Updated: Jan 10, 2020
personal essay - nonfiction
I was lounging on the couch with my legs on top of Chris’s legs scrolling through Instagram. I asked him if he wanted to hear something stupid and he said sure.
Wait you need backstory first I said and I explained to him that my first ever boyfriend had an older brother who moved to Texas and he became this weird body builder and then married a female bodybuilder. Ok he said. So this is from her Instagram I explained and he said ok go.
No matter how you feel: GET UP, DRESS UP, SHOW UP, and NEVER GIVE UP! I put on a brave new face everyday, despite hurting on the inside. 2 ½ years of waiting. We were diagnosed with male factor infertility two years ago. We’ve done medicated timed intercourse, medicated IUI, and we are now on our third IVF transfer. The first ended in a chemical and the second didn’t stick at all. Waiting on our third opportunity and I’m just tired of waiting. I’ve been on hormones for the majority of this year and I’m just so tired of it. I’m a good person. I’m going to be an amazing MOTHER! When it is going to be my turn?!?
Jesus that’s a lot to unpack Chris said with his eyes still on the TV. She put all of that on social media? I laughed.
I thought about the two fetuses that I’d killed in my life. One I took a pill for that made me miscarry at home, and the other one was sucked out of me by a doctor. I never thought that those things made me a bad person, but I of course started to wonder how the presence of a fetus or lack thereof relates to how good or bad of a human being you are.
I was not interested in babies growing up. I kept getting baby dolls as birthday gifts and after the guests would leave I’d always hold them up by the arm or ankle and ask my mom what I was supposed to do with them. She’d offer “feeding” them or pushing them around in a stroller but I couldn’t understand why that was fun.
The first time, I went to meet my ex husband at work on his break and we stood outside and I said I’m pregnant and he lit a cigarette and blew the smoke in my face without realizing it which would have seemed worse if I was going to keep it. We went to a bar with some friends when he finished his shift and he didn’t pay attention to me and drank until he blacked out.
The second time was with a guy I barely knew who called me over sometimes to have sex. The only reason I told him was because I knew he’d pay to take care of it and I didn’t have enough money. He drove me to my appointment which was more than my ex husband ever did and he put his hand on my shoulder and I shrugged it off of me.
He kept asking do you want me to go in with you and I said no no no over and over and he handed me some folded up hundred dollar bills and I got out of the car and I never saw him or talked to him again.
One of the things I had to do after this second pregnancy besides tell the guy and get the money and go to the clinic was call the egg donor place. In an act of desperation I had signed up to sell my eggs and a gay couple offered me $6,000 to have them taken out and frozen but since I had gotten pregnant I couldn’t help them anymore. I don’t know if they think I’m a bad person because I don’t know anything about them. I don’t even know their names.
With the second one I remember wishing that I hadn’t been so stupid and gotten myself pregnant twice because I felt too old to be in that position again. But I also was sitting in those weird chairs they put you in after the procedure next to a bunch of other girls that were staring quietly into space and I wished I’d felt something bigger than stupidity.
My friend once told me that she thinks they put some drug in your IV before the procedure that makes you not care about things but I don’t know if that’s true. When the nurse had said do you want to see the screen during the ultrasound I shook my head but even that didn’t make me feel like a bad person. I kept expecting all of these moments to feel like these awful, terrible things but they actually didn’t feel like anything at all.
One night I told Chris that even though I am almost thirty I don’t want babies and never have wanted them and I was okay with that, mostly. But sometimes it made me feel strange or like less of a woman in this weird way. I didn’t tell him about the two pregnancies because I was still so in love with who he thought I was. Chris had shrugged and put his hands in his pockets and said I don’t want them either and that was that. Is selfishness really that bad of a trait?
I once worked in an office of all women which I hated because we’d always get our periods at the same time. One of them was so obsessed with babies, all she could ever talk about was babies and how much she wanted to be a mom and one day she said to me why don’t you ever say anything when we talk about this stuff. I said I guess because I didn’t want babies and all the women said what about Chris doesn’t he want them and I said that he didn’t want babies either and they asked what will you do if he changes his mind.
When I read about famous women who don’t have babies like Jennifer Aniston or see articles about millennial women putting off motherhood and things like that the common theme is this mind changing thing. No one ever asked me if I would change my mind, only if Chris would.
Maybe this is because Chris is a better person than I am. He has a softer quiet voice and he is very patient. He listens to people intently when they speak and he knows how to forgive and mean it. I sometimes wonder if Chris and the people around me think or maybe even know that I would be a bad mother and that’s why they never ask.
Every once in awhile when I am out walking and I see families at the grocery store or at the park and they look happy I don’t feel sad but I do feel like I want to feel sad. I think that there are so many things that are missing from my life, but I don’t know how to rank them.
If my first boyfriend’s brother’s wife knew about my two pregnancies and how they ended up she would likely think I’m a bad person because I took these moments from (good?) people and threw them in the trash. If good people deserve good things and bad people deserve bad things then it is possible that Chris will change his mind and throw me in the trash too.
If I could go back in time, though, I wouldn’t change the pregnancies or what happened to them. But if I could go back to the days we met I would make sure to run in the opposite direction of the two men who contributed to them and I would never, ever, ever look back.