So no, I wasn’t affecting any change in T’s life when she came to stay with me for a week, but having her here certainly turned my life upside down. Chief among the upheavals was something I should have figured out long before she got here. How could I not have realized how completely my week with her would pull the sorrow of my childlessness to the fore?
As I’ve said before, the sadness is always just below the surface. When I think of what could have been during either go-round with The Morphine Man, it’s there even though he and I never talked about children. I did a lot more than talk about children with AC, though, and every time I see a baby who looks even the least bit like me or him, the pain is there. If I had been able to hold onto that pregnancy, our child would be two years old now. If I had been able to carry to term with either of my successful fertility treatments, those children would be even older. I think about those not-meant-to-be babies, and my heart breaks every time.
Being with T gave me a taste of what I’m missing, a look at just how green (challenging and fun and stressful and wonderful) the grass on the far side of that fence really is.
In that lofty, intellectual way that it is sometimes helpful to operate, I know I can’t have a baby. I know that my body isn’t up for it. And I know that at this point my age is making it fairly impossible. Yeah, I know all that. In the not-at-all-lofty, messy-as-hell emo way that I usually operate, knowing has had no real effect on my ability to truly accept any of this.
A few years ago I tried to head this train wreck off at the pass, tried to take destiny in my own hands or some such romance-novel action. I got myself a fertility doc and went to work. And work, and work and some more work besides. I spent nearly all my money on all that work — including a loan I took out to cover a few additional attempts. Then I decided to stop, to give up. I’d had two miscarriages and couldn’t throw myself back into that crazy-making process again. I wanted to run away for a little while, so I took the rest of my fertility loan and went to Jamaica. (That was my first trip to JA. I wonder how long it would have taken me to discover my future home if either of those pregnancies had gone full term.) Then I met AC and started a different kind of crazy-making process. That last miscarriage — losing the baby I would have shared with AC — made me sufficiently dysfunctional that I pretty nearly lost my job. Then I knew I really had to accept that I wasn’t going to be anyone’s mother. My body, my heart, my head … all far too messed up for me to justify messing with any of them any further.
I’ve thought about adoption, and I’ve always dismissed it. It seems logical to me that an adoption agency that would place a child with me is an agency that should be up for a fine-tooth-comb review. As I am so fond of saying, I can hardly take care of myself, I’m certainly not prepared to take care of a child.
And that’s still true, the week with T notwithstanding. But the week with T has forced a shift in my brain. There was so much that felt good when she was here, and I started to wonder if maybe I had dismissed adoption too soon. (After all, if monsters like this woman get approved again and again … surely I could be seen as a good candidate just one time?”)
I don’t know where I’m going with this, if I’m going anywhere with it. There’s so much to consider, not the least of which is the fact that the loss of funding at work means I won’t be getting the long-awaited raise my boss and I built into that grant proposal. And there are bigger, scarier things to wrestle with. And there are really lovely things to think about, too. Like the look on the face of a colleague in the field who has recently brought home the beautiful toddler she’s been trying to adopt for almost a year, the way she seems less strident and angry. Not that I’m strident or angry … well, not so strident, anyway. My age is an issue, but is it a reason to set this idea aside? I don’t know.
Wow. Who knew the thrill of finding the perfect birthday gift for T would lead me here? And which of the fifteen tines on this fork in the road do I follow?