A few years ago I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Erin, who was talking about her struggles with infertility. At the end of the piece, she said this after particularly discouraging news from her OB/GYN about her prospects for conception, “This, I thought, might have to be enough, as we made our way back to Chicago, to our dog, to our home.”
While reading that sentence, even now, makes me immediately well with tears, I’m happy to tell you in the time since that post, Erin and her husband Scott have gone on to have a beautiful little girl.
“Might have to be enough.” I’ve thought hard about those words in the last few years; even more so recently. Is it enough for this life to be without a child? For me, I don’t think so.
The first question I inevitably get surrounding this topic is why my ex-husband and I never had any kids in the 12 years we were together. The short answer is I wasn’t ever ready because somehow I knew it wasn’t right. And today, three years after our divorce, I have no regrets about not having a baby while I was married. I believe to the core of my soul it was what was meant to be. But now? Now I’m ready. I’ve been ready for a while, actually. Not, like, throbbing ovaries and uncontrollable crying at baby showers ready, but ready nonetheless.
My eagerness to reproduce begs the question: can I? I’m 36. Far beyond the threshold for high-risk pregnancy and with some issues that could quite literally prevent me from getting pregnant to begin with, I’m a little concerned. There is, of course, the whole “sperm” issue. I’ve long talked about going to a sperm bank and taking advantage of their services. But let’s be real. It’s not cheap. And I don’t have $8K or more lying around, even for something this important to me.
More than that though, I want to have a child the old-fashioned way — with a man I’m in love with. I want a tiny little peanut that has my eyes and his nose and a great big personality all their own. I want to share in the creation and raising of my baby with another human, not a test tube. I realize people of all sorts go to many lengths to get pregnant and I’m not saying I won’t too, if circumstances warrant it. I’m just saying, well, I’d like to exhaust all other possibilities first.
I don’t have a lot of time on my hands here. One of the crueller jokes of being a thirty-something woman, the clock that my ovaries keep time to is slowing down. The second-hand is a bit more labored in its movement. The rhythmic sound of the ticktock is becoming fainter. I worry about that fact most days.
What helps is that I’m blessed with so many special little ones in my life. My family and friends have grown their own families and I get to reap the spoils of that too. I love spending time with all of them, seeing them grow and make milestones. I love that they love me. I’m definitely a “kid person.”
But as much as I love them all more than I could ever convey, there’s something in my gut that tells me I’m meant to know the love of my own child.
I have an amazing support system as I go through the ups and downs and decision-making that inevitably comes with the idea of pregnancy. I have a best friend who – despite having suffered through a tough second pregnancy of her own that included preeclampsia – has genuinely offered to be my surrogate, should I need one. I have women close to me who’ve fully indulged my desires to talk about artificial insemination over the years – some going so far as to request to be part of the “daddy picking expedition.”
More than anything, seeing the women in my life get pregnant time and again gives me hope. As I type that sentence, I realize they probably don’t know that fact. You’d probably think my first feelings would be those of jealousy. But they’re not. Never have been.
So, where does that leave me? Mostly, in a position to make some decisions about my life, where it is and where I want it to head. And whether I’m prepared to go it alone, or willing to wait for what’s meant to be…to be. For now, I wait.
And what of Erin’s post? I’m not sure I can say that what I have is enough for this life. It might have to be. But I’m not ready for that just yet.
This post is dedicated to all the sweet babies in the pictures you see here, and all the other kids I love, for bringing such joy to my life. And to their parents for showing me, without doubt, that what I want is worth waiting for.