I have been suffering from a serious case of writer’s block. Not in the sense of that there are no words pouring from my brain, but in that there is so much swirling around that I haven’t been able to make sense of any of it.
Maybe that’s not entirely true. I suppose, more accurately, I’ve been avoiding writing down any and all of the nonsensical word tornado in my head. And when you actively, yet miserably, ignore the lime green elephant in the room, it’s hard to make sense of anything else.
I’m not making any sense.
This April, it will have been two years since we stopped the fertility process. Two years. Twenty-four months. One hundred four weeks. And it still hurts.
I’ve done a pretty good job of ignoring the hurt – until it gets so big that I just can’t – because, mostly I feel like I’ve met the allotted amount of time allowed for grieving. Because, when something sad or tragic happens, people around you will eventually get bored of listening. And if they aren’t bored, then the run out of things to say. And it has become so uncomfortable to talk about that I have gotten into the habit of dismissing it when it comes up in conversation.
But the truth is, it hurts. It hurt when my coworker had her baby, it her when another coworker got pregnant. It hurts every single time I see a pregnancy or birth announcement on social media. Right at this moment, my very best friend is pregnant with her third child. And while half of my heart is thrilled for her good news, the other half of my heart is selfishly breaking. When she called to tell me she was expecting, I cried true happy tears on the phone – and I waited all day until after Little K was in bed, to sit on the stairs and sob for myself. And I would never ever tell her that because she deserves my happiness for her joy. It is incredibly conflicting to be simultaneously overjoyed and heartbroken.
I keep saying that other pregnancies don’t have anything to do with me. Because they don’t. It’s not like anyone has gotten pregnant at me. And if I say out loud that their pregnancies makes me sad then there is a guilt from them that comes from my sadness that makes them feel they can’t be happy about their babies in front of me. And every mommy should be allowed to be happy about the life she is growing inside of her.
As I said, conflicting.
Racing through my brain are all of the things people have said to me about a second child – “Little K will be so lonely if you don’t have any more”, “ I hate only children”, “It’s about time to have another one, don’t you think”, “Don’t you feel like you gave up too early?” “Well at least you have one”, “Have you considered surrogacy?” “Why not adopt?”
Believe me, we’ve considered all of these – and running through all of the alternative methods over and over and over are not helpful to me at this point. The thing is, Little K is lonely. He asks on a weekly basis why he doesn’t have any siblings besides the dogs – and it breaks my heart to tell him over and over again that mommy has a broken tummy and can’t make any more babies. Also, I’m sorry you hate only children – I don’t feel all that fondly of you now. It would be a lovely time to have another one, thanks so much for the reminder. Yes we probably did give up too early on fertility, but when you are feeling legitimately suicidal from all of the hormones, it’s probably best to make some changes. You are right – I am so thankful for the child I have. But that doesn’t stop secondary infertility from hurting any less. Surrogacy would be tricky, because I would still have to use hormones to mature an egg to be fertilized and implanted into someone else. And if we went through all that trouble, I may as well carry.
Then there is adoption. I would love to adopt. If someone was handing out babies on a street corner, I would take one without question. But Mr. B isn’t open to it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not making him into a bad guy. But adoption is a huge decision, an expensive option, and an often stressful process. I firmly believe that both parties should be 100% on board with the choice before moving forward. It is not a decision to take lightly or to push someone into. If his heart isn’t in it then it’s not the right decision for us as a couple. I know that part of his reservation is protecting me (he knows how it would destroy me if we showed up at the hospital to be given our child and the birth mother changed her mind). And the rest of his hesitancy are all of the unknowns. I respect him enough to understand that, for the foreseeable future, adoption is off the table for us.
So then what? We’ve run out of options, but my heart still hurts. My heart aches for the baby we never had, it grieves for the loss of our second born that never was. I feel an emptiness that makes me feel something is missing from our family. I think about it every single day.
I am angry. Still, nearly two years later. I feel like I got cheated. I am angry at the shitty parents I see in the grocery store (the ones who aren’t even attempting to do the best they can). The rage boils and boils until I can’t keep it in any more.
And Mr. B gets the brunt of it, because I feel like I’ve met my quota of bitch sessions with my friends, and I try to avoid making expectant mothers feel guilty.
The biggest toll this has taken on me has been spiritually. My faith has taken a huge hit. I’ve stopped praying. I’ve lost my desire to attend church. I become cynical when people mention the word miracle. It’s not that I no longer believe in God or that I’ve abandoned my Christian faith. Because that belief is still buried somewhere deep inside of me. It’s more that I feel hardened and hollow.
I don’t understand why drug addicts and abusers can have a multitude of children, and I was lucky to have just one. I don’t understand why horrible awful things happen to children, when I know I could have kept them safe and protected. It has made me want to sit at God’s feet and tell Him exactly what I think of this plan He had for my life. Because, I’m pissed at Him. And I have enough Baptist left in me to know that’s not something I should admit – but it’s true. And when I get to the point of trying to turn it over in prayer, I snatch it back because I am not done being angry. I am not done being angry about having a desire to have more children (and the need to nurture to go along with it) but not the ability.
But I’ve seen what loss can do to people who have never let it go. I’ve seen what people become when they stay angry their entire lives. I don’t want to become that person.
I think Mr. B is maybe a little frustrated that he can’t fix the problem for me. That’s what he does, he fixes things. He is an engineer and his brain is wired to find solutions. He fixes things at work, and around the house, and on his dad’s ranch. He’s a fixer. So I’m sure it’s frustrating that he can’t help me by telling me to cheer up and that I’m pretty.
So I decided to begin seeing a therapist. Therapy isn’t something I’m a stranger to, as much of my adolescence was spent with counselors who tried their best to get me to eat (and congratulations to them, because I eat so much now). Therapy also isn’t something I’m ashamed of participating in, because sometimes we just need someone who was trained to help us better align our thinking, someone who can dig a little deeper and help us heal.
I had my first appointment earlier this week, and I think it’s going to be a really great thing for me. What made me feel better than I have for some time was when she said something that no one else has told me. She said that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to be angry and sad and jealous. It’s okay to feel those things for as long as I need to. And it’s okay to cry. And cry I did – I cried for a long time on the couch in her quaint little office with positive messages displayed on every wall. And it really was okay.
So I guess I’m on a path to acceptance – it’s really my only option. Being swallowed in negativity and sadness and anger is making me an edgy mother and a distant wife. And tense and detached is not the sort of person I want to be. I desire to be kind and loving and patient and forgiving and optimistic.
Thank you, as always (and not nearly often enough), for keeping me In Good Company.