The Journey

For my regular readers, just a warning that this post is a bit…darker and heavier than my usual posts.  Writing is therapy and I’ve needed to get this out for a long time.

For everyone else – there is cussing contained within.  Consider yourself warned.

The Journey

I don’t expect you to understand why I am who I am or why I am the kind of mother that I am.

I don’t expect you to know what it is like to spend ten years trying to become a mother, spanned over 2 different husbands and a marriage that fell apart partially because I couldn’t conceive, or to have not 1 but 2 boyfriends tell you that they weren’t sure they could marry you because you might not be able to make babies.

I don’t expect you to know the paralyzing fear of attempting to conceive in my own body, knowing that everything I did or didn’t do could potentially harm a baby growing inside of me because of my own medical conditions.  I don’t expect you to sympathize that I often wonder if that fear is the reason why I didn’t conceive.

I don’t expect you to comprehend the bewildered astonishment of a positive home pregnancy test after a “one last time” interlude with my estranged ex-husband.  I don’t expect you to feel the disbelief of that pink plus sign, after 1 failed IVF and 2 failed IUI treatments.  I don’t expect you to get that I had to race to my brother’s house with the pee stick in my hand to ask him if HE thought it said “Positive” and then even when he agreed that he too saw the pink plus,  I still had to go to the local E/R to get a blood test done,  because my own pee was not trustworthy enough.

I don’t expect you to understand the devastation one week later, when I saw those spots of blood, knowing what they meant but still having to return to that E/R to wait 6 hours to be told that the sac was no longer attached to my uncooperative uterus.  I don’t expect you to grasp the horror of feeling and then seeing that unattached sac exit my body.

I don’t expect you to know what it is like to fall in love with someone who tells you AFTER you’ve fallen that he’s had a vasectomy when the only thing you’ve ever wanted your whole life was to be a mother.  Or to wonder if your decision to stay with him and pursue a reversal is a decision that will forever prevent you from becoming a mother.  Or to know that the semi-failure of the reversal coupled with your own failed fertility equated to three more failed IVF’s.  I don’t expect you to understand what it’s like to deal with all of these fertility failures, while having the evidence of that man’s fertile-on-the-first-try first marriage living in your home half of the time.  I don’t expect you to sympathize with trying to hide the shame and fear and embarrassment and pain of your own union’s infertility from that evidence so his mother won’t be even more smug than she already is in her thinking that SHE is the only one who will EVER provide a genetic link to your husband, while telling that link that he is his father’s only “real” child when she found out about our plans to adopt.

I don’t expect you to know about the urge to scream with rage from the physical pain of the daily multiple injections of drugs and hoping upon hope that the reports you read are wrong about the fact that they can cause cancer.  I don’t expect you to get the disgust of waking up soaked in your own hot-flash sweat from those high-dose hormones or the daily blood tests from veins that never gave up blood easily before fertility treatments, never mind how they began to look like veins of a heroin addict after 3 months of almost-daily torture to them.  I don’t expect you to know the initial shame and embarrassment that soon turns to numb indifference after a different person probes my most private area on a daily basis. I don’t expect you to get how the cocktail of hormones made me cry at the slightest provocation, yet also created volcanic anger explosions for the most minimal of offenses.

I don’t expect you to know the disappointment of finding out that your eggs and your husband’s sperm, and then a strangers sperm, failed to create an embryo, and then failed to create an embryo that bothered to stay alive long enough to put back inside your uterus, yet have the doctor put 4 dead embryos inside of you anyway in case your uterus could magically awaken the dead and create a baby out of those useless microscopic dead cells.

I don’t expect you to comprehend the agony of the Two Week Wait between the transfer of embryos into my uterus and the morning 2 weeks later when the pregnancy blood test is done, all the while begging those microscopic assholes to please, please, please stick to my uterus and dig themselves a comfy little nest for the next nine months.

I don’t expect you to know what it feels like to wait that morning at home alone after the blood test is drawn, sitting with the phone in your hands, dying for it to ring, but terrified it will ring and wondering why the FUCK it hasn’t rang yet and trying to find something to occupy your mind while you wait out those hours when nothing on this earth could possibly do that.

I don’t expect you to understand what it’s like to get that phone call alone, yet at the same time be so glad that nobody is there to witness your ugly cry breakdown on your hands and knees on the floor after you throw the phone against the wall when you hang up.

I don’t expect you to feel the crushing, tidal-wave blow of hearing “Your blood test was negative” from the IVF nurse on the phone, not once, not twice, but SIX times over a 10 year eternity.

I don’t expect you to applaud the teeth marks in my tongue from not telling that same IVF nurse to fuck off with her sympathetic voice when she delivered that news each time.

I don’t expect you to feel bad for me about the wasted loss of all that money spent for NOTHING.

I don’t expect you to understand what it is like to grow up your whole life believing that one of the world’s expectations of you as a woman is to have a baby, to become a mother, and then to know that you are a failure as a woman when you fail to create and produce that baby for motherhood.

I don’t expect you to feel the fury towards Mother Nature for making you suffer through a period every single month for NOTHING if you can’t even have a baby, long after you’ve accepted that you’re not getting pregnant ever, and wishing your entire female reproductive system would just piss off.

I don’t expect you to appreciate actually looking forward to menopause just to finally feel like you really are like other women.

I don’t expect you to empathize with the bitter resentment felt for the man who expected me to plan HIS child’s birthday party one week after the news of our final failed IVF in Europe, because he HAD a kid and could never truly comprehend my pain.   I don’t expect you to get that I really wanted to fall to the floor kicking and screaming as we walked past the Baby section that day in Toys R Us while looking for a gift for HIS child.

