It was a routine visit to the OBGYN. Just another annual check-up and I assumed it would go just as smoothly as the last check-ups have gone. No STD’s and no abnormal pap. After all, this is the way it’s gone since I was 16. The only difference was this time I would be going in with the intention to stop my birth control. With the intention of telling my OB that my husband and I were going to start trying to have a baby. It was exciting and scary all at the same time, but from the day that I first started playing with baby dolls I knew that one of my great purposes in life was to be a mother.
I would be a great mother, a loving and caring mother. You know, the type of mother that would kiss the boo-boos and check a temperature by the kiss on the forehead. I would be the kind of mother that would watch in awe as her baby sleeps, the kind of mother that plays with their child and builds a relationship with their child, and the kind of mother that would be her child’s best friend, from baby to adult.
I would do the job that every mother hates to do but has to do too. I would discipline my child. The spankings, the time-outs, and saying “no” aren’t the ideal part of parenting, but nonetheless it is still parenting and I would do it. I would stay up countless hours with my child while they were sick or hurting from the heartbreak of their first love.
I would sit down and do homework with my child and cuddle with my child.
I had some pretty big ideas about the parent I was going to be. The parent I was supposed to be.
The dreams that were crushed and torn apart when I received the phone call that my OB wanted to see me again. That day I timidly walked into the doctor’s office. I could hear my heart thumping and I could have sworn the other patients could too. The doctor called my name and my hands got clammy and my breathing grew heavier, it felt as if I was on death row. As if it was my turn to say good-bye and in a way, that day I did say good-bye. I said good-bye to my biggest dream.
The doctor told me that it didn’t look like I would be able to bear children. She went on to explain why and she gave me countless other options. I was looking right at her, but I suddenly couldn’t hear a single word she was saying. I thought my sole purpose on this earth was to have children, to be a mommy and to make my husband a daddy. Suddenly this life I’d always been so blessed to have felt unfair. I felt like I had been dealt a pretty terrible hand. Hearing this news was terrible, but my biggest fear was yet to come, sharing the news with my husband. We spent years and years and years talking about how we were going to have kids. How excited we were and the moment we made the big decision to start trying I could literally see the excitement in his eyes. How was I ever going to tell him that I will never be able to give him children? Would he still love me? Would he still want me? What would he do?
My husband took the news about as hard as I did. We held each other for hours and cried and cried and cried. I probably did most of the crying, but the disappointment that flickered across his face in the moment I told him was nothing short of soul crushing. I was letting down the man I loved more than anything in this world. Not only did I feel like I killed my husband’s dreams, but I felt incompetent as a woman.
The days seemed to pass by ever so slowly. The house was hauntingly quiet as we barely spoke two words to each other for days. We were both struggling to manage our pain.
I spent hours staring at the brochures that the doctor had given me, but never could open them. I wasn’t ready to accept the fact that’d I’d never experience the excitement of feeling a child grow inside me. I’d never experience the pain and joys of child birth. I’d never be a mother. Not in the true sense anyway.
A few weeks had passed and I felt myself go from the deepest level of sadness to the deepest level of anger. I was mad at the world. I was mad that I wasn’t allowed to have children. That God took the one thing away from me that made me a woman. I was angry. No, I was pissed. I was pissed that there were drug addicts and murderers and horrible people that got to have kids, but not me. There were people who didn’t even want kids who were having kids and then there was me, the person who has spent her whole life dreaming of the day she’d become a mother, gets ripped off. What did I do to deserve this?
Time progressed and things between my husband and I seemed to continually digress down a path of darkness and hate. We rarely talked to each other anymore. The two people that were so in love on the day we said “I do” just a few short years ago, didn’t seem to inhabit the same bodies. We couldn’t look at each other without feeling like something was missing and every time my husband looked at me all I saw was disappointment.
“We should discuss our options.” Those were the first words I had heard come out of my husband’s mouth in months. It grabbed my attention right away and my first thought was “he wants a divorce.”
I didn’t blame him. I couldn’t give him the one thing we both wanted more than anything, so leaving was a decision I knew he’d make eventually. When I turned around though he was smiling as he was fanning out the pamphlets that the doctor had given me all those months ago. I could have sworn I threw them away, but there they were. He had this light in his eyes that I hadn’t seen since before the dreadful day I told him we would never be parents and I couldn’t help but smile. “What was he so excited about?”
He took my hands and he sat down right across from me and he said “Kate, I’ve always dreamed of the baby that you and I would have together. The last couple of months have been hard. We’ve both given up, but when I saw these pamphlets in the trash I decided to give them a look and that’s when I realized that whether we adopt, or we get a surrogate, or whatever it is that we do, this will always be OUR child. OUR child doesn’t have to share our DNA. It doesn’t have to have my laugh and your eyes. It just has to have US as parents.”
My husband and I have come a long way from that moment. In fact 8 years and 3 adopted kids later and I’ve never felt like more of a mom and a woman than I do in this very moment.
I realized a lot from this moment in time, but most importantly I realized the importance of love and patience. My husband had every reason in the world to leave me; in fact he should have left me. I wasn’t present in our relationship, I was distant, and I was cold. I would scold him without cause and I rarely looked him in the eye. He should have left, but he didn’t. He took our vows seriously and after some time had passed for grieving he decided to step in. He saved me, he saved our marriage and every day I can’t thank God enough for giving this man to me. Walking away would have been easier for him to do, but he knew what we used to be and what we were supposed to be and he pushed through. That’s what a real relationship is, it’s fighting for each other even when it seems like the odds are against you. It’s giving each other your everything, good and bad.