Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

I Failed My Own Test May 13, 2011

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.


8 Responses to “I Failed My Own Test”

  1. Jose Casillas Says:


  2. Kate B Says:

    That is our reality as infertile women. It will always be a part of our lives. It does need to define us, but it does create a certain dilineation that sets us apart. It always will, but it needn’t keep us from living lives that are happy and fulfilling.

    And if I keep repeating that last part, someday I expect I’ll fully believe it.

  3. IrisD Says:

    Lisa, I was very involved in the upbringing of my niece and nephew, spending weekends with them, taking them to school, picking them up, ballet, little league, swimming classes, you name it. I was also a teacher (high school and middle school) for 8 years… I’m still in touch with many of my former students… and so I feel that I have done a lot of nurturing of children in my lifetime… and that while I know it’s not the same, I haven’t missed out that much… I don’t go googoo gaga over most kids… but I do have major pregnancy envy… to feel a life growing inside you, to share that knowledge with my husband, to know that child is a little bit of him and a little bit of me… are dreams that did not come true. I guess I kind of feel that I’ve done a lot of motherng, and sometimes after being 7 hours with groups of about 30-42 kids and seeing a total of 200 kids a day… I felt like SUPER MOM… So seeing kids doesn’t do it to me, but it is when I see a pregnant woman that I feel I’ve really missed out on something… that my body was ssupposed to have gotten around to doing something it never did.

  4. Satura Says:

    I am sorry… Being a human sucks at times.

  5. Mali Says:

    I know. Just when we think we’re going fine, something like this comes and bites us. Pregnancy and breastfeeding are the things that get me, so I can relate. You’ve expressed this beautifully – the conflicting emotions, and your acceptance of them. I wish I could have written it. Thank you for this.

  6. happynenes Says:

    Oh God, thank you for posting this. I have totally reverted into fertility pursuing mania for the last two months. There are some incidental case reports of POF patients having remissions while taking a supplement called DHEA. No, that is not a very strong evidence basis for subjecting one’s body to a drug that does god-knows-what. But, I felt like I might regret it if I didn’t try. I had my doubts about jumping back on the fertility crazy train. But, I’m coming up on 35, so it’s now or never. So, here I am, two months later, ten pounds heavier, with two month’s worth of BBTs that show… my ovaries didn’t do squat. I think it probably goes without saying that my husband has also been patiently putting up with emotion/hormone fueled drama and sex on schedule.

    I was in the car today trying to decide whether to stop the HRT and take more of the DHEA, or stop the DHEA and just go back to trying to get on with my life. I had a rare moment of certainty that the DHEA was not the way to go. But, like you say, I don’t think it will be the last time I fight this battle. I’m still trying to figure out if I want to keep doing the BBTs… just, you know, out of curiosity. Sigh. I mean, scream!

    Saying a little prayer for all of us fighting the good fight to get through this.

  7. Rach Says:

    i hate it when it sneaks up on you seemingly out of nowhere. you’re just going about your day, thinking you’re doing fine and *bam* it rugby tackles you from behind.

    it sucks, i hate it and what i hate more is that i’m not sure “that feeling” will ever not be there bubbling away under the surface.


  8. Tamson Smith Says:

    I got married late (three years ago today!) at age 39 and never really thought I would have the opportunity to have a child, so when we did try and it turns out I was unable, it was sad but not life-altering.

    But sometimes, man, it does sneak up on you. We recently bought a house here in Wisconsin which came with a large garden, and, as it’s spring, it was time to rake up the detritus and see what the previous owner had planted. And there it was, a small sign that said, “Mom’s garden.” Even though I feel like I’ve mostly come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be a parent, it just occurred to me that no will ever give me that “world’s best mom” mug or mother’s day flowers or all the little things that denote this universal right of human passage – procreation.

    Thank you for this website, it has been a balm to a not-too-weary soul.

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