Why am I irrationally afraid of infertility?
It happened to Frida Kahlo, so who says it can't happen to me? What am I talking about? I'm talking about infertility, as in the inability to have a baby. You see, poor Frida (who just so happens to be one of my favorite artists of all time) was never able to have children. She used the pain this caused in her life and the void in her soul as fuel for some of the most evocative and painful self-portraits the world has ever seen.
Apparently, I'm not the only one haunted by Kahlo's pain. A doctor recently examined Frida's old medical records to try to determine why she was never able to have children and concluded that scar tissue from the horrific bus accident Frida suffered as a teenager had left her uterus inhospitable for a little one.Why is this relevant to me? I'm not sure it is, but I do know one thing--I am TERRIFIED of being infertile.
There isn't really a logical explanation for my fear. My mother never had fertility issues though both my sister and my grandmother had difficulties. There is no indication that anything is wrong with me, and I go to the doctor like three times a year because I'm a general hypochondriac. But reports like the one that recently ran in USA Today about infertility rates among woman 35 years and younger do NOT help.
It's like a lose-lose situation here. You want to wait until you're economically stable enough and established in your career to have kids, but you also want to be sure that you are healthy and have enough energy--which means, basically, that we're sort of stuck. IT'S SO CONFUSING! Chew on this random stat:
The latest federal data from 2006-08 suggest that among childless married women ages 15-29, 15% report fertility problems; for ages 30-34, it's 14%.
Ok, so basically, I guess there is sort of some rational behind my totally unfounded fertility fears. The weird thing about is that I'd think that being so paranoid about this would make me rush out to try to get pregnant, but I'm still willing to wait--especially if all this fertility info is really just a crap shoot, which honestly seems to be the case.
I'm not super religious, but it gets to the point where you just have to leave it in God's hands and say, "If it's meant to be, it will be." It's like when you are actually pregnant and all these advice books says "don't do this, do that" and contradict each other. Really, every woman has to do what is right for herself and her family in the end.
Anyhow, Frida's health issues and her inability to have children wound up affecting every aspect of her life and were the fuel behind some of her most emotionally charged work, like the one above, which is a self portrait of the artist at Henry Ford hospital after one of her miscarriages. I'm glad that someone out there cared enough about her legacy to get to the bottom of one of the great artist's most profound regrets, and when my time comes, I hope to never have to handle the kind of pain Frida did again and again.
Have you ever had irrational fears about your fertility?
Henry Ford Hospital, 1932 image via fridakahlofans.com