Content warning: This article contains discussions of a topic which some people may find distressing
To want something with all your heart and know that it will never be a guarantee is a difficult pain to battle with. Especially with a staggeringly scary statistic like 25-50%.
This is the reality for many women with endometriosis: the fear of never being able to carry a child of their own.
Endometriosis is when cells that are usually found in the womb, grow elsewhere in the body. These cells react in the same way as the ones in the womb, they break down each month and cause bleeding.
Except unlike the cells in the womb that cause a period, the blood has no way to escape. Which can cause inflammation, severe pain, and the formation of scar tissue.
1 in 10 women in the UK suffers from endometriosis. Meaning it affects around 1.5 million women, and still, the research and lack of professional knowledge are exceedingly absent.
Endometriosis is a life-changing condition, and with no cure on the horizon, the future seems a little bleak.
So irrespective of the fact that you have to cope with your body feeling out of control and the profound emotional strain that comes with feeling as though your body is broken, the physical toll on top of that is truly horrible.
You can’t even have sex without pain. I mean, what even is that? And not to mention the constant gaslighting from male doctors when you are pushing for support because they love to chalk things down to normal period pain and your ‘poor pain management’.
It is exhausting.
So, to not have the constant fear of the familiar ‘what if’ looming over your head: what if you’re 1 in 4 who miscarry, or 1 in 5 who have an ectopic pregnancy, or never get the chance at all? Egg freezing would have a huge impact on current and future mental wellbeing.
I always wanted kids.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be somebody’s mum. To bring life into the world and love them with all your heart. Learning and teaching, creating happy moments and moments where I want to tear my hair out. I am meant to do many successful things in my life, I know becoming a mum is one of them.
Or at least that’s what I thought.
Then I was told that my reproductive organs were distorted and here we are, with a 25-50% chance of being someone I was meant to be.
I know that there are many other ways to become a mum, and adoption is an incredible gift that I would be over the moon with. However,the feeling you get when you are first told that you might never carry a baby of your own, is incomprehensible.
A gaping hole appears in your chest like you lost something you never had. That feeling hits hard.
When a woman is undergoing chemotherapy, there is a 40% chance of infertility. Therefore, she is given the option to freeze her eggs on the NHS, and rightfully so.
But why is the same choice not given to endometriosis patients? Whose statistics for infertility are just as worrying and scary.
Freezing your eggs costs around £7000 each time – and like all pregnancies, there is no guarantee the first time around. So for women with endometriosis, sometimes, the cost of bringing life into the world is just too high.
Life should not come with a price tag.
If women are longing to be mum’s and an egg waiting to be frozen -everyone should have that choice. The ability to freeze your eggs, can’t continue to be a privilege. It needs to be a human right.
I spent a long time thinking and processing, being angry and hurt. Now I have come to terms with the fact that I may never carry a child but if the opportunity arose, where I had the chance to turn that dream into a reality, I would take it in a heartbeat.
So if you take anything from this piece of writing today, please let it be knowledge – because the awareness we have at the moment among young women aged 18-24, is alarmingly low. With 62% not knowing what it is and 67% who can’t name one symptom, we deserve better than this, our bodies deserve better than this.
We deserve awareness, we deserve to be informed and we deserve the right to decide our own futures – and for all of this to be possible we have to talk about it, research it and reach out if we think there’s a problem.
What’s most important to remember, is that you are definitely not alone. There are support groups and information platforms and there is always someone who wants to help and yes, it is incredibly scary, the answers might very well be painful and it may become a battle but it is a battle your body deserves you to fight.
Endometriosis UK is a fantastic website with lots of information on support and what to do if you think you need to get tested, they also have a community where women share their stories, which can be really helpful if you are feeling alone.
Got a minute to help?
There is currently a petition that needs 100,000 signatures in order for egg freezing for endometriosis patients to be considered for debate in parliament: this battle is life-changing for so many women.
Help us fight it!
Feature Image Credit: leafy.com