There was I was, sitting at my desk working my shift for the Humane Society when a girl who is an employee at the store I work out of comes up to me and says "I'm having a girl!" I respond, completely clueless, "you're having a girl?" Yes, she says, she's five months pregnant and thought everyone knew! Apparently I'm the only one in the store who didn't know. So she's all "yay! I can buy pink things" and all I could squeak out was a "congratulations" for the unwed mother. It certainly didn't help when later that night as I was throwing out the trash, I saw her smoking a cigarette.
Then Sunday happened when during prayer request time in Sunday school, I found out that a couple was pregnant for the third year in a row with their third child. I about lost it and right after prayer I had to make a dash for the bathroom before I started sobbing right in the middle of the lesson. One church sister hugged me right after Sunday school while another one reminded me that talking about things might help make whatever the struggle easier to bear. But how do I tell someone "yeah, someone else is pregnant and I'm not" without coming across like some bitter jerk? So I just remained quiet. Wes came a moment later and simply said, "babies?" to which I nodded yes. He put his arm around me and I buried my head in his neck in an attempt to hide my crying face from the rest of the church. But in my attempts to not draw attention to myself, I guess I wound up drawing attention to myself. Another church sister hugged me long and hard, which was greatly appreciated. Though not completely myself, I was feeling better by the end of church service.
I told Wes that I wish I could just be happy for people but it's so hard. I am happy for them, but at the same time, I'm just so angry. Not at them, it's not their fault that I can't have children. I'm just angry at the situation I find myself in. I'm unable to relate to the young, married women of the church since they either have children or they're about to have children. I feel lonely in the conversations that revolve around kids and while I usually use the time to strike up conversations with the men, I feel lonely in that sense too since several of the men are seminary students and are discussing things that I can't necessarily relate to either...and there is where I feel lost since I've always found it easier to talk to men since the conversations are seldom about kids. So this once talkative woman now finds herself awkwardly silent...completely clueless as to how to converse with people anymore. And to everyone who says that children will come my way...that's pretty easy to say when it's not your tubes being blocked by an incurable disease and you're not sitting there wondering how on earth a country expects people to pay $30,000 in just a few months to be able to give a child a home. I told Wes that maybe for part of his applied ministry class, he could work on a ministry that reaches out to those struggling with infertility...but then I corrected myself since the ministry would only really reach out to me and him in this small church of ours.
But then there are times I don't get myself because certain moments leave me feeling grateful to not have children. I mean, I doubt I'd be able to go to school in the fall and start fulfilling my dream of working with elephants if I was currently pregnant or already had a baby. But then I think to myself that surely I'd be able to do both...right? Ok, let's be honest with myself, I probably wouldn't be able to do both. Which dream do I pursue? Which dream do I let go of? Do I let go of the dream of motherhood and have to explain for the rest of my life why I don't have children? Or do I let go of the dream of working with animals while silently craving that time that "could have been"? Why can't I have my cake and eat it too? Why do I have to choose?
It's my birthday on February 9th. I'll be 27 years old. When I was in my early 20s, I figured I had so much time ahead of me. Now I'm in my late 20s and time is running out for this endo-ridden body. I'm going to get myself a cake for my birthday and eat it. I guess in light of not being able to have that option with life decisions, I can at least do it for my birthday. Though every year passing reminds me more and more of one dream slipping through the cracks, I will do my best to celebrate it. I just find myself at a loss on how I'll do just that.
Photo by Mary King (me)