By Katrina Blaydon
I will be 34 in a few months and my husband of 3 years and I have been trying to have a baby for the past year and a half. I have PCOS and do not ovulate. He, however, is just fine. So, if I take a course of fertility drugs every month on particular dates, I ovulate. Problem solved. So, it was a very frustrating process to learn that every four weeks, we would face another heartbreak, despite physically being “able.” And it was less than comforting, when our wonderful doctor, whom we trust, said point blank, “I’m sorry you aren’t pregnant yet. I’m frustrated about this too, and I can’t explain it.”
Every month, we would anxiously and silently go out of our minds with a mix of excitement and sorrow, hope and heartbreak. Then one day, as I got teary eyed by myself at work in the bathroom stall discovering once again that I was not to be a mother, I decided that I could not do it one more time. I spoke with my husband, who is wonderful, who loves me and wants me to be happy, but who also wants to a father. We decided together, for our sanity and health, we needed to consider a way for us to “move on” and pursue other plans.
That entire time of hope and heartache, I had to live in a state of “maybe” and “what if.” Could I take Advil for a headache if I’m possibly pregnant? I had a cold this past winter, and I couldn’t take Dayquil, in case “maybe” I was pregnant. I couldn’t plan a beach trip with my girlfriends because maybe I would be pregnant by then and wanted to save my time off for maternity leave. I couldn’t plan my life; I couldn’t even cure a headache… That’s when I realized: I need to learn to move past “the maybe” of it.
It was a feeling of pure anger and fury over the situation. I likened it to seeing myself as a child stomping my feet and pumping my fists at God, saying, “I want this and you won’t give it to me!” And to be honest, those feelings were worse than feeling sad every four weeks because after that sadness, I could find hope again. But knowing that, after this anger would come bitterness for friends and coworkers who announced joyfully planned pregnancies, wasn’t easy to grasp.
As with anything, it got worse before it got better, and it took a few months to reach a point of not feeling red hot at the thought of it. I started attending church after months away, as if I were being the stubborn child who rebelled, saying, “I’ll show Him!” The truth was, I was too angry and too bitter to pray. I couldn’t praise a God who decided that a homeless teenager, or a crack addict, or a single mom who couldn’t feed the six children she already had, was destined to be a parent, instead of us. I couldn’t understand that, and I still don’t. I still get red cheeked when I think about that, but it’s not 24 hours a day anymore of anger. It’s not a sleepless night every single evening of the week anymore, and it’s not a daily breakdown in tears anymore. I’ve made great progress.
Learning to move past the state of maybe, was the only way I could allow myself any peace. I am not going to lie and say that I don’t feel those same feelings when I get invited to a first birthday party or the worst of them all, the baby shower. And yes, something like a bomb explodes in my chest when someone unknowingly asks me, “Are you two going to be next?” or “So, when are you two going to start a family?” And yes, I still cry sometimes, just because I feel sad about it. But, overall, my general day to day life is not consumed by it.
By working to accept a childless status, it’s brought me peace and a feeling of knowing the pressure is off. I can make other plans. I’m finally able to let go and feel “lighter” somehow without this unfinished agenda constantly in the back of my head. I try to be thankful for a good night’s sleep, or to have a free weekend to get away with my husband, or spend Saturday mornings gardening instead of dashing to and from soccer fields. We enjoy a spontaneous date night on a Wednesday without worrying about a sitter and bath time routines. We are thankful to have time to enjoy our friends. I enjoy quiet time for myself and yet, I still cry about all the silence in our house. But learning to move past “maybe” has let my heart rest and it’s let my mind relax, and it allowed me to pursue a greater health and wellness plan for my body. Maybe that’s when it’s time to move past the maybe and learn to consciously enjoy the life you are living. After all, the “maybe” will be there whether you are planning on it or not. And as one of my most encouraging friends told me, “Plans can be changed.” Yet another thing for which this infertile woman is thankful.
Katrina has her B.A. from Penn State University. She lives in central PA with her husband of three years.