Did you know that President John F. Kennedy had a rare hormonal disease called Addison's disease? In his case, it was an auto-immune disease that slowly destroyed his adrenal glands. In fact, in 1947, he almost died from it. Most people have never heard this since he vehemently denied it during his presidential election and his family did what they could to keep it under wraps. Although I'm sure part of the reason for their denials were just because he was running for president and wanted to seem strong (until the late forties there were not good treatments for it), there was actually another very, very big reason why they wanted it hidden. At that time, the major cause for addison's disease was actually tuberculosis. TB is fairly rare today thanks to modern antibiotics, but even then there was a lot of stigma associated with it. People like JFK didn't get TB. Drug addicts got TB. Poor, homeless people got TB. But not him. Because of the strong and negative association that people had with Addison's disease, he feared the stigma.
Lately, I've felt a little the same way with our ectopic. The overwhelmingly largest risk factors for ectopic pregnancy (apart from a prior ectopic) have to do with prior pelvic infection. As in STDs. Now, I know I have nothing to be ashamed of. The only risk factor I do have for ectopic pregnancy is actually my infertility. (Darn you again infertility!) But when I talk about the ectopic, especially mentioning it to other doctors or those in the medical fields, there is a little voice I hear that wants to defend myself. Actually, I haven't told very many of my colleagues about it at all. Mostly because I haven't necessarily wanted to talk about it all the time, but also (if I'm honest) because I don't want anyone to think that I spent my teenage years in wanton rebellion.
Ectopic pregnancy is not something I ever expected to deal with. I used to think that if I did all the right things - married a Godly person, waited until after marriage to have children, avoided drugs, debt, and divorce, that life would be easy and I'd never have to deal with _______ (insert struggle here that only sinful people should have to deal with). Which I know isn't true. There are numerous examples in the Bible which soundly disprove this line of thought: Job, Hannah, Mary, Jesus. To name a few. But knowing that reality and trusting that reality are two different things.
The root of the problem, of course, is that not only am I seeking to find my identity in having others think well of me, and know that I am a "good girl," but that I am also seeing these "good" actions as part of what makes me acceptable to God. The same voice that wants to defend myself to others when I talk about our ectopic pregnancy also wants to defend myself to God, instead of trusting only in the finished work of Christ.
The reality is that my heart is ugly, hard, and full of sin. And in desperate need of a Savior. I need to spend less time worrying about what other people think of me and more time remembering that.