I was asked recently by a long time reader to write about our years of infertility because of her own struggle with infertility and heartache. This one is for you J ~
I curled my arms around ribs in attempt to cushion myself from the crushing sadness. The next moment I chastised myself for even grieving. Logically, did this even qualify for the despair I felt? I wanted to reach out to someone. Someone who would let me mourn. Someone who would understand. Instead of my supporters wearing black and tears, they would smile and joke that at least I was having fun trying. As another wave of tears threatened to pull me into the undertow, I had to acknowledge that this was not fun.
Two years had passed and I had buried 24 babies within my heart. Nobody had seen their rosy cheeks, their tiny hands or their wispy hair that laid on their heads like tiny halos, but I had seen them all. I had delighted through my pregnancies, cradled them next to my heart at birth and seen them toddling after butterflies and frogs in the yard. I had whispered their names tenderly, yet nobody knew their names. Only I had loved them. We only had maybe a few days together at most, but that’s all I needed to love them into my reality.
Surrounding me was held breath of expectations and the gurgling of laughing infants held in their mother’s arms. Blessing had been bestowed upon my friends and in their single focus of their delight of a tiny hand curled around their finger, they denied me my pain. Perhaps my failure was talked about in hushed whispers or boldly laughed about during their play dates. Because I had not produced a child that entitled me to the secret club of motherhood, my mind could only wander wildly with what was being said.
In the back of the closet was a box containing my husband’s childhood baseball glove and a soft pink blanket I had purchased to argue the need of a baseball glove. There was a time that these items sat boldly on top a small white dresser awaiting the arrival of one who would use them. As the reality of a baby begin to fade, our hopes were packed into that box next to the glove and blanket. Although they were pushed firmly into the dark, back corner of our closet; they were glaringly present in our mind as if they still sat in awaited anticipation.
One day perhaps we would be blessed with a child and I would know the reality of being able to touch their dimpled hands and brush their downy hair as I rocked them in the deep hours of night. Until then I would laugh with my friends that we were having fun trying and there is always next month. I would tickle the cheeks of their infants that lay in their arms as my heart crashed into a million pieces while my own arms remained empty. I have buried 24 babies back inside my heart. Our few days together where I gave myself the hope of their existence in life was all it took to love them. Whether I ever had a rosy cheek to kiss, I was a mother because I loved them in my dreams.