Playing with baby dolls. That’s the first time you remember wanting to be a Mommy. The Mommy. And like every other little girl with a baby doll, you knew when you grew up that you would have a little girl who would look at you and call you Mommy. You were going to meet Prince Charming, get married and have 3-4 children.
Yeah, that didn’t happen. Instead, you got married at 35. You knew my biological clock was ticking, but your husband convinced you that you should wait at least a year before trying to start a family. Women getting pregnant at 36 was not a big deal. Look at all the famous people having babies after 35. You could do it. You’re healthy.
Instead one year turned into two. And three. And four. You ached every time you saw another Facebook post of your friends celebrating their child’s birthday. You wanted to scream at the mom in the store losing her crap because her child wanted candy. “Do you know what I would give for one screaming baby?” Your friends complaining about how their children were leaving toys on the floor leaves you broken inside wishing you had a reason for the clutter in your house.
As you approached 40, colleagues began to ask when you’re going to have children. Like that’s the conversation you want to have in your office. Family begin inquiring. Everyone wanted to know when is the baby coming. You stop going to church on Mother’s Day because it becomes one big celebration of the uterus. You are surrounded by women being honored for the very thing my body wouldn’t do…make a baby.
You find that you’ve joined this quiet club. Where the members smile at each other knowingly when an outsider makes a truly idiotic comment about adoption, miscarriages, and infertility like “I ate pomegranates for a week and then I got pregnant.” or “You should adopt a baby. My sister did and then she got pregnant within six months.” Members send each other texts and questions about doctors and clinics. The one thing that gets you membership into the club is the password. The password is pain. The pain of knowing that your life is different because you’re not a bio mom.
When you finally decided to see a fertility specialist, he tells you that due to some abnormalities you will not be able to have a child without in-vitro fertilization. It might work but there were no guarantees Yes, it was only one of you and the other person was perfectly normal. You and your partner agree that you won’t blame each other. Instead, you spend the night holding each other.
You want to share this news with the close family so they’ll leave you alone. But out of the fear of being rejected you search online and find a community of women who were struggling with infertility. In the anonymity of the internet, you find sisters who share their hurts, their hopes, and their struggles to become mothers. In addition to the infertility, it turns out that you have fibroids that need to be removed before you can start the in-vitro process. The doctor tells you the fibroids are so extensive, he might have to give you a hysterectomy but he won’t know until he opens your body. You pray and cry again. The surgery goes off without a hitch.
You begin the process by paying thousands of dollars for medication, realizing that your top of the line insurance doesn’t cover a dime (but it does pay for Viagra!)
Next you follow a rigid schedule that has your life times to the minute. That is followed by having your emotions in a constant state of upheaval because of the hormones you are taking. Knowing that you don’t have the money to try this procedure again makes you monitor every meal, every activity. Some shots are difficult to give your self, so your husband had to do it. Can you imagine the sexiness of someone aiming a needle at your posterior every other night? Hot stuff, right. Finally, it’s time for egg retrieval. You hope you have just one decent egg. That’s all you need for a baby. Just one. Now you wait, more shots, more hoping, Yes, there are some fertilized eggs. Will you pick one embryo or two?
Now it’s the day for your procedure. You go into a room with all the hopes and dreams of starting a family of three. You and your husband realize that regardless of the outcome you’re a team. You’re a family. And the love that brought you to one another is the same love that is keeping you together. Your husband kisses your forehead, you pray, you hold hands, and then you wait. You wait for two weeks to learn if your body accepted or rejected the fertilized egg. This is the longest two weeks of your lives. You start an internal conversation that seems endless. Would your uterus accept a life this time? Are you too old? Did you wait too long to become a mom? You return to your online support system. When you are waiting on the results you submit your screenname to the group and they pray, send good thoughts and wish you plenty of something like fairy dust — “sticky dust”. The doctors tell you not to take an at home pregnancy test because you can sometimes receive a false positive. No one waits the two weeks. No one. Because after all the time, money, shots, and tears. You need to know. You really need to know.
I took the test. I kept the picture. Two lines. That’s all I needed to see.
Yes, I have a daughter now. I have a little girl, who looks nothing like me. She hates chocolate and loves sports. But I do get kisses and hugs. I’m older than I thought I would be. She is an only child. We cannot ever add another child to our family biologically. That’s a story for another time. And now I’m the mom at the store sighing about the candy dispute, wishing I could get a full night’s sleep.
But then I look at her face when she’s sleeping and I know how blessed I am for this one child regardless of the journey.