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Getting off the Couch: A Memoir

Melissa is an avid writer and loves to share personal experiences, so others can learn and grow with her.


A Memoir: Shriveling

Getting closer to thirty can be a hard pill to swallow. But as your memories from your early twenties hold on for dear life and you look back at pictures of a skinnier you with thicker hair from less stress over a growing student debt; you wonder, “Is turning twenty-six really that bad?”

People are flourishing in their thirties! Some people are waiting until their thirties to start families. Some people don’t find their careers or get married until their thirties. People don’t seem to be in such a rush to wind down in their twenties anymore.

But what happens when you wake up from surgery and your parents (who never had the sex talk with you as a teen) sit down at the end of your bed and tell you what the doctor told them.

Your left ovary is compromised.

Getting pregnant can reverse Endometriosis.

Mother inserting joke about boyfriend impregnating me here.

Witnessing my father looking very awkward here.

“Oh,” I had said. “Okay.”

I left my bedroom and I moved to the couch in the living room when my boyfriend came home from work.

“Oh,” my boyfriend said when I told him everything my parents told me. “Okay.”

“I don’t want you ever feeling pressured or that I want a kid right now,” I said.

Boyfriend saying standard pleasantries here.

“There are many ways to have kids,” he said.

Six days later and I remained on the couch.

“Happy Birthday!” said everyone that day on Facebook. “Hope you have a great one!”

I ignored phone calls as I sat alone in my apartment. I couldn’t roll over without excruciating pain shooting through my collarbone. The gas they pumped me with for my laparoscopy was trying to escape my body. My lower abdomen hurt and even my friends making an effort to visit me that day didn’t stop me from crying for hours. I remained on the couch for two weeks.

College started that January and life carried on as normal. But every day, I had a pang of guilt inside me. Every day, I looked at my boyfriend and wondered why my body had to be defective. Every day, I witnessed my relationship crumbling. Every day, I was on the couch.

I made my boyfriend come to the Gynecologist for my one-month follow-up appointment. He played games on his phone in the waiting room. I tried not to cry. He remained silent during the appointment. I asked every question possible.

Springtime came quickly. Three months after the surgery and I wasn’t crying every time I saw parents with children. I was getting better. But only I was. My relationship had shrivelled into what I would expect a compromised ovary to look like.

It was covered in the scar tissue of our past wedding conversations and all the times prior that he suggested children in the future.

He left me that spring.

I laid on the couch for two weeks. I cried and asked myself why my body was too damaged for him to love anymore.

“His selfishness is too damaging for you to love him anymore,” a voice in my head said. “You don’t need to feel guilty anymore. You never did.”

I got off the couch and, in the end, I sold the damn thing. I don’t regret selling it, but I do regret all the time I spent laying on it feeling sorry for myself because of the chance I may not be able to give a child to someone who couldn’t help me off that couch for three months.

But he’s right.

There are many ways to have children.

© 2019 Melissa McDougall