• Roop Bassra

The F Word

Updated: May 5, 2019



Fertility issues are not talked about enough. I was 32 when I learned that I would not be able to conceive naturally. I found this out the day I was hosting a New Years Eve party at my house for about 30 of our closest friends and family. It was a lot to process to say the least, pulling myself together to pretend like I was fine because who wants to hear that news at a party?


I started going through with fertility testing because the Endometriosis specialist in Vancouver recommended I try IVF before surgery; in retrospect, I'm not sure why this was the suggested route as I had stage 4 endo and adenomyosis and would most likely have had a failed IVF due to that. Anyways, while this testing was taking place, my condition became worse. I stopped working and was doing the bare minimum.


Getting sicker and getting older and knowing that I was not going to be a mom any time soon had a terrible effect on my mental health. I would sit there and feel like less of a woman; feel guilty and sad for not being able to do the “role” that I was born to do. I would hear comments about how I should have had kids sooner, or how I really needed to get pregnant to get rid of this problem, or how I wouldn’t know because I wasn’t a mom. All these things just made me feel worse about my situation.


Photography: Ishu Kler Photography

Hair & Makeup: Nalini Maharaj


After my 3rd surgery and knowing I had Adenomyosis, I knew that if I ever got pregnant by IVF, it would be high-risk and I would have to be closely monitored. As much as I had wanted kids, it was something that probably wasn’t going to happen for me. Of course I knew about surrogacy and adoption as well but I was also thinking about how sick I had been and unable to do much for myself, forget anyone else.


Sometimes I felt like lesser of a person but I knew I wasn’t and am not any less. Society has made us come to think that way and sadly, we are a part of that society. However, I want to be a part of changing that. Whether someone has one kid, 5 kids, or no kids either by choice or other problems, why should it bother you? If someone gets married or doesn’t get married, why does it worry others? Why are we always so concerned with other people's lives and what they should or shouldn't be doing? Sometimes what we think is right isn't what is right for the other person.


Part of the reason I think women don’t share their fertility journey is because it can be a hard, sad journey for some of us and difficult to open up about the times spent trying, getting pregnant, losing a baby, etc. The other reason I believe is for the fear of being judged for your decisions. I've lost count on my two hands how many times I have received a shocked response from OTHER women when I say I will not be having kids. Instead of sympathy or support, I receive responses that make me feel judged, like I'm selfish for not continuing to bring life onto this earth or something.


Photography: Ishu Kler Photography

Hair & Makeup: Nalini Maharaj


Because two of my patients chose to share their fertility story with me, I am able to share mine today. Before, when I would tell people that I probably wasn’t going to have kids, I would tear up a little and sometimes cry when alone. I knew it wasn’t in the cards for me physically but mentally I was still having a tough time. After talking to these two women, I realized it’s all about choices and mindset and that just changed it for me.


Through conversation, I learned both of these women had Endometriosis as well. Lets call patient #1, Karen. Karen had bleeding 3 out of 4 weeks of the month and of course the pain to go along with it. At a young age, she had a hysterectomy. After that she thought she was fine so her and her husband went on to adopt 2 boys. She told me she loved her boys but she did regret adopting and not because of anything to do with the kids but because she felt like a failure of a mother. Over the years, the Endo continued to cause problems with pain and fatigue and she missed their soccer games and concerts due to that. She wanted to be involved and there for them but couldn't; while they never blamed her of course, she blamed herself.


Patient #2, lets call her Susan, had a few surgeries that helped her manage the Endo but her and her husband chose not to have kids as she didn’t know what life would hold for her having this disease. She said it was one of the best decisions she made and laughed and said sometimes she feels sorry for her sister who has kids as she sees the stress and work involved. She said not having kids has given her time to focus on her and manage the Endo as best as she can while trying to enjoy life.


Photography: Ishu Kler Photography


Two different ladies, two different perspectives that helped me form my own. We are given choices in life and I could choose to make it my life priority to have a kid; no ifs, ands or buts. However, I know I’m not well and I needed to make a decision, one that would be for the best. I talked to my husband, as it's his life too and a very important discussion to have as it can end a relationship if each person has their own views. I explained how and why I came to this decision and I gave him some time to think about it and get his thoughts. True, he had married me but I know how life works, it's short and people want certain things. So I wanted him to be ok with this decision and know that fertility/infertility was no longer a concern or goal for both of us. After a few discussions, as this was something that can't be discussed in one sitting, we were both on the same page.


This decision is something I tell people not because I need advice, sympathy, or to be felt sorry for but because I want others to know that there is life without kids, there are other dreams and goals to be achieved and moments to be cherished. Some may not believe this, and of course, those who have kids can't imagine a life without them which I completely understand but I still consider myself lucky to have all that I do and I have that unconditional love too. My baby is a bit furry and 11 years later, I’m still picking up his poo, feeding and bathing him (and no, I’m not talking about my husband!). I may have to do all that but my dog provides me with more happiness than I could have ever imagined. Just thinking about him brings a smile to my face. He makes me laugh every single day with his goofy ways and makes me feel better with just one kiss.


Photography: Ishu Kler Photography

Hair & Makeup: Nalini Maharaj


What I am trying to say is, forget about the sequence of life, as there is no sequence except for the one you make. There is no right or wrong way to live, just as long as you are happy. Unfortunately, there will always be times of sadness but we need to realize that there is so much more to life and having this disease, has helped me discover that.


Roop Bassra, RN

BSc Psychology, BSc Nursing

@endointhe604

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Photography: Ishu Kler 

Hair & Makeup: Nalini Maharaj

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