Sigh. I don’t think anyone understands or will understand how I feel. The sheer anxiety and anger that I feel when the topic of children comes up is almost uncontrollable.
Some days I don’t want them at all. Some days I want them so bad it’s all I think about. Some days I’m completely ambivalent.
Today, I don’t want any. Tomorrow may be different.
Everyday is the same however – the anger and anxiety. That hasn’t changed since the abortion. I’ve been angry and anxious since. I now know what lies ahead when the time comes to have children.
Y’see, there’s never been a doubt: I’m going to have children, regardless of whether or not I’m having a “no” day, “ambivalent” day or “yes” day. I’ve been told that changing my mind about wanting children was a dealbreaker. I’m not ending my marriage. So the kid is my future.
I’m not sure I’ll ever not be angry. I doubt I’ll ever get rid of this anxiety – it exists in several forms. What I do know is that I’m getting older and the longer I wait, the narrower my chances are to have kids.
Today is still not that day. Neither is tomorrow.
I was on a lot of medications when I first got pregnant. I was excited to be a mom – surprised, but excited. Broke, but excited. Terrified, but excited.
I remember hearing about the time my mom told my father she was pregnant with me. She told me she was so happy. She’d had a miscarriage the year before so she was excited to have another chance at motherhood. She ran up to him and gave him a big hug; he never hugged back. He was completely stoic. He never wanted children. Kinda set the tone for our relationship for a few decades.
I made my husband come with me to a random gyno appointment one year. I wanted him to visualize the pain and anguish of the duck lips. Hearing about how scary a prostate exam was was beginning to wear on me (it’s one finger – are you fucking kidding me?!). I told the gyno I’d been having some weird symptoms – lack of appetite (weird for me at that time), nausea, no period for 2 months (which was not uncommon for me), but nothing too extraordinary. She wanted to do an ultrasound just to be sure.
There it was. I was a mom. She said I had been a mom for 6 weeks by that time. Goddamn home pregnancy tests are for shit. Blood test came back positive. Imagine little Alice: a mom. Seemingly everyone can, except Alice.
But I remember that day and all the days leading up to that day. I saw my husband’s face in that chair when my gyno said we were going to be parents. It was the face I’d always imagined my father had when my mom said she was pregnant with me. A face that said, “Great. What do I do now?” That was not the face I wanted my child’s father to have when they heard he was coming into the world. That’s what I’ve always feared – since I was young. I wanted him to be happy, not afraid of how we would afford to feed him. I knew in that moment this wasn’t going to happen.
It dawned on me in the days following that my body had been pumped full of medications for years, non-stop. Just like any other drugs, there are side effects that cause damage to the fetus so I started doing some research. Even the most benign of side effects wasn’t benign enough to allow myself to go through with it. I’d been on one specific, life-saving medication for almost 7 years and read where it caused severe birth defects.
So I made the toughest decision I’ve ever made in my life. Because that day, was a “yes” day. And I had to do it anyway. Because I didn’t want my child growing up with numerous birth defects that I didn’t have the money to fix – that not even God would be guaranteed to fix. My psychiatrist told me given my medications and risk of defects, I made the right decision. The child would have likely been deformed.
So the idea of having children now sends me to a dark place. I think of my lost child. He (I always felt it was a boy) would have been 8 in July. I think of having to ween myself off all my medications before trying to get pregnant, then actually trying to get pregnant, staying off all my medications during pregnancy, enduring childbirth, staying off my medications to breastfeed, and enduring postpartum depression and think to myself: why is it the people asking me to do this aren’t the ones paying for this? Either paying for my medical bills when I completely lose my shit, my mortgage when I lose my job after I lose my shit, gaining stretch marks, gaining weight, or taking time off work? I’m the one that has a lot to lose here – my sanity, my job, my body (that I just got back) – but hey, I’m just the vessel. I’m just here to deliver the goods.
Hell, talking about this makes this a “no” lifetime and makes me want to lose my shit.