What I wish I had said

Not long ago, although before I had my baby, we had a substitute at our school who I wish I could have put in her place.

I work in a school that is nearly all women.  We have had nearly every female medical problem you can name.  At one point we had 4 women of childbearing years wishing to be pregnant.  Three had about a dozen miscarriages and 3 babies between them.  And 1 (um…me) couldn’t do the thing you have to do in order to get pregnant.  It had been a very traumatic few years for my three friends and a stressful time for me as well.  Our coworkers knew some of what was going on, although not a lot of details about my condition.  People were very sensitive to what was going on.

One day we had a substitute who had never been to our school before.  She didn’t know anyone at the school.  She was eating lunch at the same time as 2 of the women who had had multiple (3-5 each) miscarriages in the past couple years.  Both yearned to have children and had serious complications several times.  She looks at the younger of the two, sitting next to her, and says, “Do you have any kids?”  And when the answer was negative the substitute starts lecturing her about how she shouldn’t wait to have kids and how great they are.  Both of my friends just sat there not knowing what to say but getting more and more upset by the minute.  I wish I had been there, because I would have said,

I am so happy for you that you have had such a perfect healthy life.  You must be so blessed.  Although you have clearly missed a few lessons in manners over the years.

Do you know what it is like to be unable to be intimate with your husband?  Have you heard of vulvodynia?  Have you ever had stabbing excruciating pain when touched in your most sensitive of area?  I have been on several antidepressants – each with their own really fun side effects, been through physical therapy and biofeedback – $3000 out of my own pocket, shots in my “down there”, therapy, breakdowns, and extreme pain.    And yet after 6 years of marriage (and 8 years since diagnosis) I am still struggling every day.

What a blessing it must have been for you to get, and stay, pregnant so easily.  Do you know that up to 40% of conceptions end in miscarriage?  However, after one miscarriage your chances of having another are only 25%.  On the other hand, 1% of women have what they call recurrent miscarriages which is 3 or more in a row.  Do you know how many women in this room have suffered miscarriages?  No, you don’t, because you just shot your mouth off without considering that you don’t know anyone here.  1% in the world is actually 10% here at our school.  So the next time you decide to lecture someone about their life choices maybe you should consider not everything in life is a choice.

The upside is two of us have each had a boy, one had 2 girls, and one adopted a preschooler from Haiti.  And as far as I know, that sub never came back.

2 thoughts on “What I wish I had said

  1. Ooh, ooh! I have vulvodynia. So do one of my sisters and my mom. My mom suffered for 8 years not knowing what it was and it finally improved on its own. I suffered for 5, still not knowing what it was since my mom didn’t know the name of it, and mine finally improved on its own. My youngest sister is dealing with it now and since I had finally learned about it, I told her and she’s getting medical help, though I don’t know how much it’s helping.

    ANYWAY, just a big ol’ me too!

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