Incomplete

Today I saw a baby. Actually, I touched one. I smelled him.

This was a HUGE mistake.

He smelled like softness and dreams and well, babies. He smelled like impossibility.

I though it would be okay to approach this baby. This baby is “acceptable” to me because he came after a year of trying and a miscarriage at 12 weeks (isn’t it sick that I deem babies “acceptable” and “unacceptable” based on how hard and long they were fought for? Ugh, I make myself sick).

I thought it would be okay to touch this baby, to stroke his silky cheek, to snuggle my nose into the warm folds of his neck.

But it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t okay at all. I left that baby, still breathing in his heady baby smell, and walked into my staff meeting with tears brimming in my eyes.

I may never have that again, I thought breathlessly to myself, a hard knot calcifying in my throat and caging my lungs. I may never have another baby. 

The reality of that possibility hits me like a sucker punch to my soul. I am not ready to face that prospect.

I’m not ready to embrace that uncertainty.

Because that is what it is really, a glaring uncertainty. It’s not like anyone has told me that I CAN’T have a baby, they’ve just told me that–barring treatments I can’t readily afford–there is very little probability of a baby. What I’m left with is uncertainty, obtrusive, unavoidable uncertainty.

I guess that is what infertility is, really, it’s uncertainty.

Which means the inverse is also true: fertility is certainty–that you can build the family you want, or one that closely resembles it.

Infertility is not being sure of that. Infertility is having to imagine life without realizing the family of your dreams.

Today Isa and I played “monkeys” on my bed. We scampered under the covers and read books by flashlight. It felt like someone was missing, like the ghost of my dreamed-of second child was there with us, reminding us of her absence.

I’ve never felt like that before, like someone was missing. I don’t want to feel that way, but now I do. What if I always feel like now? What if it never goes away?

Later, when we tucked Isa in for the night she requested “a family hug” and Mi.Vida pulled her out of her crib so we could all embrace. Is this what our family is meant to look like? Three heads pressed close together? Can I ever see just the three of us as complete?

I lay on Isa’s floor, exhausted from the sadness of today, wondering how I will handle all this uncertainty. Wondering if our family will ever feel complete.

 

10 responses

  1. I believe it’s possible to find peace in uncertainty. It’s really fucking hard and makes you question everything you’ve ever believed. But it’s possible.

    Lots of love. I’m sorry you are dealing with this.

    xoxo

  2. So much to respond to here! First of all, I love how you put it, that infertility is uncertainty. That is so accurate.

    Second, I was noticing last night that since I’ve had a second child, I’m much more likely to use the term “my family” than I was before. Previously, they were “my husband and my son”. I realized, though, that J always called us “my family”. It was all he’d ever known, and we were/are his family. So I probably could’ve taken ownership of that phrase a long time ago. This may not be the family you’ve pictured, and your family may not always be just the 3 of you, but the 3 of you *are* a family.

  3. Infertility has always meant uncertainty to me, and I’ve struggled with that uncertainty a great deal and still do today. I think that uncertainty will stay with me for a long time, not forever, but for a long time.

    The place you’re in right now was by far the scariest for me. Not knowing what our path was was terrifying. Once the ball was rolling (& I know that you’re worried about being able to put balls in motion, and understandably), things got a bit better. The waiting on a treatment plan is just so hard. Darkest days of my life, by far. You’re in a holding pattern of nothing but uncertainty right now, and that is the worst part, in my opinion.

    Hang in there.

  4. Uncertainty, yes, that’s exactly what infertility is. We can’t plan and sometimes don’t even dare to hope because we are all too familiar that we have no idea what could happen.

    Anyway. I get you. I’m sorry, it’s hard. It’s harder at the beginning, but at this point, 4 years after being DX as IF – it’s my normal and it’s only when I hear others plan or say “when I’m pregnant next summer” or “when I have another child” that I am reminded that in no way is our situation normal. That stings like a bitch.

    Here with you in this uncertainty. xo

  5. You’ve hit on something huge here – the uncertainty is BRUTAL. Before I finally had my successful pregnancy, the not knowing whether I ever would have one kept me in a years-long state of suspended animation in which anxiety was the only feeling I could actually feel. It sucked, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I hope that the what-ifs start to materialize into actualities very soon – abiding with you as you wait and see.

  6. I never really thought about the fact that fertility is certainty: you can build the exact family you want to. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    Uncertainty is very hard to live with. I guess that’s where meditations and yoga come in, to help with that?

  7. I not only have “acceptable” and “unacceptable” babies, I have acceptable and unacceptable pregnant women. Like the two women in my mom’s group who got pregnant “when they weren’t even trying! tee-hee”. I can’t be around them. Or the one baby already born. In fact I sort of silently dropped out of the group because I couldn’t handle it.

  8. Infertility definitely means uncertainty. And I know that I for one felt the absence of the baby(ies) we wanted far more acutely the more I faced infertility. I think it’s because we focus so much on what we want, that they start to become real. It’s not always this bad though. Whether you get that second (or third or fourth) baby or not, it is not always this bad. It does become okay. It’s just that it is terribly hard to imagine that when you’re in the trenches.

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