I don’t expect you to comprehend that even now, even after my acceptance of our infertility and the absolute knowledge that my daughter was meant to be with me, even with my acceptance that I will NEVER feel a baby I helped create grow and move inside of me, never see that baby leave my womb and watch it take its first gulp of air, first scream, first look at the world – even NOW, I feel a tiny little stab in my soul when I see a pregnant woman or a baby or read about a pregnancy or see a newborn baby picture.  I don’t expect you to get that while I am at peace with my destiny, there are some wounds and scars that will never completely heal.

I don’t expect you to understand that FINALLY becoming a mother completed me, despite those wounds and scars.  My daughter gave me peace.  And yes, she is MY daughter.  She has a father, but she is mine, and I don’t expect you to understand that, either.  She provided the balm for a 10 year quest that nearly destroyed me more than once because I had no comprehension during the journey that she was my destination.

I don’t expect you to comprehend that I wake, live, eat, breathe, exist for my daughter.  My love for my daughter consumes me.  She is the meaning of my life and the purpose of my existence.  I don’t expect you to understand that any harm to her, or Dear Sweet God above NO!, the loss of her, would destroy me.   That is not drama, it is fact.  I don’t expect you to comprehend why my thoughts would even go there because I don’t expect you to understand that I am too old, too emotionally spent and too financially drained to endure the journey of another adoption.  I don’t expect you to empathize with why I worry about harm coming to her, after everything I’ve been through to finally be her mother.  Nor do I expect you to get my fear of my own death before she becomes an adult, as she would also be destroyed.  No, that is not ego.  I simply understand that there are only so many hurts a young, beautiful heart can possibly survive, and hers is at capacity.

I  don’t expect you to understand that every person, place, thing, new environment, new experience is a potential threat to my daughter, in my mind.  Although it may not seem that way sometimes, I try my very hardest to not allow the world’s threats to stand in the way of allowing her to experience the world as a beautiful, educational, magical place without fear.   I don’t expect you to understand that if my choice is between keeping her safe or hurting someone else’s feelings, she will ALWAYS stay safe, and that I don’t really care if you don’t see the same risks to her safety that I see.

I don’t expect you to comprehend the unbelievable pressure I put on myself to be a perfect mom, all the while knowing that such a thing doesn’t even exist, because  I waited, I begged, I pleaded, I cried, I prayed, I suffered and I was finally rewarded with her, so I must demonstrate my gratitude and deservedness by being the best mother I can be at all times, even though I’m not and I can’t.

I don’t expect you to know or understand any of these things.  This is my journey…

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17 thoughts on “The Journey

  1. Powerful, Powerful post!
    I salute you. It’s your journey entirely but I just want to tell you, you’re a fantastic woman and a mother. You inspire many including me.
    Who says biology plays a role in attachment? It’s all in the heart.

    Bravo for writing this!
    Much love and stay blessed!

  2. Wow – you don’t expect me to understand but I do… That brought up so many memories I had stuffed away. What a sad experience this all is… unbearable at times. I am glad you found some happiness after so much heartbreak.

  3. “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve such beauty.” ~Maya Angelou. YOU are that butterfly. xoxo

  4. Wow Jackie what a journey. I don’t know you that well but now I think I know you a little better. I can relate to some of what you have been through and believe that you writing this is helping woman out there that have gone through similar situations. I am glad that you wrote this and applaud you for being such a brave, strong and amazing woman. No mother is perfect, but what matters at the end is that your child does. You are here to please her not the world. You are doing a terrific job and don’t let anyone tell you any different. xoxo

  5. What a powerful and poignant post. This must have been so difficult for you to write and share. Thank you for doing so. I have so much respect for you and all that you have endured ❤

    • Thank you for your kind words, Fariha. It was difficult to write – it took almost a year to get it all out! I didn’t have much energy left to edit it properly, so it’s a bit of a “rough cut” post for me! I finished it many months ago, but wasn’t ready to share it at the time. I did so now because I hope other women, despite my phrasing, DO identify with my journey and don’t feel that they are all alone in their similar journeys.

      • That’s part of the beauty of blogging. Sometimes when we take that giant leap of faith with an issue, we’re surprised to see how many others can relate. I could feel the raw emotions and thought it was just perfect. *hugs*

  6. I completely understand the urge to want to be a mom, to have a successful pregnancy. After being blessed with three children, the urge to have another never went away. I don’t know why. What I do know though, is you don’t have to give birth to be a wonderful parent, I’ve seen it in action, and I am sure you are one of those fantastic parents by opening your heart to adopting a child. I believe that is far harder than giving birth, love does not always come easily.

    • Thank you Catherine. I’m not always a wonderful parent – we all have our moments! I simply opened my heart in order to fill my heart – I didn’t adopt for her, I did it for purely selfish reasons – I wanted so badly to be a mom! Giving birth is hard, being a mom is hard – we’re all in this together and love is really the payoff, isn’t it?

  7. No one understands what it’s like to be You. Me. Us. Sometimes it makes me glad that others don’t understand. Other times I feel so alone. What I’ve realized is that more people get it then I ever knew. Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself to help us understand a bit more. Thinking of you. Besos, Sarah

    • Thank you for your sweet comments, Sarah. I wrote from the “I don’t expect you to understand” context because I know when I was deep in the thicket of my infertility, I felt as though nobody did understand. I felt totally alone, as though I was the only woman on earth who couldn’t make a baby. Which of course was so far from the truth! But I wrote this post from that perspective to hopefully help women who are currently feeling that way if they too are struggling with infertility. We are sometimes alone in certain aspects of our life journey, but there is always somebody, somewhere who can relate and understand. xo

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