I'm a Military Blogger


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Deployment and Infertility

I was reading an article today about the correlation between depression and infertility.

"....Jealousy is probably the most painful, and more so because it's not really a socially acceptable emotion....There's also guilt for depriving spouses and parents of a child, loneliness and often loss of faith. Obsession is also a factor. [There are] many women who say they can't stop thinking about it, that it haunts them even while they're sleeping."

While I appreciate that someone recognizes the correlation, I was dismayed to find that no one has written anything about fertility and deployment. It's one thing to be depressed but be actively trying to concieve. But what about those women who can't do anything about it because their husbands are gone? I have a 0% chance of conception right now.

According to Kaiser, 80% of deployed men fear their deployment will affect their fertility later on, such as exposure to chemical agents, injury, or even death. In 2003 80 soon-to-be deployed servicemembers took the step of actually freezing and preserving sperm/eggs in case something should happen.

So why doesn't the military do anything about this? Why don't they educate their counselors, chaplains, and doctors about the mental health aspect of this? I'm sure I'm not the only spouse whos pregnancy planning was rudely interrupted. Yet the advice I'm being told is "oh just wait until he gets back."

I'm at a loss here. I can take my basal body temperature every single morning. I can pee on as many OPK's as I want, walk the fine balance between BMI and ovulation, take my prenatal vitamins religiously, and track my fertility every day of the week. But it's not going to make a difference. Pregnancy still requires sperm, and hard as I try I'm not going to conjure it up anytime soon.

In fact, it's the "pregnancy planning" that serves to make me more depressed. Every time I pee on an OPK and see the 2 little lines show up signalling ovulation, I write it on my calendar so that I can have a record, but my heart still sinks knowing there goes another one of my finite eggs, wasted on a month without a husband.

Then factor in the crappy communication. When he was here before, whenever I would get in one of my "no baby" funks, my husband was always there to cheer me up, make a joke, and most importantly to "try again" with. That's not the case now. When I get in my little "funks" I have to email him about it, wait a week or 2 for a response, and then cross my fingers that he's actually going to know what to say.

And what if something happens? What if he dies? What if he is injured? What if he sees things that he can't deal with and comes home different? All of those things are going to delay (if not completely terminate) baby-making hopes. And that's what I deal with on a daily basis.

And for the record...if ONE MORE PERSON tells me "it will happen when it happens" or some other ridiculous piece of useless advice ("just relax", "if it was meant to be, it will be", "embrace your baby-making energy", etc), I'm going to throw my fertility book at them. Unless you have some burning bit of knowledge or miracle infertility cure, just save it. I'd rather you say nothing than spout out some feel-good quote from the back of a fortune cookie (whew! Got THAT off my chest).

I've never felt so crazy/insane/depressed/angry in my life.

I turn 21 on Tuesday. Officially the age DH said I should be when we had our first kid.


Chantal said...

I understand your dismay. I'm quitting BC next month and will start charting then... but DH is deploying at the end of this month, so it seems sort of useless. I'll be able to gain knowledge of everything but won't be able to do anything about it. All I can hope for is R&R and then after he returns, a year later. Then I'm struck with the thought that what if something happens to him? We're ready to start a family but the military doesn't think so.

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. And i'm so sorry. Mr. GI Joe have been trying to get pregnant for 2 years now. Not including the year inbetween those 2 years that he was deployed and the year long deployment that he's on now. Its frusterating. :HUGS:

Gaile said...

awwww. I gotta say, though, I am surprised that you're not already knocked up with a little pencil-pushing red-tape monster, as much as you keep getting SCREWED by the big green weenie
I seriously hate putting life on hold for deployments, and wish there was some way to get that time BACK!

It's bad enough that we know our time with our husbands may be shorter than for civilian couples, but then to know that the little time we DO have with them has to be cut into (in HUGE chunks) for deployments - it just freaking SUCKS.

Sorry, I wanted to write something to cheer you up, but this is just depressing me now. I'm gonna go find some kleenex, and will see you this afternoon!

Erika said...

I wanted to offer (((Hugs))) and let you know you are not alone with these feelings. I should be about 6 months pregnant right now. My hubby and I got pregnant before he deployed - but miscarried shortly after he left. It's our 3rd miscarriage and I've always been able to grieve quickly and focus on the future. But now that he's gone and I can't focus on trying again - it's like my mind is stuck on repeat - going over my losses, wondering if it's something I did, wondering why, being jealous of all those I see with multiple kids or a big pregnant belly. That's supposed to be me!

My OB said they can finally start testing to find out why we keep miscarrying - but won't do it until my husband is home. So I can't do anything at all..... drives me nuts.

And to top it off - a friend of mine, who knows about my losses, said to me while we were at the zoo - "You're so lucky you only have 1 to chase around". ARGH!!!

I know I am very lucky to have the child I do have. I kiss her and hug her and thank God every day for letting her be in my life. That doesn't fill the void of wanting more and not understanding why you can't.

Anyway. Thank you for your post. It's good to know we're not alone with these feelings/thoughts - although I often wish I were because that would mean no one else had to suffer with the pains of wanting something so badly and having no control over getting it.

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Talk soon.