I don’t know what hurt me more, being asked when we were going to have kids, or realizing that everyone has stopped asking.
People seem to ask you every day of your life when you’re going to have a baby and you reply in the vaguest possible way. “Oh, I don’t know.” “Not yet!” “Whenever it happens, it happens.” You give these vague replies because you know just as well as everyone else that you’re meant to carry this burden alone. It’s not pretty, you can’t put a bow on it or put it in a box. No one wants to face it. That much I understand.
Somehow everyone finds out, though. People will stop asking when because it’s uncomfortable and it will just be this awkward elephant that you didn’t tell anyone about directly, but you know they know.
And it’ll sit there until it doesn’t.
That’s how it is with me, myself and I: the inhabitable belly. I know I know. But it just sits there. The elephant hangs out, waiting to be remembered. And when it is, it’s an emotional one woman circus.
Try as you might, jumping through those hoops and hurdles of life gets exhausting and you fall face first into a world of hurt. Everyone has some pile of elephant shit they fall into, this is mine. You won’t have a baby. You. Will. Not. Give. Birth. But you’ll get up, after all the show must go on. You’ll do whatever trapeze routine you’ve been trained to do. You’ll turn to wave to the crowd before your big trick and see a baby on her mother’s lap. You trip, landing in a giant net. You won’t wake up feeling him kick. You try to climb out of the net, fumbling over yourself. You won’t tear yourself in half to bring life into this world. You won’t have that. You just won’t. By now people have noticed you’re not invincible, you’re human, and you’re broken. They’ll want their money back. No one wants to see a woman so fragile.
So while they’re in line getting their refund, they will all say the same thing: “There are other ways to have a baby.” “You never know, miracles happen.” “Don’t give up hope.” They say it because these comfortable words end uncomfortable conversations. No one will have the heart to look you in the eye and say “okay, you can’t have a kid. That really sucks.” That would be devastating, right? It would be insensitive and horrible, right?
They might not understand the pain that comes along with not being able to have children. They might search the stadium for an exit sign the second they get a sense it’s going to come up. In fact, they might find it ridiculous, or even selfish, that someone could get so hung up on not being able to give birth. But even so, they couldn’t bring themself to look someone in the eye and say “you won’t ever give birth and that really sucks.”
There’s a theme in this post: other people suck. They don’t get it. But how could they? Men are not raised carrying around babies, practicing being a mom from birth. And other women really can’t grieve the loss of an opportunity they don’t even realize they have on a day to day basis. It’s not that I wish for anyone else to feel this way, I just wish people didn’t tell me I should be happy for so-and-so when they announce they’re pregnant. Of course I’m happy for whoever the couple of the day is. It’s so beautiful and joyous, I want that. I really just wish people would stop telling me I’m being selfish for having real emotions and for grieving this loss. I wish people could look at me, say “you can’t have a kid and that sucks” and just listen. I wish they’d stay for the whole show, not just to tell me how to grieve, not just to tell me what I’m doing wrong, but to be there. After all, I always get back up.