this post will, however, be serious and passionate and from my heart. it's something that has been on my mind A LOT recently for a lot of different reasons. and so i finally feel that i have to say something....
for those who don't know - i have a a beautiful daughter:
she's smart, beautiful, talented, funny. i couldn't ask for anything more from my mini me than everything nina is. she's my world. i love her. and she's all i've got when it comes to kids.
for those of you who don't know - the fact that she's the only kid i've got - is not a choice.
i cannot have any more kids.
the youngest of three kids, growing up, i thought it was god's law that a couple HAD TO HAVE a minimum of three kids. in fact, i clearly remember being about 4 years old and telling a slightly older cousin who was the youngest of two siblings that he was obviously wrong about his mom not being able to give me a baby girl cousin closer to my age because she hadn't had three babies yet and everyone knew it was the law to have at least three. so naturally growing up i always imagined that i would have at least three kids.
that dream started to fade when i was 16. it was then that i was told by my endocrinologist that type one diabetics have very high risk pregnancies and that if i were lucky - i would have one child. maybe two. and all children had to be born before i turned 30. i think for a long time my mom kinda blamed that doctor for putting me in a rush find a happily ever after.
when i was 20 - i got pregnant and had nina. it wasn't planned. i wasn't married. no one was happy about it. and i got news for you - there are no cute pregnancy announcements when you are in that situation. my pregnancy was very high risk. i developed high blood pressure. i spilled protein in my urine. they thought i might do damage to my kidneys. have you seen steel magnolias?? yeah. my grandmother couldn't watch it in the last years of her life. too close to home.
nina was born 5 weeks premature. i didn't have a baby shower. i had a post baby being born shower. and most of my friends didn't come. and none of my daughter's paternal relatives showed up or celebrated it with their family.
i spent a year undergoing constant 24 hour urine tests to assure that my kidneys weren't damaged. i was lucky. a perfect baby. no kidney damage. and then the bad news came. i was told by doctors that if i were to get pregnant again - the risk of suffering all of the same complications was greater. and the risk that those complications would be worse - was even greater. the risk of leaving my child motherless - was even greater. and as a result, it wasn't advised.
so at the age of 21 - my hopes and dreams of a happy family with lots of little siblings for nina - gone. and when he and i split before i was 22 - i was certain that any dreams of a frame perfect family photo of mom, dad, and baby were out the window.
that - is a lot of information to take in before you can legally rent a car.
when jeff came into our lives, he knew the deal up front. before we even dated. he - surprisingly - was fine with it. he said he would rather have me and nina than not have us at all. it was then that i started to accept - that while happily ever after wasn't the storybook image i had at the age of four - it was still happily ever after.
i accepted it. i made peace with it. but damn it - that didn't mean it didn't hurt. didn't mean it wasn't hard.
i remember a time about 8 or 9 years ago where i sat in the bathroom at work sobbing because the woman who occupied the office next to me was pregnant, the woman in the corner office brought her newborn to work every day and used her secretary as a nanny, another coworker brought her new baby to work resulting in a game of "let's pass the baby around the office" and an online friend's wife was clearly the only woman who had ever been pregnant before. i remember emailing jeff telling him i couldn't take it.
i didn't talk to a relative for over a month because she once said "when are you going to have a baby so i can get my baby fix" when i know she knew what i had been through.
i've been told so many times to get over it.
and fyi - adoption is expensive. i work in non profit. i'm not rolling in the dough.
you never get over it. you make peace with it. you accept it. you appreciate what you have. but that doesn't mean that sometimes it doesn't still hurt. it doesn't mean you don't still feel guilt because you can't give your beautiful daughter a beautiful baby sister to play with or your husband a son to give his own name to.
i'm not going to lie. i've asked three different endocrinologists over the years if the new developments in medicine would make it different. the answer - "it might - but probably not."
there have been times where i could not physically bring myself to go to a baby shower.
there have been times where i have walked the other way to avoid being asked "do you want to see the latest picture of my baby??"
i'm better about it now. it helps that i have cute little bethel babies that i can squeeze and then send home. i'm almost 35. nina's 14. starting over with another one now seems crazy.
it gets easier. but it never gets "not hard".
i don't expect you to understand. the only ones who understand are those who have been there and experienced it themselves.
the other night i told another one of my bestest friends who just learned her sister might not be able to have kids that there will come a time when she finds it hard to be around her nieces and nephews. it's not about her or them or that she doesn't love them. it's just...hard. just know that it's hard.
one of my bestest friends with fertility issues who had to take a 3 month sabatical from facebook because she would rather pluck her eyes out with pliers than read one more of post after post about "my baby kicked, laughed, farted, pooped, smiled, slept, etc." - i know she gets it.
jeff gets it.
that's where i go when it gets hard. and then i remember this:
it may not be that picture perfect image i had when i was four....
....but i still made out pretty good, didn't i?