As I am getting to the end of my two months off I feel like I am sort of living a double life. Slowly, some ideas have settled into my mind that are hard to understand and accept. I have a confession to make. I have started to think that this is whole thing is crazy and I don’t actually want a baby. After all of the things I have tried to become a mother. After all of the invasive testing I have undergone to get me this far. I have started to fantasize about not getting pregnant. I start to wonder:
-When is it a good time to stop trying? When will it have been enough? At what point will everyone around us understand that enough is enough? That we have done all we can? When can I have my life back?
In another year?
Will I have to wait until menopause? When the possibility will slap closed like a door being slammed?!
How do we go on…?
And we have only been trying for two years! I don’t know how people keep at this for upwards of eight, ten, fifteen… at this point I don’t know how people keep at it for upwards of three, actually.
I begin to feel like a fraud. I am working so hard to conceive and yet I am starting to rebel against the very idea of success. The apathy that comes creeping up the stairs to settle next to you on the couch. The indifference. It is at this time when I start to question everything. My life. My worth. My very existence. I have felt really weird going to my fertility appointments. Discussing I.U.I. treatments and signing up for I.V.F. information seminars… it is like I am an imposter. All the while I am screaming inside: “Who even gives two shits about getting pregnant?!” “Why does this matter so much to me?!”
And I don’t really know. I can’t remember why this is important. I can’t remember why I’ve kept trying, month after month. It’s like I am stuck on repeat. I wonder if any of you have been here? Where your heart is so numb from the pain that you don’t even remember the pleasure you are chasing? If you haven’t yet, with time it may come. You may find yourself where I am now… not knowing why you continue… not knowing why this matters.
You won’t know… just like I don’t… and you’ll want to take more time. Time to figure your life out. A few more months of sanity before diving back in. In truth you may want to scream and run from the room. You will fight it tooth and nail because you now need to reevaluate your life.
You need to begin to see it from a new perspective, that of a woman who will have to try a lot harder to achieve the normal rhythms of family. It comes with a big commitment, of time and energy, and possibly money to consider. It is a lot to take in. Of COURSE, in this moment, you are unsure of your actual desire to have a child! This is hell! It will take a moment of reflection to discern if you want this ambiguous thing bad enough to walk through the flames! Do you really want children THAT much? Are you really willing to get burnt in the process?
You, and I, are wondering these things because, frankly, it is easier.
When you can convince yourself that you don’t even want kids it is easier to go about your day pain free. That way, looking at the smiling children running past you on the street doesn’t sear into your soul. Your heart doesn’t rip a new shred when your friends, and coworkers, and fucking everybody, announces their joyous pregnancy. Instead you are free to be pleased for them, with them. Not apart from the experiences of life. You get to rejoin the world and experience it in living colour! You’re not missing out on anything…You don’t even want children!
But, if we are being honest, and isn’t that what a confession is all about? You do want children. So do I. Badly. So badly that sometimes it is easier to say that I don’t. It’s a very effective coping mechanism. For a while I begin to really believe it. And maybe you do, too. For a while indifference settles next to us in our lives. We become numb to the pain of our loss and our failures. And we go through the motions of life.
But then I am asked to hold an infant while their mother pees at a party. Or I am grabbing something off of a high shelf for arms that are too short to reach. And, suddenly, the spell is broken. I remember…I want this. I want all of this! And I am completely besotted.
Besotted with these perfect miniatures. Their perfect cupids bow lips. Their inquisitive nature. When my guard is down, and no one is watching, I kiss their heads and snuffle their baby sent deep into my lungs. Memorizing the exact turn of a shy shoulder or the lilt to their tiny laugh. Ahh yes, I want this! And the pain comes then, too… but it is worth it! I slowly wake and remember that this is a part of me. I was foolish to try to ignore it. I am a mother. And I will continue waiting for my baby. Even though I am a burnt out infertile. Even though it would be easier to stop. Instead, I will hang on a wing and a prayer. What other choice do I have?