sorry for the silence. i think it’s just that every time i have a post germinating in my head, i just want to take a nap instead.
i’ve mostly been using the last month to let the sweater dry out and not feel so smothered by it, while taming the snake and calming it down. even though i try to think about each pregnancy and each death as a separate, discrete event, the cumulative effect of having three children lost was a weight too heavy to function under. i felt i was someone staggering around the side of the road after a bad wreck, someone who had the same name as me but otherwise not really so recognizable. it wasn’t just “keeping a good face on,” i wasn't going numb, and i didn’t drop out of life. no...i just felt like i was living on the bare surface of me, and that anything else required too much energy. i absolutely didn’t feel like myself; this bruised and smudged-up woman with my name.
therapy and time has been good. the God of love and mercy that i believe in has been good too. the blessing and prayers and encouragement of so many friends & family has been very, very good. but while i might be healing well, the reality of a childless present and future still remains, and i haven’t a clue as to what that’s going to mean, and it is hard to trust oneself from day-to-day.
see, some days it feels like a non-issue: so what if we’re child free and might stay that way? big deal! and some days it feels like the defining issue of my entire existence: who are we supposed to be if we cannot continue our family, if we never are able to grow through this profound human experience called mother & father? however, there are very few days that i do not think about my missing children: how old they would be now, what it might feel like to smell their faces, what they would look like in my own mother’s or husband’s arms.
i find that despite everyone’s best intentions, there is a widening gulf between me and those with children. some of my peers at this point are trying to survive their kid’s puberty while i’m still wondering if i’ll ever get to try breastfeeding. i know this gulf sometimes exists between single and married people, but this one is harder to navigate, i think, because having kids so much more affects every facet of your waking (and not-much-sleeping) life. i don’t want my friends to feel like they have to edit their kids out of answers to “what’s been happening?” and yet their lives at times take on this almost storybook-like patina to me: Once Upon A Time, in the Land of Juice Box Joy and Minivan Acceptance… i don't want us to struggle to remain relevant in one another's lives, and so far so good. but it all comes back to the same feeling: these normal life things happen to other people. they do not happen to me.
today i ordered my medical records, and holy crap it sucked to read the litany of sorrow printed out: “no longer pregnant.” “recurrent spontaneous abortion.” (but i still smiled to see my OB’s now-famous-in-my-head comment: “it is a fine uterus.”) i did this because it’s the first step towards going to consult a reproductive endocrinologist now. yes, i can hear some of you shrieking OH EM GEE YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT 2 YEARS AGO and yes, there are others of you shrieking DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT THAT ROUTE and honestly, my dear Team Hope supporters – i don’t have an effing guess as to how it’s going to go, what’s going to be recommended, what might be necessary. but what i do know is that i at least want to try to get some more answers – yes, this might pose some bigger questions, but let’s face it, i already have plenty of questions.
and they aren’t the ones you might think. i mean, the adoption/assisted reproductive technology (ART)/childfree question has been on the table even before Tummymuffin III’s short life. no, the questions i’m wrestling with are more slippery: why are we parents with no living children? what is truly important here? are we selfish for wanting to have kids? what makes a parent? can we experience the full extent of our lives & our gifts to give without having small ones? will not having kids plant seeds of bitterness that will break soil and poison us years later? or will the journey of having kids do the same thing? why does God give AND take away? and am i willing to receive AND let go?