Monday, August 24, 2009

Breakthrough conversation?

It's a strange world we live in - and, as women, we share it with the strangest creatures yet: men. There are so many differences and yet so many similiarities; but often you find yourself as though trying to navigate some tropical jungle without so much as a map.

Last night, Kenton and I had one of The Talks. It was weird. I didn't cry for a change, but I had a hard time looking at him while I talked. I told him how hard it was for me to keep seeing all these pregnant women, to hear about women getting knocked up who don't even want another baby. I can't even fathom the concept of child abuse because if I thought about it, I would probably just implode from a combination of fury and incomprehension.

The world is a big place, and yet sometimes thanks to the internet, it feels like your backyard. There's something strangely comforting about knowing that there are people who've never met you but who, through some chance or circumstance, find themselves in a situation that makes them understand you even without knowing you.

I think we've sort of tabled the whole discussion for a while, in some way. I think we have to make a decision: to either rally the troops and move forward, or to deny the undeniable for a while until we both feel steady on our feet again. We get pictures from friends and family with their children, ranging from newborns to preteens. We look at them and I, for one, have started feeling old when I look at them. I start to think about my age - which I normally never do - and then I think, what if when we turn 60, there's no one left for us? It's just him and me (and in this day and age, even that's not something you can take for granted, no matter how much you love someone in the here and now), our parents are long gone, our friends have grandchildren and we...we have pets. When I think about that, there's this lump in my throat that threatens to suffocate me and I feel as though I'm engulfed in fierce anxiety, like having a panic attack. Part of me wants to scream and holler - I feel as though I'm in danger, as though I need help, need to be rescued, treated for some imaginary wounds.

Only maybe they're not imaginary; maybe they're just not visible to the naked eye. Maybe they're under the surface, never quite healing. Maybe they keep reminding me of the fact that, no matter what I tell myself, I don't think I can be happy without a child. I can learn to live without it - God knows there's a chance I might have to - but it will always be an unhappy coexistence. I will never feel at ease with the thought of not having children.

When we talked last night, Kenton seemed close to the edge too. He started talking about what I always feel too: this great sense of injustice, how we did everything "right", by the book, didn't have sex at a ridiculously early age, didn't sleep around, didn't get knocked up. We were always so careful - so trusting that our time would come, that when we were ready to expand our little duo into a family, it would all fall into place. The 2.2 kids, the child-friendly Golden Retriever, the white picket fence...the whole nine yards. No one told us that being responsible came with such a huge price tag. No one told us to guard our fertility like Fort Knox, that the thing that happens to people everywhere in the world, every second of every day, would just refuse to happen for us.

I want to cry, and I don't want to cry. I want to cry because I'm hurting, because it hurts not to cry. It hurts to pretend that everything is ok. It hurts to watch all these people have babies, watch them grow up and smile at the camera from inside a bathtub or a sandy beach, covered in ice cream or birthday cake. It hurts to feel so left out of something that shouldn't have restricted access. But then I think about how little the crying accomplishes, and how much it brings the pain right back to the surface. I think about how talking and crying and crying some's not getting me anywhere.

I wish I could just sit back and examine this entire situation without emotion. To make a "battle plan" and knock down the door of every doctor until someone, somewhere, can tell me what the problem is and how to solve it. But I'm embarrassed and I'm not made of money. So, instead, I sit here and write, thinking about how much easier this all must be for someone like, oh I don't know, SJP for example. I know money can't buy you happiness, but in this case it can buy you the best doctors, the best fertility treatments - and, if nothing else, at least a better fighting chance than those of us with limited resources have. If I were rich, I think I'd fly to some tropical island and soothe away my pains.

You know how, when you were single and all your friends were paired off, everyone kept telling you it would happen for you too? And you didn't really believe them, thought it was easy for them to say that since they weren't out there looking. The old advice always came back: it'll happen when you least expect it. So now the same advice somehow gets regurgitated when you're trying to have a baby - only this time, it's not a matter of going out there and looking (or not looking, isn't that what's supposed to "make it happen"?). This time you have absolutely NO control. It's not a matter of dressing nicely when you go out because there isn't much you can do if your uterus is on strike, your ovaries are playing Sleeping Beauty or your fallopian tubes are experiencing total gridlock.

And then you have a hundred thousand quacks who try to exploit the vulnerable, hurt little you who's just asking for a chance to do what so many are incapable or unwilling to do: be a good mother. When we first started having these issues - or, rather, becoming aware of them - I went on the internet (my trusted friend) to see what information I could pool. I came across a website that, in my Google search, promised support groups and information. A couple of clicks later, it turned out to be a "members only" club with a hefty price tag. I was outraged! How dare anyone restrict such vital information or refuse to give access to any and all??

Then there are all these other websites that throw together people with the whole panoply of infertility issues - so that you're trying to sift through the "TTCs" and the "finally got knocked ups" in hopes of finding a lost soul like yourself: the '"(seemingly) lost causes".

I don't know if I find it annoying or encouraging when someone who tried to get pregnant for a long time finally does. Part of you thinks, hey maybe it'll happen to me. But part of ME thinks, come down from your high horse and stop preaching like a televangelist "THY DAY SHALL COME!" (cue melodramatic chorus).

So where does this all leave me? I don't really know. I want answers, more than anything. I want to have a good, reliable and honest doctor who will tell me exactly what the science says and how it applies to me: which tests to run, what the worst/best case scenarios are, what options are available for different problems. I want someone who is sympathetic without being patronizing, someone who, above all, is professional in a caring way.

The truth is, part of me just wants my mom - and for her to tell me that everything's going to be alright. I guess that, no matter how old we get, there's still a little girl in every one of us...

1 comment:

Julia said...

Thank you.

This is so well written, and it's from the heart... these are the same feelings I've been having, but been unable to articulate.

<3 Julia