I've kept a journal since 2000. That journal chronicles so many changes in my life, new jobs, new cities, new friends, and new loves. It is a written record of my relationship with Karl from the moment that he was "some guy on eharmony." I can go back and read my feelings during our long distance relationship, the anticipation I felt as our wedding day approached, and the excitement of those newlywed days.
The first talk of babies in that journal began in November 2005, right after our first wedding anniversary. I went off birth control that month, feeling confident in "our plan" to begin officially trying in February 2006. My thoughts there were optimistic, excited, and perhaps a little naive. Karl and I would conceive our first child while on vacation in Florida, because that is what happens when you time things right and you cut out caffeine and you take your prenata vitamins, right?
Not for us.
I can read through those entries now and watch as my excited "Maybe this is our month..." turns into "Next month will definitely be our month..." and finally "What did I do to deserve this?" I can look back and relive those first frightening doctors appointments when I said out loud for the first time that I thought maybe there was something wrong with me. I am reminded of the first months we tried drugs and how I suddenly had new hope. A pill could fix this. A pill could make me a mommy.
But sometimes pills just aren't enough.
And when you want nothing more in the world than to be a mommy, days like Mothers Day seem especially brutal. The commercials on tv seem to mock you. The long wait for a table at a restaurant suggests you should just stay home since you have nothing to celebrate. I stumbled upon this entry from just before Mother's Day 2007:
" I had a lot of hope this time around. Sometimes things just seems to be blessed. They fall into place when you're not even thinking about it. And maybe because it's May. Because it's almost 3 years since we lost Aunt Sherry. Because it was just days before Mothers Day.
And it helped that my body seemed to be giving me every signal in the book. Sore boobs, exhaustion, a constant weird taste in my mouth, nausea, even bleeding gums.
But all those symptoms-- they don't equal a positive pregnancy test.
All that hope doesn't mean you get what you want.
It just means it makes it all the more difficult when you fail.
It's not my month.
And in the spirit of learning something out of all of this-- I've learned it's a bad idea to run to the grocery right after such a realization. I don't like the type of person I become when I find myself staring at other women and wondering what they did to deserve their babies.
Maybe next month."
It turned out "next month" wouldn't be the month either. It would take 15 more months full of tests, and drugs, and tears before I saw that positive pregnancy test. And now, almost 9 months later, it still doesn't seem 100% real. I guess in all the years of guarding my heart against another disappointment, I've forgotten what it feels like to get exactly what I want.
So on this Mothers Day, I am thankful for the blessing we waited so long for. But a part of my heart still hurts because I know I didn't walk that long infertility road alone. I know that tonight there is a woman who will cry herself to sleep, trying not to wake the husband sleeping next to her. She will wonder if she'll ever hold a baby in her arms. She will long for the sleepless nights and the dirty diapers and the grubby hands. She will pray once again for the strength to cast her hopes on "next month."
Tonight, that woman and all the others like her are in my prayers.