One year ago this week, C and I were on a
romantic my-parents-are-in-a-bungalow-right-next-door-to-us getaway to St.
Lucia. Even though we are still routinely mistaken for brother and sister when
we travel with them – no, really, one queen bed will be fine
we told the slightly-horrified-and-unable-to-hide-it Cambodian concierge –
we’re not shy about accepting literally any freebie travel opportunity sent our
And because there’s just something about international travel that screams it’s-time-for-a-baby, we made a decision: we are going to start trying. I had just finished a pack of birth control and for the first time in more than ten years, I would forego a new pack. We even told my parents – which seems much stranger in retrospect than it did at the time.
Had I known then what I know now, would I have proceeded differently?
Would I have ratcheted
down my level of late teen/early twenty pregnancy terror by about eleventy
billion degrees? Umm, YES. Honestly, I have no idea. On one hand, yes I would change everything. But on
the other, bigger hand, what on earth would I have done? Besides never taking
birth control and perhaps remaining completely sedentary, I’m not sure what
realistically would have helped.
But hindsight is 20/20 so here are a few things I’ve learned in twelve months of
seemingly futile trying.
(1) Becoming a mother is a journey, not a destination.
Sike. This isn’t a middle school health classroom poster (just replace “becoming a mother” with “life” or “happiness”. You know, in the same genre as “Math gives you wings!” and “What’s right isn’t always popular, and what’s popular isn’t always right” and you see where I’m going). But seriously, this is taking way longer than we anticipated. We’re like, um, terribly ready to be parents, thankyouverymuch.
(2) A middle-aged man with
disturbingly blond hair considering his age no
ovaries is more familiar with mine than I am
As profoundly expressed by the more astute among us, despite thinking of ourselves as
self-righteous self-aware feminists, many of us know shockingly little
about this body we’ve called home for so many years.
Which is all very surprising because, you know, independent-woman-advanced-degree-etc. Seriously though. I
was thought I
was an A+ feminist in college. In between the peace sign patches on my
backpack, I had a button that said I
Believe Anita Hill; I wore a t-shirt from the 70s that said Liberated Women are Better;
I once marched in some kind of vaguely women’s rightsy thing holding a banana with a condom on it (we were clearly in need
of adult supervision) for more than two hours.
|(Faces obscured to protect the innocent.)|
(Also, can we talk about just how unflattering a torso shot is?)
But I am here to confess: I was a fraud. I couldn’t have told you how ovulation occurs – just that I bled every month with disturbing regularity. I didn’t know about pituitary glands or fallopian tubes and the mention of anything called “cervical mucus” would have probably elicited super mature giggling.
What I’ve come to learn is that what I know about my body has almost nothing to do with the parts. What do I know? What refrain has been drilled into my skull since approximately fifth grade? Don’t get teen pregnant. Also, a penis can’t get stuck inside you and you can’t get pregnant from kissing (thank you anonymous fifth grade health class question series). But mostly, for the love of all things good and right in this world, don’t get teen pregnant. (Ed. Note: this was way before the veritable buffet of poor teenage decision-making that is the 16 & Pregnant/Teen Mom/Teen Mom 2 reality TV explosion. Back then, we didn’t even have Amber’s prison jumpsuit or Chelsea’s erratic, feathered hairstyles to deter us. Sigh.)
(3) Infertility means you see “baby” everywhere you look
The other day I was reading something for work – something harrowing and terribly upsetting about Sudan (my work is nothing if not uplifting) – and one of the refugees in the report was named Winston. For about
five thirty seconds a very loud
voice in my head went like this: Hmmm,
Winston. Winston. Winston,Winston,Winston. Could that be like, a kind of cute,
old school, hipster baby name for my as yet unconceived, unborn child? What kinds of Etsy inspired wall art would
Winston’s nursery have? What kind of animal themed rain boots would Winston wear?
What kind of…
And then it dawned on me that I
am completely psychotic and must get a hold of myself
have lost my ever loving mind.
Also, thank goodness we already
have a girl’s name picked out.
The point is, when you’re riding the infertility train, everything is a nail. No wait, that’s not right. Anyway, where was I: babies! Everywhere. All of the time.
(4) You’re stronger – but also crazier – than you thought
Stronger: I’ve now weathered the no-baby-storm for an entire year; I’ve miscarried; and I’ve been through three rounds of the hormonal jujitsu that is Clomid +/- hamster ovaries. Although there have been
days entire weeks of relationship-testing-attitude-adjustment-disorder,
I can say sincerely that both C and I are stronger than we thought. We’ve
endured a lot – and also like basically
nothing at all relatively speaking, compared to everyone else in the world ever
– and we’ve made it out the other side, with our incredibly dry humor and love
for one another still in tact (I can get sentimental every now and then,
Crazier: much. If you had told me one year ago that I would be regularly contorting myself into a post-coital headstand and blogging about my muffin top, then you
ma’am, would be very mistaken. But here we are.
<And now, please imagine a witty and satisfying this-ties-it-all-together ending. I can’t do all the heavy lifting around here. >
 Take note future innkeepers of America and international tour guides – we are wearing matching rings. forgoodnesssake
 And that something is a voice that calls out mockingly – after you have a baby you will never travel again! <menacing laughter.>
 The best part of which was that when my hair was long, and not pulled back, it fell just so on my shoulders such that the shirt read “Berated Women are Better.” Yes, yes indeed.
 Yes. This really happened. Don’t judge.