We wanted to be able to produce our own children to love. We wanted to create something so special from our relationship–a precious gift who reflected bits and pieces of my family and his, but was their own little someone. We did the usual round of fertility treatments and even pulled out the big guns and tried IVF; something I swore I would never do. We lovingly gazed at photos of our tiny embryos while I waited to see if one “took hold.” To lighten the mood, we named them gender-free names like “Pat,” “Chris,” or “Alex.” I got pregnant. For a few days. A “chemical” pregnancy—considering I was a high school chemistry teacher then, the term seemed somehow ironic. By the time, we were done trying I had experienced 4 “chemical” pregnancies in all. I just couldn’t go through it anymore. So we were going to adopt. I even quit my job, and we moved to a place with a good school district where we could afford to live on one income. But we couldn’t agree on the particulars. For instances, I was in favor of adopting an older child. I took down all of the pictures of our friends’ children that decorated our refrigerator and replaced them with ones of older foster kids from Adopt Us Kids.org, but my hubby wanted an infant. In the end, we just ran out of steam. I was gun-shy of more heartache. He couldn’t dredge up the required enthusiasm.
So now we live in a family-friendly place without kids. We get peppered with the “so do you have children?” question on a regular basis. I am never really sure how to answer that question. So, I am honest and I say we tried and couldn’t, I watch people squirm and try to “fix” my problem by suggesting adoption, even though I didn’t ask for a solution. I sense that they are trying to make themselves feel better by trying to make it alright for me, and a part of me feels sad and guilty for adding to their distress. Another part of me often feels angry because many of their solutions are judgmental and imply that the pain would just disappear if I took their advice. Their band-aid measure feels like it has been neatly applied over my mouth, and I usually mutter something complementary about their great ideas and hope the conversation ends soon.
Ultimately I gratefully had a hysterectomy, because the pain of endometriosis and adenomyosis became crippling. I now KNOW I will never bear a child. Most of the time, I feel really happy about my life. I love my husband and the time we spend together. I love my job and the people I work with. I love my free time. But sometimes, to be honest, sometimes I feel, well, truncated. I get a lump in my throat at the most unexpected moments. This scenario wasn’t the one I had planned, and I am still designing a new one, and it will require every ounce of creativity I possess.