This Hope is Killing Me
This morning I woke up and walked into my living room. There was a Moses Basket on the floor filled with soft cuddly blankets and baby toys all over the floor and I had to take a moment to orient myself. This was my house. These were my things, but I had only brought them out because my sister in law was over. These things were for my niece, Abigail. It makes me happy to be able to have these things for her, otherwise they’d be collecting dust in the closet, but it can be hard sometimes.
It wasn’t hard to see my niece, because I love her to pieces, and I’ve accepted my role as her aunt. It was hard because I had both my sisters in law over and they were both planning on getting pregnant. Well one sister in law was planning on getting pregnant and the other confessed to us that her period was already a month late and she was just waiting to take a pregnancy test.
I envied them both more than I could say.
My husband and I have been trying to have another for over three years. We’ve been all over the merry go round that comes along with trying for a baby. The first few months are exciting, and then comes anxiety, and then worry, and then—when it is apparent that you are barren—grief. You grieve for a lot of things. Grief because my dreams of having a large family had died. I felt guilty that I could never give my husband the desires of his heart, and that my son would never know what it is like to be a brother. I grieved because this chapter in my life is over so much sooner than I had hoped. I was never able to talk to people my age about children. By now, people my age are just starting their families, and mine was done. My son would never play with their children; he is too old to play with babies. Once again, I would be excluded. Mostly, I grieved for the children I lost to miscarriage.
I used to blame others for my unhappiness. It was rude and selfish, but it served its purpose. It stopped me from being hateful towards myself. “I would be fine,” I would often tell myself, “if they would stop asking me about when I’m having another.” I couldn’t be angry at such innocent comments for very long. They meant well. They didn’t know. We don’t tell a lot of people about our infertility. The comments that warned about what a terrible disservice I was doing my son by not giving him a younger brother or sister were the most painful. But that was only because they echoed the thoughts already worming their way into my head.
Why do I do this to myself? I have been doing so well. After three years the pain starts to fade, if you let it. The problem is that I can’t let it. Just when I think my wounds have healed, something happens. A pregnancy announcement or a birth. Twice it was a positive pregnancy test of my own, which only ended in heartbreak soon after. Sometimes I think it would be easier if I hadn’t a uterus at all, at least then I would know without a shadow of a doubt that it could never happen for us. I would be able to accept it better. It’s hope that hurts me. Every time I cycle, there is a shimmer of hope that perhaps a miracle will happen for me, but after waiting for so long, the hope fizzles out.
Abigail also left a receiving blanket here. I picked it up and put it to my nose this morning. It smelt like baby formula and disposable diapers. I folded it neatly and then put it on the couch to wait for her. I should have just sent all the baby toys home with her too. Instead I just collected them and put them away in the closet in my five year old son’s room. The pastels and pretty prints up there look so out of place there among all the action figures and dinosaurs and school supplies but I can’t bear to get rid of them. It would feel like giving up.