Mom of 9 - Living with HSV-2 for 22 Years and Happy!
I caught HSV at the age of 19 -- I remember crying when the STD recording that I was listening to (after my diagnosis) informed me that a woman with HSV2 should not deliver any babies vaginally, but C-sections were necessary in order not to pass the virus onto her newborn.
All I wanted to be was a mom, and learning that I could infect my baby with HSV really tore me apart. That, and I was also thinking that I would never meet and fall in love with any man who would love me now that I had HSV. I called it "the curse" and I really believed I was cursed and doomed for a life without marriage and/or children.
I was sad and anxious all the time. I had about 10 outbreaks a year those first two or three years after my diagnosis. It seemed as if just as one was finished healing, another would start up. Back then, we didn't have the internet, so I didn't have access to much information or support groups. And I told no one - not friends, not family.
I still dated, just no sex. I tried to convince myself that in this world where people were dying of HIV, I was one of the "lucky" ones who dodged THAT bullet...and at least HSV wasn't fatal, and that having it prevented me from getting HIV since NOT having sex will do that! LOL Yeah, I tried to convince myself of that to make myself feel better. Didn't work.
Finally, at the age of 21, I found the courage to tell a boyfriend who I really, really liked all about "the curse" -- I cried when I told him. He didn't make a big deal about it at all, and we dated for a year after that. I had very few outbreaks that year - what a cool benefit of not having that stress on my mind!
About a year later, I met my future husband. I told him about my HSV on our third date. He thanked me for telling him and he later told me that he was very impressed with my confidence and
straight forward way of informing him early on in our relationship (when we were in the getting-to-know-you stage) and he said that it was one of the reasons he chose me as his wife (because I was an honest person, he says)
Anyway, we have been married now for almost 21 years. We have nine children together! I delivered them all vaginally. I've learned so much about HSV over the years. It's not something I "like" having - of course not! But it isn't as bad as I first believed it to be. It's not a "curse" but rather an inconvenience at times.
I barely have one outbreak a year now, and it's been this way for many years. It seems to have gotten much better as I have gotten older. Plus, I stress much less about it now, which helps a lot. I will say that the worst part of it for ME is the worry of passing it on to my babies via the birthing process. But I've learned that the risk of that (for someone like me, with a prior history of HSV) is less than 5%.
For mothers who do not know they have HSV, the risk is higher. And for those who catch HSV later in their pregnancy, the risk is around 50%.
My advice to anyone who is newly diagnosed with HSV2: You are NOT doomed to a life of being single! You WILL find someone who will accept this about you!
In this day and age, it's very rare to find someone who does not have some kind of STD history. Sad, but it's true. So do not think that you are alone. You are not! And if you give it a chance, love will find you. You HAVE to be honest about your HSV. You just have to. I know it's very hard, and its scary telling people, but you have to.
Everyone who might be intimate with you deserves to know. Those who "leave" you for it...well, they aren't keepers, anyway. Think of it as a sort of "weeding out" process, lol.
Anyway, I hope my story helps someone. Thanks for letting me share it :)