One of the books I read this month was Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision NOT to Have Kids.
I have quite a lot I’d like to say about the book, but right now I only want to look at one sentence. In her essay “Babes in the Woods”, Courtney Hodell describes the point in her life when she did attempt to get pregnant, only to discover that it wasn’t easy after all, and ultimately decides not to continue trying.
Of that moment, Hodell writes, “I wasn’t relieved, but I wasn’t sorry either.”
That sentence resonated with me. It has burrowed down into my soul.
The last two cycles, I have had moments where I thought I could be pregnant.
It is theoretically possible, after all. I am tracking my temperature. I know when I ovulated. I’m not in a sexless marriage. I know when these events overlap.
I’m not very good at recognizing what my body normally feels like post-ovulation, because I am not yet used to this entire concept of having a luteal phase that isn’t supported by progesterone and Fragmin and prednisone and the rest of the chemical cocktail. (It still boggles my mind that I can just write the words “the last two cycles” because I now HAVE cycles.)
So I have had points where I’ve wondered.
And then my temperature takes a nose dive one morning, and I know I am not, and Hodell managed to so perfectly encapsulate how I feel in that moment.
I am not relieved.
But I am not sorry either.
I am content in my life.
I will always, in some way, miss the baby we lost, but it is harder and harder now to imagine any family that is not my current lived reality.
I think I would welcome that most unlikely of situations, a natural pregnancy. I think I would rearrange my head and my heart to make sense of such a world. I think I would be able to adjust my vision of our future.
But it would no longer be easy.
We are complete.
We are happy.
And I think I can say this now and really, truly mean it:
I don’t want a second child enough to ever go back to the clinic.
I never thought I’d reach it.
But I’m here now.