The Fertility Struggles of a Rape Survivor

 

I left a highly successful career in finance at the end of 2019 due to serious health complications and an enormous amount of stress that would be difficult for anyone to deal with, let alone a disabled person who suffers from PTSD. I took that risk because I felt that I had something to look forward to, The Military Sexual Trauma Movement. I still had a purpose and a mission to pursue. 

 

Due to economic trends during the last half of 2019, many of the economic indicators began emerging that a Recession was very likely to happen within a year. I was trying to stay in finance through Q1 2020 to ensure my clients felt secure as the markets began conceding. Although I made Recession preparation a key part of my strategy with my clients’ finances, I still felt obligated to finish out that duty before taking the leap of faith into this new endeavor. 

 

In December 2019, I almost died from complications due to Sepsis and my organs began failing. The pain of feeling my body dying was excruciatingly painful. I was in so much pain that even with strong IV painkillers, I was having a conversation with this higher power within about letting my soul go, peacefully. I was at a point that if I didn’t survive this, well I’ve been a good warrior during my time. The physical pain was so strong and the hospital setting was so triggering that I kept having flashbacks to my miscarriage, laying in the hospital bed just wanting to die, which then flashed me back to being raped in the Marine Corps. and laying on that hospital bed wanting to die. That’s the thing about flashbacks, they compound over time and as the pain points compound the emotions become overwhelming. Now, think about combining severe emotional pain multiplied by severe physical pain. That is exactly what I was feeling in December 2019, It just seemed like my only viable option was to accept that it was my time to go and that I lived the best life I could. My sister, Kristen told our family this was the worst she had ever seen me. I texted my dad to tell him I’m not going to make it. I know he was thinking about the time I overdosed on drugs in an attempt to commit suicide. I remember feeling my organs failing and I just made the choice to fight. This time was different, I just felt tired of fighting. 

 

I have accomplished almost every dream I have had, despite any adversity that came my way. My life’s greatest failure would be that I didn’t become a mother. It was a paradox. I fought so hard through all of my struggles, I fought to work on myself, I fought to improve despite knowing I have a disability, all to work towards becoming a woman who is a healthy mother. I grew up with a very unhealthy relationship with my mother. I knew that if I ever had a daughter, it would because I would be able to build a solid bond and be there for her. I am laying in the VA hospital bed, dying and accepting that the one dream, I secretly wanted the most, just wasn’t going to manifest and it hurt but I was at peace with what the universe needed. 

 

When I made it out alive, I was pretty happy and grateful to have another chance. I resigned from my company and ended the 12-year run I had in finance, as I needed time to heal and manage my health as a top priority. My recovery plan was a year-long process that involved changing my entire life. I would eat at home, most days of the month and cook food based on an organic nutrition plan, go to the gym or outside to exercise and discuss fertility preservation with my doctors. It feels like it's that one shot, one opportunity type of deal where I have to look at my circumstances and decide do I try again? It feels so extremely vulnerable to even make that choice. 

 

The warrior goddess in me said, “Fuck it, let’s take this risk again, but this time we have to win!” I went to the VA and scheduled appointments with all of my doctors to make sure that I wasn’t taking any medications that would harm my fertility or potentially harm a baby. Then discussing what medications I needed to switch or come off of altogether. That’s when I got a call from my psychiatrist at the VA and she asked if I was planning on getting pregnant because she saw that I went to a few of the specialists at the VA and discussed my fertility. I told her, I’m planning for fertility preservation. She obviously knows my history with PTSD, pregnancy and miscarrying. That was when I opened up to her stating I think I need to stay on certain medications because when I cycle off of these medications, and my brain chemicals go haywire, that the stress chemicals are sending messages to my body to abort the baby. All of my blood panels have proven this. She understood this. Here I am in 2020 re-aligning my entire life to ensure I am healthy enough to become a mother. What solidified my confidence was when my psychiatrist said that all of my doctors will pool their resources together this time to make sure I am well prepared for this next phase in my life. That was when I knew that my history with the VA has helped them have a better understanding of the relationship between PTSD and fertility issues. 

 

At this point, I have ⅔ of the equation worked out, in my family building plan. My mental and physical health, and what I want for my future kids. The most important gift I can ever give my children would be the best father for them. I want my kids to know they are loved, valued and protected and when the world is harsh and it hurts that they have a safe place to call home. I want them to have a father who loves them so much, he can’t stop himself from showing them endless affection and love. I want my children to have a healthy father who creates a stable bond with them. A strong father who enjoys playing with them and getting a little dirty. I have that kind of father and he’s been such a positive influence in much of my life. 



What that means is that I have to jump back into dating, let’s be honest, the singles market is a cesspool of unhealthy people trying to figure shit out. I’ve never enjoyed the early dating phases, the conversations to see if there’s chemistry, respect, shared values, similar levels of intellect, vision, healthy boundaries, etc. It’s so much work weeding unhealthy men out. It is emotionally taxing. I often need breaks from dating. 

 

Once a healthy bond is established and a relationship is stable is the phase I most enjoy because during dating I have to establish that if this investment into this man is worth my time, and I need to ensure he has the capacity to meet certain standards. He has to have his life in order, has strong ethics, be ready for family building, he needs to look yummy, and most of all he has to love me as deep as the ocean and build a bond as unbreakable as steel while respecting me. If his future isn’t family-oriented, then his future isn’t with me. That means that while dating, I have to expel energy on men until their intention is clear and once it doesn’t orient with my future, I have to cut him off and move on. When it comes to dating, generally you’re not going to ask someone what their intentions are. You find out way more through someone’s actions and how they treat you, which means you have to maintain boundaries while also knowing where to be flexible. For someone with PTSD, that is a struggle, the closer you get to someone, the more they can harm you. Learning to ask for what I need to feel safe is a scary feeling in itself because I want to protect my inner child from any more damage. In the age of meeting people online, sliding into the DMs is how we tend to meet people and date in 2020. 

 

That doesn’t even factor into account, the endless amounts of messages my social media pages produce. Obviously, my aesthetics draw attention, although I do believe there are men who just direct message, every single woman ever for the sake of grasping at straws. I’m sure I get thrown somewhere in that bunch as well. 

 

At this point in my life I can not run with intense chemistry or passion and see where it takes me, because usually, those teenage hormones lead to trouble and poor decision making. The reality is that I don’t have time to waste, and that time isn’t on my side. Knowing these are the factors that run against me, I have to make my decisions wisely. I also have to identify a potential partner who can accept that I have a disability. It’s a huge part of my life. 

 

After miscarrying just under two years ago, I am happy I am here and I have the opportunity to take this risk again. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I feel extremely vulnerable; being at this place. I am potentially risking failure again while trying to remain positive and hopeful. I think that is the hardest part of this new point for me. I could be doing everything right this time and becoming a mom, might just not be my fate. At some point in my life, I may have to accept that. In the meantime, I’m going to remain hopeful, because there’s a unique kind of beauty in hope.