Growing up in the Philippines, I know that the cultural pressure for a woman to marry and have children can be very intense. At 26 years old, I was already called a spinster in my village. I was questioned by family and strangers alike what my problem was. Why can’t I choose someone, anyone? Was I being too choosy? No, I said. I just haven’t met anyone who I think would be a suitable partner for me. Many of my relatives thought this was totally hogwash. I thought they should just leave me alone!
At 32, when I first moved to Canada, I met someone who I knew would be a suitable life partner for me. He thought I was a suitable life partner for him, too. So the Reader’s Digest version of the story is: we married and for a while my family and friends left alone. But not for long. After awhile, they started asking when we’re going to have a baby. All of these questions were honest and innocuous; but it came from a perspective that couples marry for the sole purpose of having children and that any couple can have children if and when they want to.
Reality is not that simple. Some couples (especially from Europe and North America) decide not to have children for practical, ethical or philosophical reasons. Like my hubby and I, some couples do want to have children but have infertility issues that make it harder for them to get pregnant without medical help. Endometriosis, PCOS, varicocele, and hormonal problems are just some of the many common causes of infertility[i].
If you haven’t heard much about infertility and some of its causes before, you’re not alone. Before I knew I had infertility issues, I was totally clueless about these things. I mean, I had life all planned out. I was going to have a baby after I do all the things in my check list. Simple enough. But I soon found out that life doesn’t work that way.