forgiveness school.

The all over of it. That’s what gets me most. The all over the place of lately.

Because if you know me you know this: I hate a roller coaster. I’ll be the mama with a book and a camera waiting in line with my wife and kids, and then holding my breath praying that the stupid wooden or steel or whatever the hell it’s made out of thing holds up and brings my family safely back to earth. If you want a roller coaster buddy, I am not your girl.

But this stage of grief? I mean, I can hang sad. And I can find my way back to elation afterwards. To joy. But these swings? They are big. And they aren’t fun.

I was seeing this guy once. Totally wrong for me. Sweet. Simple. Nothing like my dark, complicated, pain-in-the-ass, love-of-my-life wife. :) Anyway, I told my therapist that sometimes I was 100% sure I wanted to break up with him, but that sometimes I wasn’t. She said, “are you ever 100% sure that you don’t?” I broke up with him the next day.

That’s what I’ve got now.

I am heartbroken not to be coming up on eighteen-weeks pregnant. I mean, sometimes the injustice of that knocks me to my knees. It just…it seems cruel.

But I am never 100% sure I should carry again. Not ever. Not even for a second. And a lot of the time, I am 100% sure I shouldn’t. I’m done. In my quiet and still and faithful moments, I understand that that is not my path with a certainty and a peace and a sense of gratitude that I cannot describe to you. And a lot of the time, I desperately want J to carry our next child because I am madly over the moon in love with our little boy. I mean, damn. In addition to her mad baking skills (flourless chocolate zucchini brownies is what I’m saying to you), my extremely masculine wife can make a baby. I mean, a really, really amazing baby. And, though it will be hard for her, she’s willing to do it again. She is. For us. To “take one for the team,” as my favorite Momo once said. How amazing/sexy/surprising/fantastic is that?!?

But fuck. This actually accepting my infertility? The It hurts. I mean, I am nothing more than I am a mom. Like, nothing. When my mom was here last week, she said the nicest thing anyone’s maybe ever said to me. She said, “you just do it all with so much joy. Like it’s all fun. Even though I know it’s hard. All day long you just make him feel that way.” So, yes. Being a mom? I mean, I am exhausted, but it’s fucking amazing. If I could quit working while my babies are little? Yeah, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I don’t give a damn about my career. I wouldn’t care if it meant I’d never get tenure-track work.

But I can’t do this thing that at least 80% of American women can do. I mean, I just fail. And this is so much more judgmental than I want to be, and it embarrasses me that I think these things, but some of the women who can make babies? I mean, they hit their kids. They get drunk and high. They put themselves first over and over again. But they make babies that are strong and breathing and whole.

This morning my son learned to walk like a penguin, and I taught him how to do it, and I don’t think I’m as proud of my whole fucking PhD as I am of that walk, you know what I’m saying? Today he slept for an hour and a half on my chest in our bed and I didn’t move though my neck got all out of sorts from being cricked so long, but I smiled every time I woke up because I could feel his chest expanding against mine. My heart and my head and my arms and the leg muscles I use to wear his twenty-six pound frame on my one-hundred-and-eighteen-pound one. My voice. My hands. The eyes I use to see him. To witness his perfect self coming into being. All part of mama-me. But the usual mama parts? My belly and my breasts? They don’t make babies. They don’t expand. They don’t sustain. It’s the contrast there that’s most staggering.

And almost all day long I don’t care because there’s no piece of me – not heart, not belly, not breasts – that thinks I’m missing out on a single piece of love. But there are these moments where it just doesn’t make any sense that there’s this mama thing and I can’t do it. And my friends write about it. It fills their facebook pages. Giving birth. Breastfeeding. Stretchmarks. Ultrasounds. Babies kicking from inside of them. And I just. I can’t.

And those moments of awareness of that fact? They invade my perfect, beautiful, blessed days like these unexpected nosedives. Like I’ve crested the top of a hill I didn’t even know I was climbing and I’m about to crash down. And I just want them to go away. I no longer have any desire to act on them. I don’t think they mean anything. I don’t think they’re here to tell me that I should try again. I feel about 95% delivered of them. But they’re not gone yet. And I hate that most of all. More even than this thing I can’t do. Than the irony. Than the invisibility of this pain. That even in my ferocious, fierce, wild love of my NGP status (and oh my gods please know how wildly I love my NGP mamahood), I can’t will the sense of failure away completely. That I can’t love-bomb it into oblivion. That there’s only through it to go, and that I’m fucking not there yet despite being this exhausted and this ready.

That though I know how close I am, there’s some broken part of me that hasn’t grown into the realization that my infertility is the biggest gift I’ve ever been given. That it’s made me the mother I was always meant to be. That I am so profoundly blessed not to make babies so that I can spend my life loving them with all of my self. That this makes me whole in a way that only I will ever understand.

I think that what I’m living now is the last vestiges of this particular roller coaster. I believe that some kind of grace has brought me here, and that that same grace will land me safely to earth on the other side: proud, sure, wiser than this. I just wish that that grace would hurry the fuck up already because I’m not the kind of girl who likes this kind of thing.

(Photo because you read all of this heavy shit. Sorry. Here’s Bram and one of his best-besties. Now you can’t be mad that I dragged you down. I mean, I’m giving you babies in boas, man. Forgive me. As Anne Lamott says, earth is Forgiveness School.)



7 thoughts on “forgiveness school.

  1. They are so ready to ROCK!
    I don’t have good words for you, except that I feel very deeply that you are right–this is some kind of backwards gift. It’s much more common to be physically a mother (to be pregnant, give birth, nurse) and not one in practice. You get to embody the opposite. All I can think is that your children will rise up and call you blessed.

    • (I just re-read that chapter of Proverbs. It’s interesting that throughout it all there’s no mention of actually bearing children, but lots and lots about the work of making a home and a family. It was good to revisit.)

  2. Thank you so much for your courage in sharing your story. Bram is so lucky to have such amazingly strong, brave, gentle and loving mums. We are looking into trying again for my partner to experience pregnancy. I don’t know where the story of our family is going to go from here. Right now, my heart is breaking a little reading your story, and I wish you hope, love, strength for whatever comes next.

  3. Thanks for sharing the roller coaster, Renee. I’m having some reoccurrence of it myself, as the wife’s baby belly grows (I think I like to pretend the baby is in some kind of ether we both have equal access to during the first, invisible trimester.) It was nice to have the reminder today that the only way out is through.

    Also, Bram’s face in the picture is one of the more perfect things I’ve ever seen. So much wonderful kiddo love in that shot.

  4. Love, you are such an eloquent writer. I’m so grateful to you for keeping this blog (and our family) moving forward. I am so lucky to be your wife. <3

  5. This took a lot of courage and personal strength to not just write but to recognize in yourself. Thank you for sharing. Your pain and joy at your permanent NGP status is palpable. My heart aches for you as I read this, it truly is unforgivingly honest. It’s beautiful. I am sorry you are going through so much pain, but you are right – there is only through, and there is another side, and you will make it there,

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