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Yesterday would not be one of those days. I feel as though I’ve been morning a death. I am in morning of the death of the life I always thought I’d have. Okay, maybe not  a complete death, but a terminal illness of the life I always thought I’d have. That seems a bit more accurate at this time until I have more information.

I was doing just fine. I could think about kids without getting nostalgic, or get a Baby Shower invite and not have a panic attack. I was feeling pretty good over the last couple of days. It almost felt as though I were accepting, moving on, getting stronger. And then, it hit me like the giant shark that attacks the swimming naked woman in Jaws.

I was pleasantly and happily checking the latest updates on Facebook. I decided to check out the photos posted by a good friend who I have not seen in many weeks. Now, the stupid part is I had seen these photos the day before and handled it quite well. This day, however was not a good day. They were photos of her pregnant belly at different stages up until the most recent. The first two were uneventful, normal, even completely flat. The last was a definite bump. I cute, round, crescent protruding from her petite little frame. I looked carefully and thought about the tiny life growing inside a person I actually know. A few months ago she wasn’t pregnant, like me, and now she is almost a mother. How easy, how life changing, how new, how must she feel right now? Suddenly,within moments I was hunched over the keyboard looking like a phsyc ward patient. Red, runny nose, puffy eyes, sobbing unabashedly. It felt good but I’m really glad no one else was home. This little ‘episode’ lasted a good 3 hours. Could have been more if I didn’t have appointments to keep and people to see.

Why am I sharing this seemingly humiliating moment of my very private life? Because if anyone knows what I’m going through or have been through this already, you’d know that it does not slowly fade away. It can hit like a ton of bricks and hurt so deep in the core of my being. My husband is so good to put up with me. He is so tender and loving, and knows what to say to make me smile again. I know he’s hurting too, but he can never know exactly how this feels. He’s not a woman and doesn’t know what it’s like to have your body, heart, and mind yearn to do what it was made to do. The best I can describe it for a man would be to say, ” Here is your (substitute for male reproductive organ). Now it is there to give you pleasure and to pleasure your female partner. It will make babies too. It will WANT to do that 24/7. However, I am telling you that you can never have sex again for the rest of your life. You must accept your life completely celibate. Forever. No matter what.” If you’re a man, how does that make you feel?

The funny part is, I wasn’t looking to get pregnant any time soon. I wasn’t really considering it. Now, it seems to be the only thing I can think about and constantly comes up around me. I want to be very clear about this to ANYONE reading this: I do not want to take well deserved joy from anyone who is now, or ever will be, expecting a baby. I am fragile, but I do not want to be shut out of anyone’s life. I am happy to share in your joy with you, and may have to live vicariously through your joy. I just need to grieve in my own time.

So. . . .They’re having a girl. Yay.

Children of Men

If you haven’t seen this movie starring Clive Owen, I strongly recommend it. This movie has so many depths and layers I am still amazed after watching it 100 times. Not only would I say the storyline, visual effects, acting, and representation of the future are immaculate, but I am continually impressed at the many messages hidden in the plot lines.

Children of Men is set 20 some-odd years into the future where human beings have not been able to reproduce for about 20 years. Children do not exist and humanity has all but given up. When a pregnant woman is discovered, an underground group tries to protect her. Clive Owen’s character gets mixed up in all of this and becomes the only person she can trust to deliver and save her child. 

What amazes me most about this movie is the honest portrayal of the future. There are no sleek uniforms, clean steel and glass buildings (okay maybe one), or flying cars. It is dirty, corrupt, and not all that different from what we see today. It is clear that some technology has advanced and futuristic cars look used and old, which is accurate. The garbage on the street reminds me that without future generations to think about, why would we bother to clean up after ourselves? In one scene, an elementary school is left abandoned for forest creatures to dwell. People have given up hope and stopped thinking of the future of the planet and focus on only their own survival.

I bring this up today because it is a perfect representation of how I feel when I think of living my life without children. My  husband and I have always known it would be difficult to conceive when we wanted to, but we didn’t know just how much so. Until now, children was more than just a possible future. Now, we have to conceive of what our lives could be like without them. Will it be like the movie? With no worry of future generations in our family, will that take all the pressure of ‘succeeding’ in life? Will we become selfish? Will we live out all our other fantasies and secret passions only to find at the end that it was all for no one?

