Friday, September 21, 2012

Can you imagine not having a child?

As you look at your baby in your arms, re-counting his fingers and toes, admiring her long eyelashes, feeling the heartbeat, you look forward to explore the world with the new family member. 
Can you imagine a life without your baby?  No patting his back to hear him burp; no raspberry-blowing on her soft belly, or no tickling to hear his laugh?

As you pick your toddler to put him on his tricycle, laughing at her mess as she samples her first birthday cake, and reading the book “The Hungry Caterpillar” with him on your lap, you cherish the moments.
Can you imagine living without your toddler?  No squeaky toys to pick up, no kissing ‘ouches’, no “good night, moon” reading at bedtime?  

As you watch your son stepping into the school bus, kissing her trembling pout as she looks at the teacher for the first time, and his smile of pride as he gives you his test with ‘B+’ in blue, you’d think you’d never give up remembering those times. 
Can you imagine driving by a school, no one to jump out of your car; no one blowing a kiss for you to catch; or no announcing losing the hamster during the show-tell?  

As you walk to the mall in a mixture of excitement and dread knowing you’re going into a battle with your daughter over clothes again, paling as you open the cellphone bill yet knowing that’s somewhat expected, or looking on with pride as he scores a goal at the  soccer tournament, you chuckle in fond remembrance. 
Can you imagine not being there to hold her as she cries about her first break-up; not being there when he goes, “Mom…!” as he rolls his eyes; or not giving a high-five as she comes home excited, to exclaim she got accepted for the middle school basketball team?

As you tremble in thought of him learning to drive, arguing with her about her outfit on way to school, and dreading have the Talk with your teenager, you convince yourself that it is worth the entire struggle to see him become a young adult.  
Can you imagine missing seeing her smile at you shyly in her prom dress, and, missing out on cheering as he opens his letter of acceptance to his college, or missing the opportunity to be there at her undergraduate graduation?  

Now, you know that’s what you’re expecting as a mother.
Now can you imagine what it is like for us non-moms? Can you imagine what we feel as we hear and see your babies and the potential, knowing we are living without?  

As you look at your baby, can you imagine living not having your life without a child?   
Neither could we imagine.  We didn’t expect that either. 
For many of us, we have to live without children due to circumstances and infertility. 

Can you imagine how you would feel if someone tells you, “you can’t have a baby;”  “Your egg didn’t take in this 9th attempt;” or “After all that tests and interventions, I’m sorry to say we may have to consider that you cannot have children after all”?   Look at your baby and can you consider what it’s like not having a baby?
Could you imagine how you’d feel if someone suggest adoption after you had already considered countless times, when we had asked the bank for a loan for the third time to be rejected, and when we went through months of home study to be told that the birth mother picked the other couple over us?  Search your baby’s face and can you wonder the heart-wrenching frustration? 

Now, can you see why it is heartbreaking for many of us, to even smile with you bravely, yet experiencing heartache?  Can you see how we have to be strong, struggling not to break down in tears, as you look down at your baby and melt in his smile?  

Hence, give her a break when your sister is not up to coming to your baby shower.  Accept if not understand, when the friend does not want to experience living vicariously through your pregnancy.   Ask, without presuming, whether that your cousin would want to hear about how it went for the first day of school or not.  Offer consideration of visiting your child, “when you are ready” to your sister-in-law, instead of saying “oh, you can take my baby anytime” in a humorous way.  

Be compassionate yet not pitying us.   After all, we have to find our courage to live without children.  Be supportive, yet not judging us.   After all, we have to adjust to a child-free life and learn to live fully.   Love us, yet not forget us.  After all, we didn’t forget you, our friends, our sisters, our aunts, our cousins.   We try to be there for you, but sometimes we need you to be there for us too.  

Can you imagine doing that?  

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's all lies

 Lately, I find myself in a bout of emotions, crashing and rolling like waves.     Lately, there have been times when I'd encounter so many photos of babies, baby announcements, even a photo of a dead baby in its coffin (who'd even think sharing THAT on Facebook?), and....

I throw in the towel.  

I see people share posts of loving their mothers, loving their children, being so grateful of being a mom, and I kept thinking, "is it me or are they doing that on purpose to rub it in?"  Several times I remind myself, they have the reason to be happy.

A part of me then snaps, "Then why can't I either be happy?"

 *sigh*  No way to go around that right now.  And I think what adds to the complication is that I'm not in a relationship, so I don't have someone, where I could let go and be told it's okay.  

I was getting to know someone.  He knew of my situation.  Yet I knew then he didn't 'get it' when he asked "what if I wanted children later on? What if I want to have kids? I don't want adoption but children of my blood."  and I looked at him and said, "that's something you have to think on."    

