I had almost given up on having a family and children. Until earlier last year when I missed a period, it was almost 4 weeks overdue before it arrived.
In this time my mind went into overdrive:
- After two days overdue (they are always on time) I started to daydream about being pregnant, especially when I’d had all the usual signs and symptoms that my period was coming in the week leading up to it,
- after 4 days I started to allow myself to toy more with the idea,
- after 7 days I allowed myself to start to believe it was possible,
- after two weeks I was CERTAIN that we (the man in the story) had created a miracle (he’s been fixed, but a Google search rendered many a happy conception after “fixing”).
At that point I went to get a blood test; I was so certain that it was going to be positive I was buzzing with excitement. The doctor gave me a referral and I had the test done on a Saturday. Then I had to wait until Tuesday to get the results (small town, busy doctors).
Well, you all know the results…
However, sitting in the doctor’s office while she looked up the results, I felt myself go numb with panic, what if I was wrong. I was so certain it would be positive, what if it was negative, how would I survive.
I started chanting in my head “whatever happens, it’s OK, whatever happens, it’s OK, whatever happens, it’s OK”
She was a young doctor, interning at the practice and she tried to make it fun, even doing a “drum-roll” on the table with her fingers as the she opened the result file.
I plastered a smile on my face to pretend that it was no big deal, and had to sit there and listen to her sprout off other possible causes for my absent period, and for the symptoms I had been feeling.
Due to my age menopause was the first suggestion out of her youthful mouth.
Now, I don’t know about you, but if I was talking to a woman who had just turned 40, who was delighted at the prospect of being pregnant, the last word that would ever come out of my mouth – just out of pure respect for the situation – would be menopause.
The minute she said it, I guess my face showed what I thought about that, and she back-tracked saying “not that I think you are going through it, you’re still very young, and I’m sure very, very fertile.”
I took another referral from her for more bloodwork, which I will never get done, and I stood, said thank you and walked out of the office with a smile and a laugh as if the world was an amazing place.
Stepping onto the sidewalk for my 3 minute walk home, I started to falter and chanted “just hold it together” with every step, though I couldn’t connect with my legs or body, just the voice in my head “you’re ok, just hold it together, you’re ok, just hold it together.”
I felt as though someone very close to me had died and I would never see them again. In essence, that was a reality – my dream had died.
Really, I am at a loss for the right word to express how shattered I was, devastated is a good one, shattered also good, heartbroken definitely.
Grieving sounds like something you do when someone dies, and honestly I felt as though this was a death in my womb. As though I had miscarried a real child even though it only existed in my hopeful imagination.
I felt crazy and felt as though I didn’t have the right to grieve because it was all circumstantial, it wasn’t real.
Until that experience I’d never really allowed myself to feel like I could be a parent. To feel like I could really be a parent. I needed to repeat that line because that was how it went in my mind, “you could be a parent, in 8 or so months, you will be a mother to a beautiful child that you created with your body and with love.”
(and yes, I do a lot of “self-talk” – my mind is as active as the movie channel!)
It was an amazing feeling to believe that, and I think that anyone that gets the opportunity to create life is so very fortunate.
I really believed it; I raced ahead in my imagination like it was an absolute. I was picking out names, I tracked the growth of the foetus using a website I found, I imagined what he or she (or sometimes they…twins would have been fun) would look like, I imagined cuddling my child, rocking it to sleep, I imagined the first day of school, the first love, their graduation day, their wedding day, and my first grandchild.
Oh yep, I went that far.
I can only imagine what it’s like to mis-carry a real pregnancy, but in my mind there was no difference between real and what I’d believed for those weeks.
Even after the negative result, my period didn’t come for another 11 days or so…like it was mocking me.
I felt mocked.
I felt ashamed actually, and embarrassed too – I was so sure, and so blissfully happy for those few weeks. Happier than I’ve perhaps ever been, I was euphoric.
For a few days after the news I was listless crying whenever I had a moment alone, and going about the motions of the day-to-day stuff.
Just like any devastation in our lives. Life goes on, and we wonder why it didn’t stop with us. For those few days I was hyper-aware of the amount of pregnancies all around me, it seemed that everyone, in every age-group was rotund and glowing….except me.
I was crying and dying inside.
During that week something else happened (thank the Universe) that would normally have crushed me but as I was already at the bottom, it surprisingly brought me back to life. I started to pick up my pieces and see the blessing in this experience.
My mind soothingly told me to see that this experience had shown me that I really wanted to be a momma, that I not only wanted to be one but I felt I would be a good one, and that I would not only be a good one but that I was ready to be a good one.
And I started to be open to other possibilities, to really consider what it would be like to be a parent, to really start to consider the conversations I’d had with Jennifer about adoption the year before, to really start to get my mind-set into the place where I was ready to take that step forward.
I’d been toying with the idea of adoption since talking with Jennifer, I’d thought of it on and off, but it was always something for the future (distant future) because I was uncertain if I was ready to be a mom.
Between the time of the “phantom pregnancy” (what an awful term for something so devastating), and the time when Jennifer called me to invite me to an information session on Adoption, I looked at several options for having children.
These are outlined in the post Adoption – Maternal Instinct
I nixed all of the options for getting pregnant because to my enormously romantic heart, there is something special about creating life with someone.
I know that many accidents happen, I am aware of the divorce rates, I understand that life is sometimes messy and not always beautiful, and babies are created through many different routes. And no matter how they are created, babies, children, each and every one of us as human beings, is a gift to be treasured.
But for me personally, the creation of life within my body is something I only want to do with someone I love with all of my heart and soul, someone I believe I will love for the rest of my days, even if our relationship doesn’t last that long.
Creating a life within my body is the greatest gift of love I can give. It’s my “virginity” if you will, it’s the thing I’ve held most dear and I am most reluctant to give it away on a whim.
In the quiet moments, sometimes the desire for the “phantom child”, that I believed was real, hits me like a landslide and I dissolve into heart wrenching sobs. On reflection though, I believe that the yearning I feel in those moments is more about the desire to be with the man who feels like the love of my life with whom I want to produce the gift of life, rather than about the creation of life itself.
That was another great thing to acknowledge.
Oh, and, my period has been like clockwork every month since that “incident”.
As if it was a nudge (or a big, hard, shove) from the Universe to say, “you are ready, Ali, take the plunge. You can be the parent you want to be, and you have skills and experience that will be a really good fit for kids who are ready for a family through adoption.” (My own background/upbringing is pretty similar to some of the things a child in foster care will have been through.)
I embraced the idea that I don’t need to give birth to a child or to have an infant to be a mom, and that both of those things may not even be right for me as a person at this point in my life.
Adoption may be why I have not had children to date, because maybe my children were out there waiting for me to be ready (not literally waiting 40 years for me to be ready! But you know what I mean).
It feels so right to me this path that I’m walking right now with adoption, and it feels as though the Universe was orchestrating my life based on my desires all along.
As it always has, and always will.
And if the man of my dreams comes along in the future, he will fall in love with me AND my children at that point in time – or he won’t be the man of my dreams. 🙂
Warm smiles and Love,
Ali Jayne 🙂