The Other Road

This week I started work. So far we’ve only had professional development days so it’s been a nice easing into the school year. I’ve actually been really surprised how exhausted I am after full days of listening and learning. How can I be less tired when I work all day in my yard doing hard physical labor than when I sit at a table all day and listen to presentations? It has been an eye opening experience and a good reminder for what it will be like for my kids in the first weeks of school.

These professional development days include our entire district. We’re not a big district but there are six schools with about 20-30 staff members at each site, so a decent amount of people were there. Within minutes of arriving I noticed how many pregnant women there were. By the end of the two days I had counted five different pregnant women, and they were all very, very pregnant.

Today as I waddled walked out to my car, I was struck by how different these last two days would have been if I were not almost as pregnant as all those women I counted. I might have been sitting next to those pregnant women after our one attempted assisted cycle this summer. Maybe I’d be waiting for a beta test last this week. Maybe I’d be mourning our only failed attempt at ART. Maybe I’d be coming to terms with ending our journey to a second child. Maybe I’d be furious with Mi.Vida for not supporting my desire to foster adopt. There were so many different places I could have been during those two days–difficult places, painful places, desperate places. How hard would it have been to start the school year that way, embarking on yet another academic year of trying, and failing, to build my family? Where would I have found the strength to care about my classes, planning to commit myself to other people’s children?

I’ve been there before, surrounded by pregnant women and hurting, feeling guilty about the jealousy and envy I feel. I know how much it stings. I know how much it would hurt to have endured those two days on the heels of even more failure. It would have been heartbreaking, devastating. I would have spent those days with tears swimming behind my eyes. It would have been so, so hard for me.

Sitting there, watching all the immensely pregnant women walking past, I was so, so thankful for my own swollen belly. I cherished every kick I felt during those two days that much more. I was that much more thankful for this miracle pregnancy that we never expected would happen, especially not when it did. I still don’t quite know how this happened and I still feel so incredibly fortunate to be where I am today. And my heart goes out to all the women who are not here, who are still struggling. Every moment of gratitude is punctuated by an acknowledgement of those who are still in the trenches, still grieving failed cycles, losses and unfulfilled dreams. Please know I think about you always and I hope beyond hope that your happy endings are just around the bend, close but just barely out of view.

2 responses

  1. Such a heartfelt post. I feel like I could have written it. I teach as well and felt the same way last year, after we succeeded in our attempts to get pregnant after 3 years. I remembered so clearly the jealousy I felt as other teachers would announce their pregnancies at staff meetings. When it was finally my turn, I scanned the room for anyone with a pained look on their face. I didn’t want to cause anyone the pain I had felt for so long. It was a time of great joy, but I never forgot how easily I could have been on the other side of the fence.

  2. Even since having my daughter, I sometimes get belly envy. It makes more sense now that we’ve been trying for #2 unsuccessfully for 19 months, but I felt that even right after Harriet was born. Interesting how that happens. I hope that all of us maintain our sensitivity like you have.

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