Do you ever find yourself feeling like you're standing outside of some 5 star restaurant, in the pouring rain, looking in and watching all these lovely people in gorgeous clothes, feasting on the most amazing foods? Kind of like being an adult version of Curly Sue?
That's how I feel a lot of the time. I feel like I'm observing this whole motherhood thing from a distance. Almost like when you're not totally asleep, but not quite awake either. You sort of have a vague sense of what's going on around you but aren't actively participating.
To be honest, I never thought that blogging would help me. I didn't think that sharing my thoughts and feelings - in all their gritty, raw honesty - would make me feel better. It never occurred to me that, somehow, somewhere, there would be other women - struggling just like me - and that their words of encouragement and sympathy would somehow be like a band-aid. Yet...that's exactly what's happening.
At a time when I feel I can't confront the reality of infertility with those who are, arguably, closest to my heart, it seems almost strange to find comfort in the words of people I don't know - and who, for all intents and purposes, don't know me either. Yet, somehow, in that sense of anonymity, maybe the real issues become more clear and less clouded by other considerations.
Today, I had one of those moments that felt like a snapshot in a movie. I saw this woman with a little child in a stroller. At first glance, nothing new - I'm almost becoming numb to the sense of injustice, longing and despair that floods me like some venomous chemical. But as I watched, the little child - I couldn't quite tell if it was a boy or a girl - became ANIMATED. It stretched, laughed, smiled, giggled, reaching for its mother as the whole world in its little eyes.
And I felt like someone had literally reached into my chest and pulled out my still-beating heart. Ok, I know - that sounds overly dramatic and graphic. But I felt that I needed to use words that would lend this sort of strong, almost violent, quality to the force of the pain I felt. In my mind, like some sort of torture device, the scene keeps replaying - but, in this bizarre masochistic way that the mind was of rendering the pain even more unbearable, the scene keeps replaying...only I'M the mother...and it's my little baby casting its eyes adoringly on me, giggling as I tickle it and talk to it. Loving the sheer adulation, the eternal bond formed between mother and child.
Lately, I've been having nightmares a lot more. I keep dreaming of getting old and everyone I love dying around me. I think it's this sense of not having new life around me; of not having off-spring to raise and to keep me grounded in my later days. And so, barely grazing my early 30s, I have moments when I feel like I'm entering the last decade of my life. This whole ordeal is literally sapping the life out of me. I try...I try so hard not to let it get to me ALL THE TIME. But then I find myself sitting across from a couple with a little girl, for example - like I did today - and this family unit, so cohesive, so loving, so in tune with nature...And I feel left out. I feel like some shaggy old dog sitting in the rain, begging for scraps.
There are times when it gets worse than others. Sometimes I hear kids screaming or misbehaving and I think, THANK GOD I don' t have to deal with THAT. But then, I always think - that wouldn't be me. That wouldn't be me, trying to "reason" with a 2-year old, as opposed to being firm and setting boundaries for the child whose life I am solely responsible for. Because, at the end of the day, as women, I think that our responsibility towards the life we bring into this world is greater than that of anyone else - after all, we carry the unborn child with us, nurture it even before its birth, bond with this amazing "being" that we are able to produce.
I wish there was an easy way to deal with this - but then, I guess, anything worth having is worth fighting for. Sometimes I think it would just be as well if we adopted - but then, that's hardly even a consideration at this point, since we'd probably have to take out a loan just to cover the ridiculous fees involved in adoptions. And the weird thing is this. Before I ever felt ready to have children - long before we had any evidence that there might be issues with conceiving - I always considered adoption as a viable option. Not just instead of giving birth, but AS WELL AS giving birth. In some sense I felt that, if I was going to be a mother, I should be selfless enough, also, to give a home to a child who had no parents.
Ironically, it seems, that fate has decided both of these issues for me: we probably won't be able to conceive naturally, and other avenues may not be open to us for financial reasons. Isn't that just the biggest joke? All these people who have a ton of kids, can't support them, even beat and neglect them...all these orphans, foster kids etc...And here we are - you, me, every other women going through this ordeal - with so much love to give...and no one to give it to. You really have to wonder about the ways of the world, sometimes.
I try to take comfort in these wise words that "this too shall pass" - but I can't help but wonder: will it? Will there be a happy ending, one day? Will there ever be hope? Or will this just be a dark chapter in our lives that will forever cast a shadow over our marriage?
When you get married, and you say your vows, and you consider the traditional "for better or worse, in sickness and in health" - how many of us assume that we really will be put to the test? How many of us, occasionally, think: would this have happened if I had married someone else? Would this have happened if I hadn't waited to have children? Would this have happened if...?
And, really, it's all those "IFs" that finally make you want to tear out your hair. Because you can never get a straight answer to an "if" question - it's always cast in doubt.
After reading some blog comments over the last month, I've been feeling guilty for not taking into account that Kenton may be harboring the same kind of pain, just not showing it the way I do. And, really? I'm not showing it either. I still haven't told my mom, my best friend, or anyone else that you'd think this kind of information would be shared with. I JUST CAN'T. I can't face the conversation. I can't face the inevitable questions, comments, suggestions, advice...Just the thought of it all makes me feel VIOLATED. So I have to put on a poker face, bravely smile at cute babies and cooing parents, comment on a cute baby here, and adorable toddler there, and just grin and bear it. Pretend that it's not tearing me up inside; that I don't have to fight it every which way - that it doesn't take every ounce of self-control not to burst into tears every day, every minute, every hour...