Since my diagnosis, I have come up with elaborate methods for convincing myself I am OK with losing the chance to be a mother. I have a list of why kids would destroy my marriage and sense of self. I avoid places where children flock and families are happy (Salt & Straw Ice Cream Shop down the street is off limits on sunny weekends). I even tell myself this story: Evan and I get our wish; we have a baby! However, from the very start, we know something is wrong. The baby looks at us with a wicked gleam in his eyes. Before we know it, he is escaping his crib and biting our fingers and toes in the night. At school, he puts slugs in the other kids’ jello and sets fire to his library books just to deprive his classmates of the joy of reading. Next thing we know, he is a juvenile delinquent. He kidnaps us, loads us up in a stolen car, and keeps us captive in an abandoned hacienda in Argentina. It’s not so far-fetched. Think about it. Every maniac and psychopath you’ve ever heard of had a mom and dad. It’s totally possible Evan and I have narrowly avoided creating the next Voldemort. I like to think that.
Every now and then, though, I’m caught off guard and have no time to conjure images of evil Baby Doboga. Like when Laura and I were watching “New Girl” and a commercial for a fertility clinic came on. A picture of an ultrasound drifted across the screen and I made this sound. I didn’t know humans could make a sound like that. It was instant and animal. I can’t even tell you what I was thinking. I’m not even sure I was thinking yet. My reaction was pure instinct. Then pain and fury rushed in, and I ground my teeth and shut my eyes to hold it back. I don’t want to feel that again.
Laura understood right away. She grabbed the remote and switched to “Broad City,” a show featuring the funniest and least maternal women I’ve ever seen. “It’s fine now,” she said. “What are you thinking we should do when mom visits next week?”
That’s how we erase it, or at least bury it. We have to. A person can only feel so much at one time. We have to pick and choose which hurts to feel. However, I still think of that awful sound. Whatever savage pain made it lives on in the shadows of my heart and the twist of my intestines, deeper and stronger than my bones.
One thought on “Deeper Than Bone”
We may never know from which dangers we were kept by the paths which were blocked before us. Nor can we know where the paths will lead which we were forced to walk grudgingly.
My dream of being a mother was also torn from me by the “fell clutch of circumstance.” In my tale, I don’t birth the demon; I become one. Missing out on motherhood saved one soul from a miserable life, I tell myself.
Then I rewind that mental message and rather than replaying, I choose to retell it differently. Instead of the mother I will never be, there lives the woman I have become. She is strong, compassionate, and capable of influencing others in positive ways. She is not destructive or barren. She is creative and nurturing. She is not the woman she thought she would become; she is more. I am, and that is enough.
Thank you for the being that you are, Rachel. You are infinite.