Andrea Marquez, age 37

Lansing, Michigan – Albuquerque, New Mexico

I’ve wanted to be a mother my whole life. From the time I was much younger, I loved kids and parenthood was always on the list of things to do when I “grew up”. I always thought about what kind of parent I would be, what my children would be like. I’m 37 and met my husband and got married later than some but I didn’t think too hard on it until the day it was all that I thought about it. Infertility. The person who told me the potential diagnosis never actually said “infertility”, they just referred me to a specialist who later confirmed that fear a few weeks later. I learned that from Google, where I sat staring at that word on my glowing phone screen the morning after I came home from the doctor’s office. Infertility. I’ve spent about 5 months wrapping my head around that concept. Before this happened, I knew women who experienced infertility. I felt strongly that women should not be ashamed by this and should not suffer in silence because it was not their fault. But that IS what I’m doing right now: privately fixating on this problem, feeling guilty for what my body cannot do, and struggling with what to do in the wake of this news.

Infertility. I’m thinking about whether we should becoming parents through other routes. Three letters, I.V.F., and $20,000 seems to be a lot of risk for an uncertain outcome and adoption would likely catapult us into parenthood of an older child really fast (would we be ready for that?). My identity as a woman was wrapped up in my eventual role of mother and now I’m privately, painfully unraveling those two roles from each other. I can be a woman, a sister, an aunt, a wife, a daughter, without being a mother but I wonder if I would regret it decades from now.

My heart hurts with every pregnancy announcement, every sweet photo of a new baby, every happy family, knowing that might not be in my future. I am lucky to have a great partner in my husband who has been nothing but supportive and I know we would be happy together regardless of which path we take. But I am still stuck here in the private indecision of what to do in the wake of that word. Infertility.