Every once in a while, I feel it.
It isn’t there all the time, at least not front and center. It’s mostly waiting in the wings; in the shadows. But sometimes, it sneaks out and starts to smother the light all around its darkness until it finally demands attentions and then BAM! It’s there and it’s ugly and it hurts and it will not go away.
It’s been building for a few weeks now, and it started during the donor cycle. The hormones got the best of me and I tried. I tried even though I knew it wasn’t possible. I tried and I hoped and I prayed, “Please. Please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please.”
Then I went online. I looked and I hoped and I minimized my browser when I was away from my laptop, worried what might come in the mail and what R would think if he saw it. I took the tests in secret and hid them in the bottom of the trashcan.
When the negatives kept coming in, I was fine. When I felt the familiar signs of my time coming, I was fine.
But then I watched Julie and Julia.
In the scene immediately following her sister’s wedding, Julia Child receives a letter from Dorothy telling her that she is pregnant. And Meryl Streep just nails it. She reels and she sits and she says that one sentence and then she weeps into her husband’s shoulder while insisting that she’s so happy. And I felt it, and it hurt, and I wondered if I will feel those things when my sister tells me she is pregnant.
The past week has been hard for me. I am just now realizing that I was hurt by my divorce. I told myself over and over during the process that I was fine. That it sucked and I was stressed but, overall, I was fine. I am learning that I’m not fine. While I don’t mourn the man or the relationship, I was hurt deeply during our marriage. I honestly didn’t know that.
I just didn’t know.
My first marriage robbed me of a lot of things, and I will be working with a counselor to identify those and start healing, but this one is obvious. It is up front and center, demanding attention, and will not be ignored:
My first marriage robbed me of my opportunity to have children.
It took that part of me and threw it away, leaving me here with one beautiful child and without the ability to have more.
I could have made different decisions; I could have gotten re-married to a man who wanted more children, but I just didn’t know.
My first marriage taught me that having children was hard and that I couldn’t handle more. When we split up, I spent ten months as a single mother, and while having a child was challenging, it was easier than it had been during the marriage. But I still felt that one was plenty and I couldn’t handle more.
When I met R, in so many ways, I met a kindred spirit: someone who thought similarly but not the same, who challenged me and loved me, who understood where I’d been and where I wanted to go. We talked about kids before we got married and agreed that we would not have more children; we felt that the children we were bringing into our relationship were enough.
Then it changed.
I saw how marriage was supposed to be, how parenting was supposed to be, and it all changed.
Even though we agreed to this before we got married.
Even though we came to the vasectomy decision as a couple.
Here we are, 32 months later, and I want another child and I know it won’t happen for us. We talk, and he listens, and he loves me through these emotions. He doesn’t hold it against me and he doesn’t freak out. By the end of each conversation, he has me laughing and agreeing that the children we have are enough.
But all that really means is that it has retreated into the shadows.
I try my best to ignore it: I don’t go online, I avoid that section of the stores, I avoid movies that trigger those feelings. I throw myself headfirst into parenting Little K and loving every minute of it, because I know I won’t have these moments again.
But life gets so quiet when she is gone, and I can’t always keep it in check. It slips out of the shadows and waits in the wings for an opening.
I guess that’s one more thing to talk to the counselor about. Man, this is going to take a while.