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Womanhood and Infertility

Women are taught from childhood that motherhood is central to their identity. They are bombarded with images, toys, and movies that depict the importance of their role as a mother.  Their ability to give birth is what distinguishes them from men. However, this does not include women who are unable to give birth.

How does this affect their self-image?I was born with Turner’s Syndrome. This essentially means that one of my sex chromosomes is missing. One of the side effects of this is ovarian failure. Of course, without proper ovary functioning, I cannot have children. Growing up, I remember I just wanted to feel normal. I wanted to feel like my peers who would discuss how many children they wanted and what their names would be. I wanted to be able to share “first period stories” and not feel left out whenever my friends would laugh about the first time they had it and how panicked they were.  

It took me many years to fully accept that this was just a part of who I was and I had to make peace with that. I’m happy with where I’m at in life and have learned not take people’s comments t heart. There were remarks made that made this difficult when I was younger. I would hear people say, “A woman’s purpose is to have children” or “the purpose of marriage is to have children.” It would make me question my worth as a woman. I would wonder if a man would ever be willing to accept someone into their lives who could not provide them with that.

I finally came to the realization that there is no concrete definition of what it means to be a woman. I hold the power to define what being a woman means to me. To me, being a woman means power. It means strength. I do not need to give birth to children to be powerful.

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