“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemingway
today is not a good day…actually the last few weeks have not been too good. i try to maintain a persona that, yes i have bad moments, but that i am completely ok with everything that has happened and everything that is going on. i have been hesitant to write anything negative in a while dealing with the adoption or infertility because the fear that i have that my words will be misconstrued or used against me somehow. when i have my “poor me” and “bitterness” episodes i fear that people (i don’t have a specific person i am looking at – but rather just people in general) will take what i am saying out of context. that they will say i will be a terrible mom if we are ever placed because I still have insecurities about the hand that was dealt to me. i fear that someone will take what i am saying and make generalizations that i am unhappy and bitter towards all people who have biological children. i fear that my words will be mixed up and used to imply that deep down i always feel this way. i fear that people will look at me and say i deserve everything that has happened. i fear that people will look at me and say it is all my fault. i fear i will be considered selfish (again). i fear that i will become one of “those people” that people won’t feel it is genuine when i have positive things to say about our situation or about theirs. i fear that people will be nervous around me so that they don’t “upset” me or will constantly be worried that they will make me mad. i worry that people will walk on egg shells around me just in case i am having a bad day and that they won’t share things about their kids/pregnancies/etc. i fear that one day my child could use my words and thoughts against me and question my love. but mostly, i fear that my thoughts make me a horrible monster.
early on when we were dating we dreamed of being married and having a family. we had no reason to suspect that when we were married that it would be difficult to have kids so we dreamed of the days that were to come and the excitement and adventure of the milestones that we would get to experience. after we got married i was living out my fairy tale and day dreaming of the possibilities, waiting on the moment that we decided the time was right. when the timing was right i was elated at the possibilities (and my day dreams got bigger and my hopes soared). after several months when panic was starting to set in it wasn’t so fun. it wasn’t until then that i realized how much hope i had in those milestones. how much i wished that they would come true. how my daydreams had pretty much ruined me and finally how my world came crashing down all around me.
after the months of treatments and the time after where we talked about what we wanted to do next, part of me didn’t want to admit anything about the treatments or about the adoption because i felt like i was giving up on my dreams – on what i always wanted. i was acknowledging that i would miss those milestones and that i lost faith in me and i was giving up on myself.
in my devastation that i wouldn’t be able to expand my family in the way i planned, those milestones flowed through my head like racing hot lava. a list, constantly growing, formed and circulated around in my thoughts causing my heart to break a little more with each bullet point – when i didn’t even know it could hurt any more.
i will pause from my pity party to emphasize that we HAVE gained from this experience, but there are times when it is difficult to see the positive and to not dwell on the negative. this is one of those times.
let me be dramatic. each mother’s day i feel like a little bit of my soul dies. i feel like my heart is being shredded from the inside out and the bile rises up and the taste lingers in the back of my throat. it isn’t that i am not thankful for my mom and all of the women who have been wonderful influences in my life. it isn’t that i don’t think about all of my friends and family who are mothers or are about to be mothers, because i do. i give thanks for them and for their children and pray they know how blessed they all are to have each other. it is the day that constantly reminds me of what i am not able to do. that i have to rely on someone else to pick me to make my dreams come true. the reality is that someone has to pick me out of a lineup and read my profile book like they are buying a car and i hope that they do it quickly so we can be done waiting. it reinstates those negative feelings i have about myself. i expressed those thoughts with someone and was asked, “don’t you think that will change once you are placed?” my answer is simple. it will change but not in the way one would think. if that day ever comes i will be thrilled (for the biggest understatement of the year) but that day will always be a painful reminder of our struggles. it will be like a birthday of someone who has passed away or the anniversary of the death of a loved one – it will be bittersweet. i will relish the homemade gifts and crafts (hint: andy, remember that). i will act like my over done pancake breakfast in bed is the best thing i have ever eaten. i will slip my macaroni necklace over my head while tears of joy threaten to overflow. i will take a huge breath and will look at my child that will call me mom and i will look at my husband who has stuck with me, even when i gave him an out, and will smile. but later that night i will kiss my baby on the head and will tuck them in bed, andy will be reading a book, who am i kidding, watching something on tv, and i will slip out of the house to sit on our porch swing and take 10 minutes to stare at the stars while the tears roll down my face in memory and silent reflection of all that has been lost.
all of the times i prayed and begged to be pregnant “this” month, all of the treatments and tears, all of the negative pregnancy tests, when the doctors gave up on us. in all those times and more infertility has robbed us. it has taken from me so many different milestones that we promised each other. it took away part of me:
i am hesitant to continue, but writing has been surprisingly therapeutic and why pay someone when you can write? i feel like when i put my words down in black and white i can look back and see them and there is something tangible that i can hold on to – i can look at them and feel like my feelings and my rampant thoughts are conveyed and together. it organizes the chaos that is in my mind, somewhat. i feel that i am too far gone and despite my hesitation here goes…my compiled list (thus far) of how infertility robs us.
i will never know what it is like:
1. to see that plus sign on a pregnancy test and feel the excitement of knowing a tiny human is growing inside me.
2. to use one of the many ways i came up with to educate/reveal to andy that he was going to be a dad.
3. to go to the first doctor’s appt after the positive test and to see that black and white image and hear the heart beat.
