Untangling my fears of childlessnessJune 26, 2009
I want to warn anyone feeling fragile about infertility that this post might be a bit strong. I’m going to talk about some beliefs I am trying to untangle, but I just hope it does not tangle anybody else’s thoughts.
I saw my therapist today and we talked about my plan. I told him something I’ve been scared to admit to myself, I am so scared to start the plan. I’m frightened to take Clomid, to do IUIs, etc. Why? Because I’m afraid they won’t work. I’m scared to explore my options because if the doors close I dont know what to do with myself. He told me I sound like someone whose given up before I’ve begun. I told him I’m trying really hard to make peace with the possibility of never having children and then promptly burst into tears. He asked me what made me so afraid of the prospect of never having children:
1. Did you watch Sesame Street? I remember when Maria and Luis got married and found out they were having a child they sang a song about now becoming a family. At four, I remember feeling confused. Weren’t they already a family? I asked my mom who responded, No, once they have a baby, then they are family. This seems to be a common perception to this day. I see people announce pregnancies on twitter with X and Y are becoming a family! So that means that Jack and I alone, we’re just two people, we’re a couple. We are not a family.
2. When we eat dinner together, or watch TV, or sleep in, or go for a bike ride, I think of my friends who remind me oh you’re lucky to go on vacation . . . we have kids and can’t do that! Ha! you’re so lucky you can sleep in, we’re lucky if we can get four hours of sleep. I COULD have worked the corporate lifestyle but I have kids and they are my priority. I can’t speak for all infertiles, but for me, these comments and attitudes make me feel they are better than me by virtue of having a working womb and children to show for it. They are doing important stuff. They can’t sleep! They can’t relax on vaca! Sometimes I feel like they are really doing the important job while I’m sitting here in never never land flying like Peter Pan.
3. I’m afraid of ending up alone. I haven’t seen the movie “UP” (and if you haven’t seen it be warned a spoiler is to follow): from what I’ve heard the movie touches on infertility. A husband and wife suffer a pregnancy loss and then never have children. One scene shows the husband old and alone attending his wife’s funeral. I haven’t seen the movie, but that movie touches on a huge raw fear of mine.
4. I know people who are older and never had children and I hear what people I know say about them. The looks of pity. The whispers that they waited too long to start trying. They tsk tsks as they sigh and watch them, who do they have to live for? Their legacy their name ends with them. I already know for a fact certain people do this with me. My mom told me once I got pregnant, I didn’t want to tell you before, but your aunts would always call and say they were so worried and praying for you. My other aunt blatantly told me You are really tired due to pregnancy because you waited too long. Thank God you got pregnant. Now that I’ve miscarried these word haunt me. I am one of those people you look at and tsk.
5. The obvious, I want to be a mother, and even though I am not a mother, it is part of my identity and because I do not have that status yet, I’m in an identity crisis. I never thought it would be this hard to become a mother and I know I would be a good mother. I want the opportunity to try. I want to feel her kicks in my womb. I want to push through labor. I want to throw her a huge first birthday, and cry as she goes off to Kindergarten.There is a part of the need to be a mother that is a raw human urge that defies logic or human rationale.
I don’t know if I should try to accept that I might never be a mother and thus sit down and tackle all the issues I listed, or if I need to block them all out and try to make myself hope focused and not consider failure as an option. I dont know which is the healthier perspective. I’ve heard that if you prepare and accept the possibility of the worst you can be at peace and then be pleasantly overjoyed when the worst does not happen. I’ve also read studies that positive thought and visualization can go a long way to helping your dreams come true. I don’t know which way to go. I need to think about it because being in limbo is not an option for me anymore. The biggest issue I am trying to answer is: If I am to not become a mother, who am I? Who will I be?