Do you ever test yourself to see just how well you’re really doing with this whole “coming-to-terms” business? I’ve been doing it a lot lately. I’ve been inserting myself into mothering conversations, just to gauge how it makes me feel. I’ve started smiling at other people’s babies again, to see if it stirs up any dormant emotions. The other week, as I was driving past Babies R Us, I seriously considered pulling in and just walking around the store to see if I could do it. I realized it was a crazy idea, and I went home instead, but I’m pretty sure I would have been okay. Based on all these tests, in fact, I’d say I’m doing pretty well at re-entering the real world, where mothers and babies exist.
So, when I found myself in a conversation with a pregnant woman last week, it really was no big deal. I was genuinely happy for her and chatted about names and the baby’s sex, and how she was doing. No big deal. When she pulled a strange face I asked her if she was okay.
“Oh yes,” she said. “He’s just moving around. ”
I laughed and asked her what it was like.
“Here,” she said. “Do you want to feel him?”
Before I knew it I had my hands on her belly and I was looking at her wide-eyed as I felt her baby’s little backside sticking up in the air and a tiny pointy elbow poking out to one side.
“That’s amazing,” I told her. And it was.
As I drove home later that night, that baby was all I could think about. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a tidal wave of emotions barreling towards me and there was nothing I could do to get out of the way.
I could picture her little guy clearly and I imagined what it must be like to have another human being grow and move inside me. I could feel it. And then the what-ifs started. What if we tried IVF and it worked? What if we found an egg donor; wouldn’t it be worth it to go through that? And even as the logical side of my brain was listing all the good reasons to not even entertain these thoughts, the other side was cooking up a plan to offer myself up as a surrogate for another woman, just so I could experience what it would be like to be pregnant.
I’m not going to tell you that these were fleeting thoughts, nor am I going tell you how I laughed at my craziness and put these silly thoughts behind me; neither of those is true. But I am going to tell you that I know that this won’t be the last time this happens to me. My infertility is up there at the top of the “life-changing events” list in my life. And like the other experiences, it’s always going to be with me. Most of the time it will just hang out in the back of my mind and not give me too much trouble, but every now and then, something is going to trigger my memories and all those emotions will come rushing back. I think that’s just a part of being human.