The Helper

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"My life isn't over"

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I am pregnant, in my third trimester, and I had a vaginal irritation that the doctor originally diagnosed as a yeast infection. Luckily, he followed up with a blood test that revealed that I have genital herpes. Because the antibodies are present, and my sexual activity has been very limited since I’ve been pregnant, the doctor has assured me that I contracted HSV-2 before I conceived and this means that I have passed along the antibodies to my baby. My primary concern was that I would be forced to have a c-section, but I now know that vaginal delivery is very possible as long as I don’t have an outbreak at the time of delivery. And if I have to have a c-section, so be it. At the end of it all, I just want a healthy baby.

I plan to tell my partner tomorrow. I wanted to fully educate myself so that I could remain calm and answer any of his questions. The thing is, since I was previously tested with negative results, and he has been my only sexual partner since my negative result, I’m sure that I have contracted it from him. It’s possible that he was unfaithful, but it’s also possible that he contracted it prior to our relationship and doesn’t know it. Either way, I don’t see the point in assigning blame- it’s not productive or positive. I’d rather that we just accept that this is something we both have to deal with. I don’t imagine that it will be easy for him to find out, but I’m sure that this is something that we can work through together. I can’t predict how he will react, but I do know that it would definitely be something that I would accept about someone I love and I would hope he feels the same. In fact, I wouldn’t want to be with someone who couldn’t deal with accepting me unconditionally and see me as a total and complete person with so many great qualities and so much to offer.

It seems that many people struggle with the stigma, and while I’m not prepared to tell the world, I also understand how common it is, that it’s a manageable skin irritation, and that my life isn’t over. It’s a condition that I refuse to let define me. Also, knowing that I have new motherhood to focus on gives me such hope and perspective that there are much worse things to live with.

The Helper followed up with the author to learn how the talk with her partner went. Her response: The talk with my partner went really well. I was nervous, and I really wanted to choose the best time when we both weren’t distracted. I actually just brought it up while we were on a walk, which made it very casual and low-pressure. He listened and asked a lot of the same questions I asked, but I felt really prepared to answer them all. It was such a relief to know that his first priority was also the baby’s health. All in all, it went very well. It’s great that we can both be honest with each other and in a weird way, it’s strengthened our trust to know that we can share unexpected, “bad” news with each other and still work through it.


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