I knew it when later on when I heard nothing from him.  

It has been seven months since the hysterectomy.    The world has been moving on, while I find myself stuck.     I have said that I have been okay.    Things are good.    Things are going good.  I'm better.  

Guess what?  It's all lies.     I'm not okay.   I find myself hateful- angry- bitter- tearful- sad.  

I hate 'em.     I hate that they have babies and I don't.    I hate guys who think they can decide for us women.  I hate the cultural mentality that a woman is nothing without children.  I hate women who think everything can be fixed by having children.  "If I can't find a job,  might as well have a baby!"    "To save my marriage, I gotta be pregnant."  "Everyone else is pregnant, so if I am not pregnant, I'm a freak."    I hate 'em.  

I am angry that I didn't get a say in having children or not.  I am angry that everyone else around me is able to pop babies out, except me.   I am angry about the woman who had killed her unborn baby a week before its due date.  I am angry at the world for moving on.  I'm angry at idiots who feel women should keep their legs crossed, blaming the woman for rates of pregnancy when clinics providing birth control, one by one, are shut down in name of  "religion."   I am angry at people who want small government, yet is fine with the concept of having government in our bedrooms, even in our beds (or bathtub or car or on the beach.) I am angry that I am infertile.  

I am also bitter at ex friends who claimed they were friends, but when they found out I couldn't have children, they dropped me like a hot potato.  Such pals I had...  Bitter at folks who said they'll be there as they did a week after my surgery, and then they disappeared off the surface of the world, basically blocking me, not explaining- nothing.  At least I'm entitled to an explanation, wouldn't you think? Now I find them on another page under a different name (while a friend left a comment on my page), brown-nosing someone I knew.  They had fed on each other, being supportive of each other on the surface, yet being so hateful behind each other's back, being angry that one copied one other, "She got that idea from me, I'm sick of it!" and "Can't she be original, why does she copy me in everything?"  I could tell one other about what they had talked about each other behind each other's back, and me trying to stay neutral all through it, with ugly truths, but why should I open a can of worms?  I have enough on my own hands without dealing with their drama.  Beside if they could do that to someone (me) who trusted them during a vulnerable time, I wouldn't trust them again, as far as I could throw them.  Burned once, lesson learned.  

I am tearful here and there.   My eyes fill up with tears looking at a baby announcement I got in mail.  I wipe tears away as one new grandmother joyfully shares a photo of her holding her grandson. I reach for a tissue as I finish a movie 'Bride Wars' with such dismay, as two characters look at each other, "you're pregnant?" with excitement. I struggle not to cry as a co-worker talks with other about their babies.  Tears go down cheeks as I touch my hand on the monitor, aching to have my own baby, not even liking that photos of babies are found on Pinterest inadvertently. 

I am sorrow filled.  I grieve that so many things had happened horribly.  I am sad that some folks are dastard, that they would go low to hurt when someone is already low.  I am lying on bed, saddened that sometimes truth hurts, even leaving wounds behind.  

So..I'm better.     That has to be the biggest lie one has to live with in the world of infertility.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012


As y'all know, I had been away visiting family for a week last month.   Don't get me wrong, I love my family- but that trip was also very emotional.

Very emotional.

Grandma has dementia.  Relatives had told me how bad it is, although I kept hoping that it is not that bad as they said- I was thinking back to seniors that I helped taken care of at a senior center many years ago. 

Seeing my grandma, it was both bad and good. 

Relatives took me to see her at a memory care center.  Seeing me, Grandma brightened up as if I was the sun. She opened her arms, I entered them, feeling her love and warmth. It was so obvious she was  happy to see me after a year and half.    To relatives' surprise, Grandma tried to sign- and I recognized some of them- giving me hope that she did indeed recall how we communicate (I was dreading that she'd try to talk with me, forgetting our mode of communication).  We talked a bit, although we wrote forth and back (relative voiced for me.)  I observed that she had lost a lot of weight, she is much smaller.   I kept my tears inward, knowing that if I wept front of her, she'll cry too.  She's certainly empathic.    I left promising that I'll visit her again (daily). 

My aunt cautioned me that Grandma might not remember that I had already visited her, the next time I see her.    That reminded me of one senior consumer I worked with-  basically each day is the first day for her- just like in the movie the 50 first dates. I'd come in, not knowing what to expect from her.  Most of times, working with her was a good experience- most of times. 

The next time I saw Grandma-  she was equally so happy to see me- and I realized- she didn't remember seeing me yesterday.    

My heart broke.  I ached for her. I felt tears filling up in my eyes, and I fought hard not to let them spill out. 

