On our flight to Florida, I sat next to a pregnant woman. She was nice. She had a two-year old child, and we ended up chatting about our kids and how to travel with them. She also talked about her pregnancy experience and … I was really resentful. (Only internally, of course. I’m sure she didn’t notice anything.) And I thought, “Man, not this again.”
If you’ve been following along for any amount of time, you’ll know that Paul and I adopted both our boys. You’ll probably have deduced that we weren’t able to have biological children. And it was a really big deal for a really long time. The trying and the giving up and the grieving and the angst consumed me for years. Years. It was hard on me, it was hard on Paul, it was hard on our marriage.
Before I go on, I want to be crystal clear about this: I could not love my little boys more. I don’t know how it would be possible. Even on the days when I think about running away to Fiji, I love them like crazy. I do not regret anything about them or the way they became part of our family. I wouldn’t give any of it back, even the awful stuff, because all of it got us to right here and right now.
The awful stuff? I got through it, and I got to a place where I really was able to let go of the bitterness and hardly think about it at all. It was a lot of work to get there, and it was worthwhile work.
It was work I thought was done.
But some nice lady on a plane said something about her ankles swelling or whatever (seriously, I don’t even remember), and I was just mad again. No, I don’t really want swollen ankles, and I’ve heard that the labor experience is rather unpleasant. There are women who love being pregnant, but there are certainly those who kind of hate every minute. And truly, do I want to have a baby now, when everyone is using the toilet and can mostly put on their own seat belts? Nahhhhhht really.
And still, I am walking around feeling a little fragile a lot of the time, and I think this is why. (Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Say a prayer for Paul.) I’m re-grieving the fact that I just wasn’t allowed to do that. There is this one part of being a mom that I’m never quite going to get, on a gut level. This is one point of connection that I will never, ever have with other women.
There was a point in my life when I was so sick of hearing myself think about this stuff that I thought I would lose my mind. I was really happy to be done with it.
I will be done again. I know this. It probably won’t be long, and I’ll be back to not thinking about it. I’ll be thinking about something else.
I would like to think there will come a time here on this earth when I am perfectly mature and kind and joyous, and my days of irrational jealousy over the edema of strangers are a distant memory. When old wounds will never reassert themselves. But I doubt it; there will always be something hard. It’s a game of spiritual whack-a-mole.
You are probably facing something hard today. Maybe it’s new and enormous and terrifying. Maybe it’s old and persistent and infuriating. Whatever it is, you are going to whack it. You are. Me too.