A couple of week’s ago, while lying in bed one Sunday evening, me cradling my Kindle and Walter watching a show on Discovery channel about pregnancy and birth, he suddenly turned to me and asked me if I felt like something was missing or if I had missed out on something by not getting to experience a full term pregnancy and birth. The question floored me, mostly because I don’t like to go there, I don’t like to lift the band aid and peer and the proverbial wound healing underneath.
But Walter’s totally out of the blue question kind of forced me to have a long hard look at that wound and to answer his questions honestly. And the answer is yes and no.
No, because I wouldn’t change a thing about what I have now. No because I love Ava with all my heart and know that there is no way possible for me to love her any more than I do. No because I wouldn’t change a thing about our adoption experience, it was beautiful and perfect in every way.
And yes. Yes because I’m not sure I’ll ever feel completely and fully a woman without getting to experience everything that epitomizes femininity and being all woman is, without that pregnancy and birth experience. Because that is such a large part of what makes a woman a woman and one of the things that separates us and makes us different from men. My uterus is just an empty shell, a pretty pointless organ taking up space in my abdomen with little to no purpose. It can create life, but it cannot sustain it, instead it will repeatedly strangle the miracle of any life that is nestled inside it.
Admitting these things was hard, but it was also a big aha moment and I realize that a lot of how I see myself is linked to my barrenness, most especially the issue I have surrounding femininity , I never feel feminine, I’m always concerned about coming across as butch or masculine and I think a lot of this has to do with my seemingly useless girly bits.
Now I know all you pregnant ladies out there are going to say, I’m missing out on nothing, I’ve heard a thousand times how uncomfortable and unpleasant pregnancy can be, how painful and scary birth is, what hard work breast feeding is but can you imagine now having the liberty of choice?
When I read tweets and FB updates about birth experiences, and pregnancy diaries, about feeling babies first movements in utero, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t experience a pang of sadness, wondering what that must feel like. But I try not to dwell on it because it is so painful.
Thinking about all over this over the last few weeks and then discussing with a couple of IF friends on Wednesday, one of whom is currently pregnant with her second baby and another a fellow adoptive mom, I realized that I have not forgiven my body for it’s ultimate betrayal and I’m not sure I’ll ever find the place of forgiveness either.
Instead I abuse my body, I punish it and abuse and don’t take any care of it and it’s because I’ve not forgiven it.
While chatting with my friends, I began to realize that pregnancy and live birth for an infertile are very much a part of the healing and forgiving process and that perhaps for those of us who have adopted, who don’t get to experience the pregnancy and birth, perhaps the road to closure and forgiveness is a longer one.
Regardless, I peered under the band aid after Walter’s question and there was still a bloody, oozing, wound underneath, I have a long way to go to fully recover from what I’ve experienced, I have a long road to travel before I’ll be able to forgive my body for failing.