Ever think to yourself… “Gosh, I sure do wish I could re-live part of puberty”
No?! Me neither. Ugh.
I don’t like to admit that there are times I lose it. Crying until you’re snotty, perched on the lid of the toilet isn’t exactly an image I want to convey. Ok, I know, you’re picturing it now. Me with my sopping wet hair from the shower, in a t-shirt and polka dotted pajama pants, the picture of strength and grace. Cursing and wiping my nose and occasionally moaning like a wounded cat. Yeah.
This is after the bitchiness of last week. I haven’t been this moody since I was 13, and for that the world was grateful.
Having to re-learn and re-do things like periods and PMS, not really something I was hoping for.
I knew it was a possibility, but not a likely one. But, apparently my body didn’t get that message. I was told there was a slim chance post chemo that my body might try to right itself, to re-learn to cycle again, to force my girl parts to work. And the implications that come with it are tough as well. If I can have a normal cycle and bleed in a fashion similar to before getting sick, then is my uterus less damaged than they (meaning the gyn oncologists) originally thought? If it is, then there’s the potential that my eggs aren’t as damaged as well.
Choosing to stop treatments that are invasive and cost thousands of dollars or and halt adoption proceedings that are costly and overwhelming – that is one thing. If my body gets back to a point where conception is a possibility, I have to choose all over again. Making these decisions has not been easy. It’s a terrible feeling to know that you just can’t bring yourself to do the things that *might* get you what you once dreamed about.
Obviously, I’m not at a point where bringing children into the world is a good idea. Would I be thrilled if I were to miraculously find myself pregnant? Sure, probably. I’d also be terrified, because there’s no telling what pregnancy hormones would do to me, because I don’t know how much the chemo would have impacted the embryos and the resulting babies, because I don’t know if I’d make a good mother, because my life is not exactly the picture of stability lately. I’d also be scared because I know how many pregnancies I’ve lost and how wrecked I felt with each loss, both emotionally and physically. Scared because my uterus is damaged and even with bedrest, a pregnancy would be trying for my body, not even considering childbirth.
98% of me doesn’t think about it.
Motherhood is a great thing, a thing I wanted but didn’t get, a special, beautiful, precious thing that just wasn’t for me. You learn to
steel yourself, you tell yourself that you don’t need to be a mother, that you’re ok with not having children, that you can place maternal instincts elsewhere, that you don’t want children.
But if it’s put back on the table, can I give it away?
If you have someone who hasn’t eaten dessert because there’s no sweets around and getting some becomes costly and difficult, they learn to do without it, they don’t really even want it anymore. But then you take them someplace where dessert sits on a tray within reach, can they still turn it down?
Crappy metaphor, I know. It’s hard to find something that conveys the choice without trivializing it. Or conversely,seeming overdramatic.
The drive to be a mother is incredibly strong. I’ve seen it consume women, couples, careers, marriages. Safe to say it did a number on mine, and on me, before. I can’t ever see hoping and wishing for it again – it was so painful cycle after cycle to face the failure. I know the people who knew how hard we tried to have children will assume that just because we never had any, the marriage disintegrated. I saw that happen to other couples and often thought the same thing, not knowing what that would be like.
I judged them the same way I did childless couples. Obviously they were child-free because they never wanted children enough in the first place, because you can’t just shut that off. But you can, sometimes you have to. And it doesn’t mean you didn’t want them, or that you couldn’t handle what it would take to have them. Maybe it means it’s just not meant to be.
The drive to be a mother was anticipated by my cancer team, and they were aware of our efforts. But truth be told, we figured there would be no need to address it post treatment. My soon to be ex husband was sterile and I kept spontaneously aborting pregnancies. And that was before procedures and drugs and chemotherapy.
I don’t want to get into my head, thinking about it, or even considering it, but that sliver of a thought is there. I suppose because without the “what if” the rest of it sucks. You endure all the aggravation, pain, bleeding, inconvenience because you know someday those parts will come in handy, or because they helped produce that gorgeous child you have; For me, if I never become a mother, they do seem like a bit of a waste, and like quite the bite. After all, they’ve given me nothing but strife the last few years.
I’m not here sitting thinking about a family and kids and a white picket fence. I rarely let myself think of that even when my chances were better. But my mind can think of a round swell, a whooshing heartbeat on ultrasound, and of a nursery being prepared.
Then, that’s when I cry. Because I don’t want to deal with all this all over again. The choices, the blood or the tears.