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Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

Baby Choices & My Internal Bitch

I was parked outside the nail salon hoping to tame my oh-so-embarrassing cuticles and chatting on the phone with my five-months-pregnant sister when I felt that familiar catch in my throat. I knew I had to hang up before I turned into a babbling mess of mascara.

She spent the day before registering for baby gifts and we were excitedly discussing all the pros and cons of different nursery paraphernalia. Following the course our conversations always do, we quickly jumped from topic to topic and before I knew it we were discussing two of her long-time girlfriends.

With the building excitement of a baby shower for my sister, all the gal pals were looking forward to spending an afternoon together, something they rarely get to do. Of course prevailing topics-at-hand include pregnancy, giving birth and how many bouncing bundles of joy each person wants to raise.

My sister, without knowing she was stepping on an emotional land mine, casually mentioned that both of her friends recently confessed they want to have another child, bringing each household count of ankle biters to three. “They just don’t feel like they’re done yet,” my sister said casually.

My poor cuticles didn’t stand a chance. I started ripping skin in an effort to distract myself enough that I’d not lose my composure. That familiar catch in my throat could have easily turned into a fountain of hurt and I didn’t want to acknowledge the vulnerability, especially to myself.

What an amazing feeling it must be to have a choice,” I lamented. These women get to choose how many children they want to conceive, birth and raise, and they take it for granted. I could feel my heart turning shades of green.

One of the ironies here is that I’m not desperate to be pregnant. I’m not desperate to add another child to our little family. I’m so completely smitten with our four-year-old son that I can’t imagine sharing my time and affection with another child. I was taken by surprise when that old, familiar catch in my throat erupted. I was surprised when later that night I found myself perusing the websites of international adoption agencies. I was surprised when I woke up the next morning, walked into my office and wept.

When my sister called to tell me she is pregnant, I cried with joy. I only admitted to my husband that some of those tears were for me. I didn’t want my baby sister to experience the fertility dramas I had endured. I wanted her to conceive easily, the old fashioned way, and to delight in every moment of her journey to motherhood. I also wanted to scream because the jealous bitch inside of me wants what she and her friends have…a choice.

Before we decided to pursue surrogacy and began Project Aaron there was a year when it seemed like everyone I knew was pregnant, planning to get pregnant or had just given birth. Each new announcement crushed me.

The worst was the morning of my 30th birthday when the fertility specialist called to suggest we move onto more aggressive treatment. I had literally just put the phone back on its cradle. My head was spinning with a new tune that went something like, Happy Frigging Birthday to Me. I reached for the phone to call my husband but it rang again. My girlfriend needed to reach out and touch someone. She had peed on a stick and all signs were positive. She was jumping-up-and-down excited, and I was the first person she called. She hadn’t even told her husband yet. I wanted to spit in her face.

My mind was as fragile as my heart. I cried behind the back of every woman who dared to pass by with a stroller. I put baby showers on my mental list of torturous procedures that should be outlawed, I worked crazy hours, and I tried really hard to pretend I was OK.

It’s different with my sister’s pregnancy. I’m not so caught up in my own tragedy and self pity that I can’t be deliriously happy for her. I’m even planning her shower, and enjoying it. The difference of course is Aaron (and probably the fact that I’m no longer bloated and irrational from an overload of hormone injections that made my hair fall out).

I wish I could contemplate the idea of a sibling for Aaron. I’d love to daydream about a daughter. I’d love to again see my husband napping with an infant on his chest and to argue about when’s the right time to start solid food.

During this most recent bout of self pity, the jealous bitch inside of me had a bit of an epiphany. While surfing those international adoption sites, I realized that I do in fact have choices; they’re just not the same choices most people have. We could try fertility treatments again. We could pony-up the $30K-$50K and suffer the excruciating wait that adoption system requires. We could pursue another surrogacy. These are all choices.

Before Aaron was born, I had been dreaming of a little girl who would inherit my eyes and my husband’s legs. Instead, we were blessed with a miracle child who has filled my heart in ways I didn’t even know I could dream of: hope, purpose, breathtaking devotion, laughter and love. With Aaron’s birth, my husband and I became a family. With Aaron’s birth, I learned about the power of friendship and love. With Aaron’s birth, I became something I wasn’t sure I’d ever be…a mom.

We’ve chosen to enjoy our family of three, to be thankful for what we have, which is a wonderful, healthy and happy little boy. My road to motherhood was long, excruciating and a bit twisted, but the only reason I was able to make the journey was because I have choices.

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8 comments to Baby Choices & My Internal Bitch

  • Tricia S.

    Hi just had to stop by and say hey. Found your site while surfing around. We have the same name–first and last. I thought it was me, who knew. Anyway, love your blog.

    P.S. I had a hysterectomy at an early age due to medical problems. I already had a daughter and knew I didn’t want more children, but still I balled like a baby at the prospect of not being able to have more.

  • Tricia

    Hey Tricia…wow, it’s weird to write to “myself”. Glad you stopped by, and thanks for sharing about your reaction to the hysterectomy.

  • Amy

    A big HUG to you, how about two – one for you the wonderful person you are and one for (as you call it) the bitch inside. They both deserve a hug!

  • Buffy Turgal

    I am so sorry. I wanted to share my news with my best friend I never meant to hurt you. Your loving friend forever.

  • Tricia

    Your news was beautiful. Your timing was terrible, but how could you have anticipated that? You couldn’t, and you have nothing to apologize for.

  • [...] to say she’s been fighting the secondary infertility battle for five years and reading, Baby Choices & My Internal Bitch helped her to better articulate how she feels, and gave her a resource to share with friends and [...]

  • [...] Granted these people don’t know that I can’t have children. They don’t know that I’ve been honored with one child and the gift of motherhood because of an amazing journey in surrogacy; they don’t know that the idea of another child is the most complex, daunting, put a stake-through-my-heart fu$%ing yearnings that will go unfulfilled for a multitude of logical reasons. [...]

  • Thank you for your honesty and candor. As you know, our infertility journey concluded with multiples and I am so grateful and recognize how lucky we are. However, there are places within myself that may never recover from the trauma (for lack of a better word) of spending months not knowing if the babies – or I – would survive. There are moments when, despite my happiness with our current family dynamic, I feel slighted that I did not experience a “normal” pregnancy, that my children never had the opportunity to individually receive my full attention and adoration, that my marriage was strained beyond recognition during the intense first year of first time parenting 3 babies at once, a list of things that are not and will never be. But you are so right, we do have choices. And I have learned to focus on what we do have, what my boys have by having each other, how miraculous and in total defiance of the statistical odds it is that they are all healthy and thriving. It’s complicated, the emotional component of infertility. I do not know if there will ever be a complete sense of peace. More a recognition of grace. An acceptance of this moment and an effort to fully embrace it. Some days it’s easier than others :)

    danielles last blog post..Happy Birthday Little Boys

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