4. to grab andy’s hand and cry with him as we listen to the heart beat.
5. to have andy look at me the way expectant husbands look at their wives.
6. to have andy place his hand on my belly and talk to our baby.
7. to have that print out of the ultrasound (and possibly have a fun ultrasound – for once).
8. to use one of the hundred ways we talked about to tell our parents and then our families that we were expecting.
9. to dress in maternity clothing and apparently use maternity pants as buffet pants on down the road post birth.
10. to have weird cravings (and for that to be socially accepted and expected).
11. to take “bump pictures” (even though i hate pictures) and to post them along with updates on “today my baby is the size of an orange”
12. to feel the baby move – which people constantly will say is their favorite thing about being pregnant and people constantly say that is the time when they felt like they “connected to their baby.”
13. to pee all the time (ok with this one it is more of the excuse of the pregnancy to pee all the time – seriously i could drink a ton of water and pee more in a day than any pregnant woman).
14. to pee a little when coughing or sneezing (ok the older i get i think i don’t have to be pregnant…)
15. to use mommy brain as excuse for everything (once people announce they are expecting EVERYTHING becomes “due to mommy brain”)
16. to cry at everything for no reason but to have an excuse that people accept. people don’t like the crying for no reason because of treatment side effects.
17. to bond with the baby inside me. to ride down the road in an empty car and to know that i am not alone.
18. to experience the bonding with andy over the pregnancy.
19. to have andy pull me into his arms and thank me for making his dreams come true as well.
20. to take naps “for the baby” (everything becomes “for the baby”)
21. to have people ask me if they can touch my belly or ask me other exciting questions because i am pregnant.
22. to park in the expectant parent reserved spots at the stores.
23. to experience the birthing class with andy.
24. to have weekly doctor appointments where i can “see and hear” my baby.
25. to experience some ice cream or take out tradition after my doctor appointments.
26. to pre admit for the birth and have a tour of the labor and delivery center.
27. to pack the suit case for the hospital and worry that i will forget my pillow.
28. to have baby showers that are normal and where games come directly from being pregnant. where there isn’t a fear of “giving back” gifts because a mom changed her mind.
29. to participate in pregnancy nesting and having a pre-baby to-do list and crossing things off that list.
30. to have the frantic ride to the hospital if my water broke at home.
31. to have the dull ride to the hospital if being induced.
32. to experience the entire birthing process. sitting in the hospital bed, getting an iv, being hooked up to fetal monitors, seeing the lines move predicting contractions, holding andy’s hand during bad contractions, watching andy turn various shades of white, having andy tell me that he loves me before things get crazy, getting the epidural and watching andy create an excuse to leave the room to update family, knowing that family is out there or close by waiting, pushing, the nurses and doctors being in the room, the excitement and the rushing. the end result.
33. to hear the doctor announce boy or girl after months of waiting to find out.
34. for andy to kiss my forehead after that announcement.
35. to hear that first cry.
36. to have the baby put on my chest and to know that immediate love. and to know that one of the first people other than the medical staff holding my baby was me or andy.
37. to have those moments right after everything has calmed to be a family of 3 without the rest of the world in our room, where andy would present to me an awesome push present.
38. to see the face that i have carried for 9 months and know that “we made that”
39. to have family and friends come in so they can be introduced – and to tell everyone their birth story.
40. for andy to go to the waiting room and simply say boy or girl.
41. to experience the post birth shower that everyone claims is the best shower ever and if you never experience it – you haven’t ever really showered…
42. to experience breast-feeding and once again that “connection” that people talk about.
43. to not wonder if it was something that i did wrong years ago and wonder what i could have done differently.
44. to not worry that when we are placed the parents will change their mind and come back for their child.
45. to not worry that one day my child will ask me about their birth story and to possibly have no clue – thus making my child feel different.
46. to not worry that whatever child we are placed with will resent us at some point in time and tell us that they wished they were with their “real” mom and dad and that they hate us.
as i sit here and read back through my words i have mixed feelings. i have such bitterness that boils up and anger that bubbles to the surface and both of those roll into one ball of irritated, irrational, frustrated, rage. another part of me has weariness and fear: weariness that we have waited so long to be parents and a fear that we will never be chosen to be parents. there is a part of me that reads through that list and has a list just as long as the things that we get to do because we are adopting that “normal” expecting couples will never get to experience – and that really is exciting.
i spoke to a friend and to make a long story short she asked how i was. i will admit it hadn’t been a great day and with the thoughts above running rampant in my head i jumped on my soap box before i even really realized it and felt bad about it. my words (not directed at her in any possible way) were dripping in annoyance and hurt. i told her that i was sorry i got up there and she said it was ok that “i think your soapbox was right on point” and “you deserve to be frustrated and have your grief.” she didn’t call me selfish or overly dramatic or insensitive and those simple words of acceptance and understanding came flying at me during a time i needed my feelings to be validated. so yes i am still sulking and mulling around all of the ways i have been robbed because of infertility (as i do from time to time) but they are becoming, more and more, just bullet points in a mere chapter of our story. a story, that like most, has highs and lows. as the bitterness simmers, and i work my way back to dwelling on the positive i tuck my ever growing list somewhere deep in my mind.