 Watching her and Aunt K chattering,   I realized something.  no matter what, she still remembers loving me, even if it is anew daily. 

And that day when we had the interpreter (as I spoke of in a previous post, not being happy due to the not-qualified interpreter), again Grandma was so happy to see me, not recalling that we had been together the day before.  The interpreter did try to take up the conversation, telling of her own church interpreting or of her children in which I interrupted telling her that it's NOT about her.. It's about me and Grandma, It's our time together.  I found myself balancing my patience and tolerance of the interpreter who kept misunderstanding me, so I'd have to repeat myself two or three times, knowing that I'm losing time (and grandma's energy). 

At that time, I realized I had a gift that Grandma had given to me for years, and this gift is now time to share with her back. 

"Do you remember the house fire?"  Grandma asked. 

The relatives were puzzled- they were uncertain what she was talking about.

I nodded, "yes, which one- one in Henderson or your family home?"  She beamed, "my family home."  That was when she was a child.  I affirmed remembering what she told me.   She was so happy. 

She then talked about cooking certain foods when she was young, or of the pond near her home, and I validated, recalling them with her.  

You see, Grandma had told me her stories when we cooked in the kitchen, me being six years old.   She shared funny childhood stories as we shopped for clothes to fit my adolescent body. She disclosed to  me of  tough times as she grew up while I was visiting her from college.

No one had closely paid attention to her history throughout many years.  I may be deaf, but I listened and memorized her stories.  I wrote them down in my journals as I grew up.  And now I still remember them, now important to her now that she cannot remember her late years, but of only her childhood to when cousins and I were children.    

So those are her stories, her history, her life.  She is re-living her life in the stories, and that's what I can do, and I did.  I remember her stories. 

On the last day, I hugged her, not knowing if I will see her again.  So she knows something, and  we looked at each other.  She did not want to let go.   I glanced back at the door, and she was already disappearing into herself on the sofa. 

She is living in her memories, and I will write this down, another note in my journal, to memorize. 

Another part of Grandma for me to cherish in memory, even with the heartbreak. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Running out

Got permission from a friend for me to share this with y'all.

I'm sure this is old news to fellow  bloggers in the infertility/childless community-  just found out that a friend is pregnant. I was truly surprised since she had said she had no plans to get children- but then again that she said that a while ago.  Now she has a guy, things could have changed, and it certainly did.

My point here is...I'm running out of local friends who don't have children, and I'm getting tired.  I brought it up in a private online board with several friends that I have known for years.  I was admittedly whining about running out of friends because everyone are either pregnant or raising babies.

"Then why don't you get pregnant? You'd not feel left out- you'd be in the mommy club."    Someone (let's call her Marti) said that after I commented about the friend's pregnancy announcement.

.........................................................Oh, you did not so go there. 

I was visualizing myself fetching my baseball bat to go violent on Marti, when someone (let's call her Lisa) else pointed out, "If you had been an attentive good friend, you'd know that she can't have children."

"She can. She has to do it harder. She has to relax, either way it is do-able!"

I was gritting my teeth harder, and was going to lash out on my keyboard when Lisa said, "Where have you been when she had her surgery?"

"I know she had surgery, I sent her some flowers"  (liar, liar pants on fire, never got any flowers from you.)  Was cracking my knuckles, preparing to vomit fire on Marti.  (and yes I know I'm very visual- blame it on my reading comic books for decades.)

Lisa has to have the fastest fingers- she should try for the Guinness World Records.

"H-Ello!!!  She had a hysterectomy- which is not related to women's hysteria, (of course, we shouldn't forget that means you can get hysteria- you on Xanax yet?)  We're back in elementary school, let me educate YOU, hysterectomy means  removal of uterus- you know what uterus is, something to grow a baby inside-not the stork, not that you had paid attention to, but she had hysterectomy to save her life.  So how, you tell me, how would she have children if she doesn't have an uterus anymore? In her kidney?  Oh right, maybe she could get raped- all Akin said she could get pregnant if she gets raped.  Oh wait!  She ought get a non-lesbian to get pregnant for her, after all they say equal marriage would increase rate of abortion, so it's safer that way.   What? You didn't like what I said?"  Lisa tossed out on the board.

"You're cruel, that was absolutely unnecessary, you don't know me, so how dare you judge me? That really hurts"  Marti typed.

'NOW how do you think Jules felt when you said that 'you should get pregnant' and/or 'she has to do it harder?'  Think what you feel,  that's what Jules feels ten times worse right now, capisce?"

Can I say I love Lisa? :)

Nevertheless....  I AM running out of friends here in town that don't have children, and I'm not getting any younger.