It was November 14, 2009 when I took my last birth control pill. My husband and I decided that 2010 was the year we were going to have a baby. I went to the OB in December for my yearly well-woman visit and talked to my doctor about our plans to try to conceive. She wrote me a prescription for prenatal vitamins and said, “It takes most couples your age six to eight months of trying before the they are successful. Just have fun.”
We continued to use protection until January and in our first unprotected cycle were blessed enough to get pregnant. I was that woman: the one whom women who have been trying to conceive for years, want to punch in the uterus.
Here I am, a year later, a year after stopping my birth control pill, one unsuccessful pregnancy later wondering, “What the hell happened?”
I know I’m being a whiny little…ahem. I know there are women out there who want to punch me in my uterus and say “At least you were able to get pregnant once. That means you can do it again.” I know that I have no room to complain because we haven’t been actively and unsuccessfully trying for more than 12 consecutive months and therefore, I’m not technically infertile.
But I do wonder, what if my first pregnancy was my last pregnancy? How does this story end? Is it happily ever after as so many people try to reassure me? Or is it simply The End? How do I know if I’m on the last page of the last chapter or if I’m just in the middle of the book?
My mom is the kind of person who reads the end of the book before she reads the beginning. If the end is worth it, she’ll go back and read the rest. I wish I could skip ahead to the end of my story to see what kind of ending it has.
There are days — and thankfully fewer and far between — when I look at my reflection and I don’t know who is staring back at me. I’m surprised by how “normal” I look. I don’t mean that to be funny; it’s just that if what appeared in the mirror was a reflection of what was going through my mind, or my heart, then it would be ashen, bruised, exhausted.
My best friend gave birth a week ago. I was looking through her pictures and saw life in her eyes, color in her cheeks and a joy that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on her face. It’s the kind of joy that’s in your eyes and in your soul. Unmistakable. More than just a smile. What’s funny about joy is that you can recognize it immediately. But pain—well that’s a different story.
That’s because pain hides behind a smile and behind, “I’m good.” Pain hides behind normal. Pain won’t show up in the mirror.
You can hide pain and you can fake joy. I’ve gotten pretty good at both. It’s an exhausting existence though. Also exhausting is the battle between joy and pain when they exist in the same space. When I look at my friend’s pictures, I am simultaneously caught in her joy and suffocating from pain. It leaves me craving and dreading. Thirsty and saturated. Full and starving.
I want to celebrate and love and at the same time it feels treacherously deceitful to my feelings.
I pick up the phone to call her because I want all the details and I want to hear how she is, and how the baby is. I want to gush and God, I miss her. But every time I pick up the phone, I freeze. My heart skips a beat and I’m reminded of what was lost and I can’t breathe. Joy. Pain. Joy. Pain. Joy. Pain.
I will call…soon. But at this moment in time, this is how I show love and joy:
Welcome to the world Aiden James and my sincerest love and congratulations to your wonderful parents.