The "what should be" never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no "what should be", there is only what is.
~ Lenny Bruce
For the past two years, I've been trying to get pregnant.
Writing that makes it seem both finite and abstract, as though two years is simply a number plucked out of thin air, a segment of time in which nothing has evolved...but everything has. When we started discussing the notion of adding to our family, and when we agreed it was time, Merrill was almost two. A barely talking, short haired chubby toddler in a crib. Now her hair is longer than mine, her bed is bigger than the ones I had until I was a college graduate with a job, and she won't shut up. So yes. Things are evolving...just not the things I thought about when this process began.
Two years ago, I jokingly said "I hope you're ready", because I got pregnant with Merrill at a lightning fast pace and felt sure it would be that way again. As in, maybe we should have a baby...and guess what? Bam. Now, after months and months and months of ovulation kits, calendars, fertility drugs, doctor's visits, and more negative pregnancy tests than I care to admit, I'm so depleted and discouraged that I want to walk away. I don't want to try any more.
I'm not done. I'm not done with this family, and I'm not done with the plans and hopes I had for us. At this stage, our family feels like a three legged man, and I'm not done hoping that we will find his missing limb. I'm not done crying, I feel sure of that, and I'm probably not done with the fruitless and meaningless question of "why?" that I throw out aimlessly into the air when no one is even around to hear it. I'm not done with looking at babies and feeling a sparkling twinge of hope that one day, Merrill will be able to have a baby brother or sister.
I haven't handled it well. I've existed precariously on edge, riding the wave of roller coaster emotions every given month...determination, hope, excitement, fear, nervousness, disappointment and devastation. I've marked them off an imaginary to-do list every month, going through the motions and getting downright fucking pissed when I realize I have to start all over again once the page on the calendar is flipped. I've tried to use sarcasm and forced humor to help ease the bitterness that rises in my throat. I've enlisted the help of sleep aids to prevent the crushing sadness and anxiety that takes over every night, causing me to lie awake staring at the ceiling. I've futilely attempted to get all philosophical about it, and pretend that I believe there is a reason for everything, and we just don't know what the reason for this is yet. I've vaccillated wildly between my desire to keep going, and my desire to give the fuck UP and let it go, focus on what I do have and stop wishing for what I don't.
I find it shameful that every time Merrill acts up, or pitches a fit, my first thought is "if she weren't an only child, if she had a sibling, this wouldn't be happening". Yes, I know that is wholly inaccurate, and sibling rivalries could put her little tantrums to shame, but it still floats through my mind each and every time. Each time someone innocently asks me when we're having another one, I have to bite the side of my cheek, force a smile, and get through the words of "we're talking about it, we'll see"...words that feel like broken glass in my mouth. When she conversationally tells me that she doesn't have a baby brother like her friend Brody from class, I can't decide if I want to cry or laugh. I feel like I've spent so much time lately trying to think ahead, waiting and waiting for what comes next....if anything will come next...and I need to stop. She is my baby, and she is my world, and while there is plenty of room in my world for more, she needs to be given every ounce of space available in it right now, while it exists for her and her alone.
I think I've traveled quite far past the point of making sense when it comes to this topic. The uncertainty paralyzes me and the myriad of emotions make me feel trapped in my own mind, as though I've lost a solid grasp on how this all began and where it can go from here. When it comes down to it, the helplessness and lack of control over the situation are things I need to accept rather than fight, because as much as I loathe letting go, I have no way to shape this to fit the mold...no way to put my foot down and make it happen. It will happen, or it won't, and that's all there is.