On the other side of the story is the emotional turbulence that shook me to my core.
I wish I could tell you that I faced adversity with a brave smile, that I refused to let fear, anger and self-pity get a foothold. Instead, I felt more like a person under a dark spell — like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, craving and despising that one precious thing, losing myself in order to find it.
I coped by avoiding. I stopped going to baby showers. I stopped holding babies. I stopped looking at babies passing in strollers. I stopped watching TV diaper commercials and shows where anyone was having a baby. I stopped going to any sort of gathering where someone might ask if I had or wanted kids.
I stopped feeling happy for people who became pregnant. When my older brother e-mailed to say his wife was pregnant with their second child, I burst into tears — first of sadness, then of shame.
I began to think of myself as an “underdeveloped woman,” like a tween girl wondering when she’ll hit puberty like the rest of the gals.
I couldn’t break into that club of women who define their femininity by their power to create, to endure the throes of childbirth, to nurture.
The negativity had accumulated to the point where, as much as I wanted a baby of my own, the mere mention of them had become intolerable.
At a recent retirement party for one of the nurse practitioners at his Hamilton office, Dr. Stopps — who has worked with thousands of prospective parents over the past 38 years — admitted to me that the one thing he doesn’t understand is the persistence.
Why do people keep trying? Why do they put themselves through so much?
My answer: It’s more than wanting a baby. It’s wanting to fit in, wanting to graduate through the stages of life, wanting to fulfil the dreams of marriage and family, wanting some piece of yourself to remain after your death.