If you asked me, I’d tell you that I’ve made my peace with infertility. We tried with all we had, both physically and financially. And certainly emotionally. We stopped in February and I feel fine with our decision. Reclaiming our lives in the past 8 months has been wonderful. We’ve slept in a few Saturdays, made childless-people-plans on the spur of the moment, traveled to see Brian’s family without need of a Pack n’ Play, and maybe enjoyed a little too much adult libation with friends. We’ve gotten to know each other again outside of the context of infertility, and I’ve reminded myself that I’m not simply an egg-producer. Now, we’re preparing to start the process to be licensed for foster care very slowly. We’ve been working on switching our spare rooms around so I can start on a nursery, and we’re looking at our house with a critical eye in preparation for our home study. We’re trying to decide the best time to start the classes so our crazy weekend schedules don’t interfere. We’re preparing to begin, if you will. We’ve come through infertility and survived with our marriage and collective sanity (mostly) intact.
But there’s a secret in my house. There’s a little pocket of denial that jumps out at me at the strangest times. You see, there’s a veritable pharmacy in my dresser. I have an armoir-style dresser, which has two big drawers at the bottom, four small drawers on one side, and two shelves covered by a door on the other. It’s that door that is my downfall. That door lets me hide all the mess: lost buttons, spare change, mismatched earrings. That door lets me hide my denial.
When I open that door, I see bottles upon bottles of pills — prenatals, multivitamins, D3 supplements, and progesterone, just to name a few. I see a bag of extra syringes with needles. There is a box of ovulation predictor strips that go with my fertility monitor. It’s in there, too. There’s a stack of pregnancy tests. There’s a Pooh and Eeyore that match a set we got for our nursery. Pooh has his arm around his buddy, comforting Eeyore, who is obviously…well, being Eeyore.
These shelves contain the parts of my life that are full of failure, dreams on hold. Who needs prenatals less than a woman who can’t get pregnant? When the last bottle ran out, it was easier to put it back on the shelf than to throw it away. My old vitamins from Before We Were Trying are in there — definitely expired, but a testament to a plan derailed. There’s probably an out-of-date bottle of hCG, if I look deep enough. There’s an old bottle of natural progesterone cream, from before I realized that I needed something stronger.
Everything on those shelves screams FAILURE! And just down the hall is a room that’s even worse. Because in that room is a borrowed bed we never intended to use as a spare bed for four years. In that room are several totes of toys that aren’t “daycare toys” but will be for our children’s personal use. There is a stack of burp cloths, the extras I’ve made as I’ve crafted for other people’s children. There are crib sheets, purchased at a yard sale two years ago. The room sits unpainted, rarely used, home to my drying rack. The hutch that will become a changing table and then a dresser needs to be refinished, and curtains need to be made. I’m stopped only by my denial, my fear, and my emptiness.
I wrote this post over two weeks ago….but never finished. I couldn’t give it direction, and I couldn’t push “publish”. The denial was thick like molasses.
No more. I’m going to clean out my dresser, and throw out the failure. It’s time to start on that spare room that will be a nursery. I’m done with denial, and I’m done with apathy. Somewhere there’s a child who will need my full attention and devotion, and that’s not possible if I’m standing ankle-deep in what could have been.