The road taken when trying to become a parent is already long enough. You weigh this and that — a new house or a child? My wedding or the birth of someone greater than a piece of paper from the state? Cloth or disposable diapers, when should I start stocking up on either? And then there’s fertility: even if everything checks out fine, you still have a 20% chance of conceiving a child each month.
I was lucky, if you can say that. I found out I was pregnant after my fiancé lost the job he loved for ten years and gained a job he’s been more than complacent with. I took a pregnancy test before heading to work and watched it develop a positive on the counter. I debated texting him immediately and instead decided to wait until payday so I could buy a cute onesie or a blue or pink tie for him to wear to work. But the morning of, I started to bleed heavy thick and red, and I knew it was done. As much as I wanted to build a memorial for the child we lost, I knew there would be many more along the way.
So I did what many women do: I talked to my mother. We spoke for an hour about her six years trying to have me, and she compared it to my one. We talked about how we both can’t stand to look at our pregnant friends, especially when they say it was a complete accident or a surprise, and how even touching a newborn brings us to tears of failure and regret.
We talked about how we feel betrayed by our own bodies.
I should be holding my stomach and feeling her settle into my pelvis. I should be putting together a nursery, or arranging the furniture. I want to be able to stock up on the things I need like diapers, bottles, formulas, and clothes. I should have been getting ready to have a child on Thanksgiving day, and not waking up crying because the kicks I felt weren’t real. I should finally realize that the baby I imagine who needs me so much is in reality the neighbor’s newborn son who sleeps in a room next to our apartment.
I don’t want to go through IVF. I don’t want to go on Clomid. I don’t want to have to be poked and prodded and testing like some kind of show and tell mare. I refuse to turn my walls into piles of charts with temperatures and cervical positions/mucus. I really don’t want anything to interfere with my pregnancy except for nature and I don’t understand what is so wrong about that.
There is something my mother did tell me, though. Something that struck close to my heart as a slightly hefty girl:
“Every mother has stretchmarks, right? They are like little badges of motherhood. Consider yours a badge of the awesome mother you’re going to become and wear them with pride.”
So although I may never meet my child in this life, although I may never hold her close, read her a story and tuck her into bed while telling her how much I love and care for her, I know she has in the long run made me a better mother by far.