Today I was shredding some documents when the shredder got jammed. As I fought with the papers, I burst into tears. I crumpled to the ground and bawled my eyes out. It's not about the stupid shredder... I can no longer carry this burden. I am having fertility issues.
I am the mother of one wonderful little girl. She is everything a mother could hope and wish for. I feel so fortunate to have her in my life... which compounds the guilt I have over not being able to conceive a second child.
We have been trying to conceive for the past eight months. My cycle is like clockwork, which helped in our first pregnancy. Less than three months of trying and I was pregnant. Even though I've heard it can take a year to a year and a half to get pregnant, I can't help but worry and think that maybe that my little family will remain a family of three. The process of trying to conceive has been a struggle. The Excel spreadsheets I've made highlighting all the elements surrounding my cycle are mind-numbing. My linen closet conceals the ovulation and pregnancy kits that I've purchased in bulk. I have planned exactly how we would announce our news of a second child. All of this and nothing but frustration, guilt, stress and fatigue.
I realize that many people struggle with conception and infertility. I feel very fortunate that I have my daughter but I had never planned for her to be an only child. I have so many regrets. I regret waiting for as long as we did to start trying again. I regret sharing my previous pregnancy story and boasting at how easy it was to conceive my daughter, I regret every moment in which I dwell on my "missed conceptions" and I regret being unable to verbally express these feelings with those who are close to me.
The conception and fertility road is a lonely one. To balance sharing what's happening in your life with what people actually want to hear is complicated. There are few people who can bear hearing the woes of someone trying to conceive a child (particularly if it's your second one). I have a wonderful, loving and attentive husband but I purposely try to balance what I'm feeling with what he can or is willing to hear. He's sure we'll conceive again. I on the other hand, have my doubts. I am five years older than him and a couple months shy of being thirty-six. I am not in my baby-making prime. I feel like my body is failing me. I am failing my daughter. I am failing my husband. I am failing as a woman.
Every month I sink to the depths of despair when I realize we have still not conceived. I avoid allergy medications and refuse glasses of wine with hopes that I may soon be pregnant. I am surrounded by people who have beautiful babies or are soon-to-be parents and I wonder if I will ever get the chance to carry a child again.
Perhaps my experience with motherhood stops at one child. The thought crushes me. I want the joy of hearing my baby's heartbeat for the first time. I want to see my baby in an ultrasound. I want to feel my child's burps and hiccups inside of me. I want that moment of instant love-at-first-sight - when I first hold my newborn child. I want the wonderful bond of nursing my baby. I want to hold a warm little body dressed in terry towel pajamas and swaddled in a fuzzy blanket. I want to watch the first steps and cry at the first words. I even want the evening wakings and messy diapers. I want one more baby. That's all that I ask for.
So now what? We won't give up. We'll keep on trying. We'll keep on hoping. That's all that we can do for now.
Photo by Megyarsh found in the Creative Commons on Flickr