another one bites…
I try not to think too much of it. I realize it’s just another day, another year. Not really happy as it should be. It just is. It’s not until Monday, but that just gives me more time to think about it.
These last few birthdays have just stung. It’s not the day itself. The day has been lovely, thanks to the Amazing M who earns his namesake by honoring my wishes to be low-key yet spoiling me in style. Smart man.
It’s the idea of leaving yet another year behind with nothing to show for our effort. Another year of trying and failing. Another year that pushed me further away from motherhood. Another year we can’t celebrate with our children.
For once, there is no grounding belief that this time next year we could be joyfully cradling an infant. This one is a reminder that my child-bearing years are behind me, without ever giving me another chance. A not-so-gentle reminder that life still goes on. Time marches on.
I am feeling every bit my age at 39, and then some. It’s hard to imagine that soon I will cross over to 40 without a child, without even hope for the family we had envisioned all these years. My mother had teenagers by the time she was my age, and she suffered infertility before conceiving my oldest brother and me.
The children of my siblings, cousins and friends are all growing up. Yet we just grow older — without the joy of seeing life through the eyes of a child, of watching our own children grow into the people they would become; without planning for their future; without the pleasure of gazing into their eyes and feeling more love than we ever thought imaginable. We grow older without the privilege of knowing the joys or challenges of parenthood.
We face this relentless truth every day — in our hearts, in our home, at work, at play. We cannot escape it. This is just another day, really.
We’ve spent the past year and much of our savings on treatment, injecting hundreds of hormone-fueled needles into my poor aging body. We’ve spent thousands more on holistic fertility care, investing in hope, searching for a miracle cure. I feel like I was crazy to think my body would still work, that it could still do the job it was intended to do years ago. I am way past peak fertility. Who was I kidding? I was just hoping to get lucky. We thought trickery would work. We were fools, buying into an illusion.
I feel old and outdated, like my parts are defective, obsolete.
Of course I know my life has value without children, beyond motherhood. But I don’t know how I will overcome feeling that I was meant for a purpose I could never fulfill. I am struggling to feel whole when I am empty.
This is more than my heart’s desire. I cannot squelch this primal urge merely by intellectualizing that it’s just not going to happen. The heart and body and mind are all in different planes (probably another post altogether).
I’ve said there is no room in my life for regret. We made the choices we did for the right reasons. We did not choose to be infertile. Yet while I know it does no good, I cannot help but pause to reflect. It’s impossible not to long for a different outcome. But life isn’t about the “if onlys” and the “what ifs.” There is only what is.
Much as I lament the life we will never have, I am grateful for what I do have. I have a wonderful partner in life and love and I am blessed to share my life with him. He writes me love notes, makes me breakfast and calls me beautiful. He accepts and supports me in so many ways. His tremendous faith in me and us has helped us through some truly trying times. In this way, I am blessed with good fortune.
To forget celebrate my birthday, we’re taking a long drive down HIghway 1 and headed to Big Sur to contemplate the sunset and waves crashing against the cliffs.
Thanks to all for your sweet wishes. I swear I get more love from you than from many in “real” life. This is about as “real” to me as it gets.