My blouse is tear-stained and my mascara is collected in streaks down my face.
My car smells like toothpaste from the trunk full of dental products I promised to bring to a friend’s charity collection. I never made it. There’s a gift on my front seat that I didn’t drop off either. I had to run home, like a wounded animal.
In front of hundreds of people, I talked about infertility and how it can bring blessings. I feel like a huge phony. Sometimes, I believe the words I speak. I can talk honestly and openly about how my life would be different if I hadn’t gone through it. Without that set of circumstances, would I be alive, even? It’s entirely possible, my former oncologist said, that had I not been doing so many ultrasounds because of IVF that the cancer would have been much farther along when they found it, if they found it.
But today? I hurt.
I don’t have hope, I let that go a long time ago. All I have is hurt. I feel robbed of all of that. I stood up in front of these people, and I can acknowledge their pain, but at the same time, I know most of them will go on to be parents. It may be a different experience than they had originally planned on, but at the end, they’ll hold their baby and be a family.
I will never be a mother. I will never experience childbirth, a full pregnancy, the bonding of mom and baby. Fine.
I don’t want to grieve those things anymore either. I want to be the evolved woman who realizes that my worth is more than my ability to reproduce, but some days, I feel like a failure. I gave up. And, that isn’t like me. I fight.
I fought the doctors who said we wouldn’t be able to have our own child. Then, I fought cancer, a much more formidable enemy. I fought those who said we wouldn’t make good candidates for adoption. At the end, all I fought was my ex. He wanted to keep pushing on with whatever it took, adoption and surrogacy and what not. I had no more fight left. I had no more hope left.
So what made me think that I could tell other people how to do it?
When I decided to leave that hope, that dream behind me, I thought time would help. I expected to come to terms with my childfree life much sooner than this.