I know there are some couples out there that have chosen to be childless. Are these worries ever shared with them? How do they cope? What do they tell themselves about their own futures when it isn’t linked with the phrase, “when our kids. . .” ?

I had a great chat last night with an old friend. She is raising to small children on her own so spending some quality time with her meant something special for the both of us. Her oldest is 3 and youngest is 6 months so she has her hands full and did express to me the treasure of adult conversation in her life. I really love to be around young children because I always go home with a feeling of “well I’ve had MY fill of kids to last me a while!” Not to say that they were naughty or that I didn’t enjoy myself at all, please don’t misunderstand, but that I am glad to enjoy their company for a short while and then go home to a peaceful house with no responsibilities.

To continue on the subject of yesterday’s post, I decided to confide in her the recent developments in my childless life. She was very understanding as I explained the possibilities and options that my husband and I now faced. She sent me an email that I just had to share. This is what good friends are for:

I will leave you with this to keep in mind. Mull it over…

Top 10 Reasons my uterus is ideal for housing babies:

10. I already have all the clothing varying in degrees of fatness

9. I already have stretch marks so f*$@ it…lets go!

8. I have THE coolest OB/GYN

7. Been there done that…

6. Twice…

5. I am apparently fertile-mertyl

4. 2 happy children must mean warm comfy womb

3. It would be nice to be knocked up for a good purpose

2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE being pregnant…great parking

1. It would be so much fun to say “Im having my friends baby…no, his wife is totally cool with it.”

Keeping quiet? Let it out?

Everyone handles baby news differently.

I have a close friend who does not hesitate to rush out and tell every soul (be it plant, animal, or person) when she is pregnant. I have had to share in her heartbreak twice as she has had to re-inform them all of her miscarriages. At first I wondered why on earth anyone would put themselves through that, but it occurs to me that she is they type of person who needs the support of the people around her when times are good or bad. I admire her ability to allow people into her very deepest, personal triumphs and sorrows. I am happy to report that she is now pregnant again, waited until she was 13 weeks to tell us, and is doing just fine.

Of course, there are those who are very secretive and private. Another couple I know did not share the news of their expecting bundle of joy until they were well enough out of the first trimester. They are choosing not to tell anyone the name they have picked for their baby girl who is due in June. I commend them for this as I tend to be a very private person myself. Some reasons for this might be to spare themselves the ridicule or opinions of other people’s towards the name. As they should! It is no one’s business but theirs, and if they like the name, that should be all that matters.

In any case, the sharing of baby news is not just any declaration, and should be handled with care. How then, in the case of NOT having a baby should one choose to tell friends and family? I am certainly not choosing to not have a baby, and it is worth noting that we are not sure whether or not it is impossible for me to conceive in the future. However, I am faced with the dilemma at my age and marital status that people will be asking or commenting on the subject. “When are you two going to start a family?” or “Well, whenever you two decide to join the club. . . ”  and so on. It hits me close to a sensitive spot in my ‘feel bads’.

On the one hand, I want everyone to know what’s going on so that they are more sensitive or understanding. On the other hand, I don’t even know how serious my condition is or if it can be helped easily. So is it really something I should just be blabbing it all over town? Or should I keep my mouth shut until I have more information?

I certainly don’t want everyone’s lives or conversations to revolve around my situation. Their good fortune has as much right to be celebrated as my triumph will be when and if it happens to me. So for now, I have this blog and it will be my saving grace.

My kids

Yesterday was an unusually warm day for mid-March. I took the kindergarteners outside for a break. It is a shame that our days are usually so rushed and busy that we don’t get time to enjoy the outdoors and each other’s company for 15 minutes. I took so much pleasure in running around with them, chasing them, sliding down slides, and climbing on the rock wall. They gave me strange looks at first, but it made them laugh to see me playing like a kid. They are my kids.

Several years ago I started working for a company and met Amanda, my supervisor, who was 8 mos pregnant at the time. She relayed to me how many months it took her and her husband to conceive and how the pressure and disappointment was taking a toll on her. She hated to go to church because seeing all the young families and their new babies made her heart ache too much. I have often heard other women tell of the moment when “baby fever” hits them like a ton of bricks and they can think of nothing else.  It was actually frightening to think of it, and I vowed it would never happen to me. (Yeah, like being ‘twitterpated’ never happened to Bambi).

