aggressive nature. Every surgery resulted in further findings. Endometriosis was always (and still is) here, there and everywhere. It has often felt like I am fighting a losing battle.
Of course, when you don’t actually want to try for a child yet, but you’re wondering if you can have one, well, there wasn't much support around for that stage. Doctors only seemed to be concerned with if I was trying. I was yet to find this worldwide endometriosis support network online. And I didn’t know anyone in “real life” who was in a similar position - and there is only so much you can speak about it with people who aren’t. I felt so alone, and, with that, a great depression sat heavy on my shoulders.
Finding your support
I would like you to know that you are not alone. No matter how isolated you feel.
Speak to your partners, family, and friends.
There are countless online support pathways you can take. Websites like Endometriosis.Net that have articles and forums, personal blogs, social networks with private groups and specific hashtags. There are plenty of people in similar positions via these means who are more than happy to offer help where they can. And, who might also be looking for some support too.
There are support groups up and running in various locations across the world. Visit your individual countries national charities for endometriosis. Here in the UK, Endometriosis UK not only offers up lots of information, but has details of support groups local to you and a volunteer run helpline.
You can also find support through various fertility networks and charities who also offer information, advice, and support groups.
I would also recommend speaking to a medical professional. Although you may feel they are only able to help those who are actively trying to conceive, they can refer you on to counseling services. And, further more, fertility clinics have their own counseling services too who may be able to give advice on referrals to their services.
It's hard not knowing, and constantly yearning for the answer. But there is always someone in the world who can offer support.
Do you know what your endometriosis phenotype is?