Gender & Identity, Life Stories, Life

A doctor said I couldn’t have children – but I found out he was actually wrong

I had the potential to become pregnant. What was I supposed to do with that?

Finding out that you’re unlikely to have children is different for everyone.

For me, there have been peaks and valleys of struggle that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I’d never been keen on the idea of having children in the first place. In middle school, I’d made it pretty clear that I had no interest. As the years passed, I softened on the concept. I considered adopting. Like many, my mind thought of parenthood occasionally, decided it was a question for another time, and let it be.

I didn’t think I needed to worry about it.

If I’m being completely honest, the news that I wouldn’t have to make the decision on my own was a blessing at the time. If nothing else, it solidified that passive involvement I seemed to have with the concept. If I ended up wanting to be a parent, I’d sort it out then.

It was a problem for an older, possibly wiser, future me.

So I never claimed to have the situation figured out. I’d be happy – filled with all the familial love I needed just from the people surrounding me. I’d take pride in being an older sister and giving my attention to the child that I already loved. But on the other side, I’d end up teary-eyed during talks with my partner about the future.

I was always wondering. If it were up to me now, would I make a different choice?

Of course, there was no way to know that. Or at least, that’s what I thought.

Years later, I sought a second opinion about my condition from another doctor. With new research and more education on the topic, she told me something I was actually afraid to hear: it wasn’t impossible. It could still be difficult, but it certainly wasn’t impossible.

I had the potential to become pregnant.

What was I supposed to do with that? I’d built a life around the belief that this wasn’t an issue for me. It wasn’t my responsibility to make the choice. But suddenly this glaring beam of scary expectation shone on me. This brand new information could be meant to change my life. I could reevaluate everything as an adult and really figure out if becoming a parent was right for me. I now had the ability to choose.

Everything was different now.

Except, it really wasn’t. I walked out of the appointment with a new perspective on the situation, sure. But who I am and how I felt about my future felt shockingly familiar. Did I suddenly have the urge to change my life plan? Not in the slightest.

I never even made it a point to really announce the news to anyone around me. It felt private. It felt like an affirmation that I hadn’t expected. Maybe knowing wouldn’t have made any difference at all.

I don’t bother speculating about what might have changed had I known earlier. I still would have focused on my goals. I still believe I would have put off the decision as long as I possibly could. Where I am now is a place I want to be.

Do I know yet whether I’d like to be a parent? Not really. But I’m happy to say that it still only crosses my mind on occasion.

I guess not that much has changed.

  • Shannon Aplin

    Shannon Aplin is an activist and an artist with a love for travel and pop culture. She holds a B.A. in Biological Anthropology and loves nothing more than listening to her abuela tell old stories. When she isn’t writing, you can find her composing music, daydreaming, and fighting the stigma against mental illness.