Since it is spring soon (it’s somewhere under all that snow), and spring is that magical time of year when rabbits, deer, lambs, chickens, and people have babies, I figured that this was a pretty good time to bring up that inevitable question all old people ask you after you tell them you’re newlyweds: “Are you planning a family yet?” To which my response is always a polite, “No, not yet”. This usually illicts advice I don’t want, recommendations I don’t need, and the just plain hurtful, “Well, you’re not getting any younger”.
Duh. Thanks for that.
But how do you say to the nice lady at the bus stop that you’re not even sure you can take care of a baby since some days it’s hard to take care of yourself? How do you calmly bring up the fact that, if you did get pregnant, you would be in constant agony and potentially endangering your own life as well as your child’s by attempting to bring them into the world? Truthfully, this is exactly how I feel every single time someone asks, but I never get to tell anyone because my immediate bodily response is to cry. It doesn’t matter if it’s the harmless elderly or my own doctor. Every time someone asks me about children, I burst into tears. I can’t even talk to Matt about names we like without getting choked up.
And this is why.
Christmas 2011: We are at my parent’s house, celebrating the fact that I am alive and spending Christmas with my family. I have been feeling weirdly off, surprise throwing up, and bloated. We check, and yes, I’m pregnant. Matt makes me pee on a stick three times before he’s satisfied. We spend the rest of our vacation basking in the joy that this unexpected gift is bringing us. After so much pain and misery, there will be a miracle. Cut to…
Mid-January 2012: I have a miscarriage. Truthfully, my body was in no shape to carry a child to term at that point and we should have recognized that. But we were foolishly caught up in the moment. Matt and I share many, many tears. We avoid shopping at stores because we had looked there previously for baby things. The situation becomes heartwrenchingly ironic as The Ex That Shall Not Be Named successfully delivers her fifth healthy child around the same time. Cut to…
Mid-February 2013: I am sitting uncomfortably naked in my doctor’s office, explaining to her why her “You’re not getting any younger” comment is far from my biggest concern. “Let’s start with, do I even want to try again?” I say to her. “How about, I can’t bear the thought of losing another miracle. Or how about all the high-powered anti-anxiety drugs I have currently floating around in my bloodstream? Say I don’t lose it and it grows healthy and strong, and one day kicks me exactly where my broken vertebrae are, because that’s exactly where it would kick me. Then what: I am paralysed, or I miscarry the healthy baby. What about the nerve damage to my lower back, pelvis and right leg? Would the baby’s weight cause me to lose even more sensation? And if that doesn’t happen, and it miraculously grows to term, what then? I can’t deliver it naturally – my pelvis will literally shatter. So I have a C-section. Now I have even more damage done to an already extremely fragile part of my body. Would I make it through the post-partum without trying to kill myself? How about any of these things?”
No, I’m not getting any younger, and the more I age, the greater the increased risk becomes. I fully realize this. But so many people think I’ve just conveniently forgotten about babymaking because I’m too busy dealing with everything else when in fact the opposite is true.
The act of babymaking was never, ever lost in the struggle to recover from this. It has been forefront in my mind through everything. There will never be enough money in the world to heal the pain this accident has caused me, nor ever enough to satisfy the void that it has placed in my body where there should be vibrancy and life. This company will be paying through the nose over the injury and injustice done to me and my family, and part of that will be taking into account my now-diminished ability to bear children. But what I really wish money was able to do? Go back in time and give me my life back so that I can give life to someone else.
I told you at the beginning that this would be an emotional post. I warned you. I’m not sorry if I made you cry. I’m crying. What I want you to know is that, if I ever seem less than thrilled with your children, or grandchildren, or nieces or nephews or whatever, it’s not because I don’t like children; it’s because I love them too much and I don’t want to get hurt any more. Not now, and maybe not ever.