I have always consistently kept in the back of my mind the possibility that I may never have children of my own. I have always been careful in talking to people to say, “If I ever have children” rather than, “When I have children.” I do this as a protection for myself against failure and disappointment. I don’t want to put my husband through the pain and stress that some marriages go through as a result of infertility.  My husband and I would dream of a life without responsibility or dependency, a dual income family with the freedom to spend their lives traveling, saving money, and never know what it’s like to struggle financially or have to ‘find a babysitter’ so we can go out.

Still, I could not help but hurt inside this morning when I was driving to work and saw a school bus stopped to pick up a group of waiting children. I thought of how I would miss out on taking my child by the hand on their first day of Kindergarten and kissing them goodbye.

In the Beginning

I’ve started this blog to document my journey to becoming (or possibly accepting never becoming) a mother. No doubt my journey is different but parallel to my husband’s, but this blog will document my own thoughts and feelings along the way.Beginning of March: I went to see an OBGYN that was recommended by my mom. When I first showed up it seemed like a very nice facility, but it was also very busy. As I waited for my name to be called I was getting anxious. The room seemed like an assembly line for pregnant women. The front desk is set up to look like a row of bank tellers and there is a line of women with all sizes of bumps. The waiting room had not an empty seat as expecting couples buzzed around me. I was alone with my thoughts. I had taken a pregnancy test a few months earlier just to rule out the possibility for the cause of my non-existent periods. No such luck. But, as I sat there I couldn’t help but wonder if that day I would find out some wonderfully surprising news.

The nurse practitioner I saw that day ordered me to have blood drawn at the lab on Monday to test for several different hormonal imbalances that may be causing my problems. No periods, severe skin irritations on my face, mood swings, and nausea are just a few things on my list of complaints. They tested for Thyroid problems and a few other levels. I was to wait a week before the test results came in.
On that Friday, my father-in-law went in for emergency surgery. I was in the hospital for 11 hours that day waiting with my husband and mother-in-law and giving my support. THAT was the day I got the call from my test results. I stepped into the hall to take the call from Jessica, the nurse practitioner I had seen. She first asked me, “Do you have any kids?” and I quickly answered, “No.” uh oh.
“I’ve got your test results, and they are rather shocking.” I froze.
“It seems that your ??? levels are rather high, and that is normally something we see with a woman going through menopause.”
“Oh God.” I took in a breath. “What does this mean?”
She replied, “Well, I want to have you tested again, but if this is the case, you may not be able to get pregnant on your own.”
I started to cry right there in the hall, on the phone. I told her that I wanted to get the tests redone, but that if it IS what she thinks, I want to get it resolved and move foreword as soon as possible.

It is now St. Patrick’s Day. I teach Kindergarten and every day has been a struggle to get through. I rely on my husband to cheer me up and he has been an absolute shining beacon for me. I have an appointment with a fertility clinic at the end of March to discuss what my options are. When I started all of this, I wasn’t ready for children. Now, if I have the chance I will do everything I can to get the process going. For, now I’m keeping busy and trying not to think about it.
Even now, the mention of babies or children gets me teary eyed. I may have to accept living my life without raising children. I haven’t lost hope yet.

A little history: I was told several years ago by my OBGYN that because of my irregular menstrual cycles (no I will not be discussing this in great detail), I would have a harder time getting pregnant should I want to. My husband and I were far from thinking about that at the time since I was finishing school and he had yet to begin any secondary education. After I graduated college I chose to go on implant contraception (Implanon) because I was going to be working to support my husband through his schooling for the next 2 years.
My husband and I have always known children would be in our future, but we both agreed that it was best to wait until we had made a stable, established household first. I am an avid listener of Dr. Laura and my personal beliefs about child rearing is that I wanted to be home raising them during their formative years. So that meant my husband needed to be making enough income to support a family.
Well, to wrap it up: My husband finished school 1 year early and I was not happy with the hormonal changes happening to me during the year I had the implanon in my arm. I made the choice then to take it out in July 2009 and use other forms of birth control when necessary (also, not going into detail. Sorry). It has been 9 mos. since I have had even a hint of a menstrual cycle. This is where my story begins.