Grief and Ambivalence

When my husband and I first discussed marriage, I made him promise me that we will try to have a child. At the time I didn’t know I had endometriosis and I was feeling a lot of that biological jealousy of the bond that my husbands ex had with their son. I hated that his ex wife went through everything a wife was suppose to go through with MY husband and she couldn’t make it work. I thought that we could… scratch that, I KNEW we could do it! He agreed that we would try for kids after three years. That would put me at 27 years old and him at 39. I didn’t want to have kids past 30 as that increases the chances of birth defects and it is much harder on the body. I was certain this was going to happen.

Fast forward a few months after we sealed the deal on our marriage, and suddenly my husband has changed his mind. I was angry with him. FUMING! I felt lost and confused and incredibly angry. How dare he change the plan on me! He trapped me! I even went as far as giving him an ultimatum of “Give me a child or I cant promise I will not leave you for someone who can!”. This killed him and it was extremely fucked up of me to say. In my defense, I was promised we would try to have a family and he took that option from me. He lied to me. He was angry with me now and all we did was fight! The fighting got so bad that we almost divorced over this! This was probably the lowest of the low for us.

Some clarification on his decisions, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis about three months into our marriage. He was concerned for my well being. Add the fact that I weighed only 105lbs and have difficulty staying nourished. My body is just that way. His previous experience with having a child with his first wife was horrible. She was incredibly needy the entire pregnancy and made him do EVERYTHING with absolutely no contribution with the excuse of “I’m growing a child in me” to support her laziness. After the child was born, she had post partum OBSESSION and their son took my husbands spot in their bed, pushing him to the couch just a few weeks after his birth. The first wife had a pretty terrible experience with the labor itself and their son was a facial presentation with a doctor who was negligent. Their son almost died that day resulting in frontal lobe damage and the additional physical component of their sons Anti Social Personality Disorder diagnosis. This combination left my husband with a sort of post traumatic stress about children that he didn’t know how to talk to me about.

My husband had many reasons to say no. I was angry that he didn’t consider that I was a different woman than his ex wife and I was angry with her and him both for ruining what was suppose to be my experience. Yeah, it was his second marriage but it was my first and I wanted to have it all! It was my right as a woman and a wife! I was so angry.

Around this same time, someone very close to me was going through something similar that left her with a lot of the same emotions. She was trying for years to get pregnant with her husband and was unsuccessful. During this time she had a diagnostic laparoscopy and they discovered that her fallopian tubes were blocked and pre-cancerous so they removed them. She had tried for three years only to find out that she would never conceive a child. Now, her only option to get pregnant would be $12,000 for IVF (which doesn’t usually work) that insurance doesn’t cover and they could not afford. She was angry. She felt alone. She hated herself for not being able to do the one thing a woman was suppose to do. She hated her body and her decisions. She hated not taking care of herself enough to preserve her own fertility. She felt alone. She felt like a failure.

One thing that she said to me during a phone call was she wanted to give her husband an “out” and let him find a woman that could give him a child. She was so focused on what she couldn’t do, she didn’t see what she had… a husband that didn’t care if they could have a child or not, but loved her no matter what. Through better or worse.

What both of us had in common was not what we did have (amazing husbands who love us through thick and thin), but what we didn’t! For very different reasons, we felt very similar emotions. Anger, loneliness, ambivalence toward the whole situation at times. That’s where I took root. Ambivalence. I eventually decided that if he didn’t want to have a child, and if it was going to be difficult with the endometriosis anyway, what’s the point of even trying? If his son wants to kill and torture anything that he perceives is lesser than himself, why put my own child through that? I didn’t want any other man and I loved my husband more than anything, so I put my own biological desire on the back burner. I essentially gave in, gave up, and just accepted what I had despite how I really felt about it.

I had an entire grieving process that I kept to myself. I would get what seemed irrationally angry for no reason to the outside world, but inside I was beating myself up for choosing a child that wasn’t mine who couldn’t feel empathy or love over a type of love that is impossible to replicate or understand fully unless you have a child of your own. I was grieving the child that would never be. I named her. Judeth Jo – with an E instead of an I. In my mind it’s a girl with big blue eyes and the prettiest blonde hair you’ve ever seen. She has an oval face and strong jaw. She is funny and smart. Kind. I love her dearly. It kills me I will never share my body with her or see what she would become when she grew up. I’ll never count her fingers and toes, laugh at her yawns, soothe her cries, or feel her tiny arms around my neck. Every time I think about her, my throat gets a lump and my eyes swell and over flow with the tears of grief and loss. And then I feel stupid because I am torturing myself over someone that will never exist.

Over time, I finally decided to just accept my fate. I accepted that Judeth was a figment of my imagination and focused on the child that was in front of me, for better or worse, for exactly who he was if I hated him or not. It still kills me that my husbands ex wife has told me multiple times that she is happy we will never have kids because that’s something only her and my husband will ever share together and she doesn’t want anyone else to have that experience with him. I’m the type of person that likes to prove everyone, especially her, wrong.

It’s unfair that she got that experience with MY husband. The man I love and cherish but I never will. I hate her for that! I hate that she has thrown that in my face and I especially hate that she took advantage of this and dropped their son on my lap without warning. I despise her.

Every time I see a baby announcement on Facebook, I still get a little jealous. I am happy for my friends and family, but I’m still a little jealous of their ability to have a family without the hurdles or struggles. While I’ve forced myself to accept what is, I’m terrified I will always hold that silent resentment toward my husband, his ex, and his son for keeping me from what could have been an amazing person.

My close person that I mentioned earlier has shared many of these same griefs within herself. I can’t imagine what it feels like to have those same emotions with no external outlet for them. I know the pain and the anger and the struggle and I have a source I can seeth on in quiet resentment. When I hear these women who are physically unable I cry every time I hear their story. That self loathing is something that is unique to three types of struggles… infertility, loss of a child, and loss of a pregnancy. The bond between mother and child is strong even when there is no child to share it with. That bond is beyond rational, beyond logical, and beyond comparison to anything else in the world. For all of us with a “would have been” baby, I feel your pain. I relate to your grief, and I hope and pray you can one day have what you’re hoping for.

I know that it doesn’t mean the same to hear “well, why don’t you adopt?”. Fuck you and fuck that suggestion! Yes, those who struggle know that there are children out there that need a home and love and it’s not that we don’t care about those children! It’s that we will never have that experience of having our own. I know the anger of seeing women who HAVE that child but doesn’t care for them or take care of them. Those stupid women who have what thousands of others pray for just throw it away! I know that anger!

What we need to hear is that our pain is relevant. That our struggle is real. I wish people would stop acting like having a child is something that just “falls into your lap”. It doesn’t always happen that way! You can’t just go out and buy a baby and expect for you to carry the same feelings and emotions as when you make one with yours and your husbands DNA in a beautiful and wonderful combination. IVF isn’t the same as sharing a moment with your husband creating a beautiful life from your act of love. Its just not the same. Stop dismissing the hurt and pain this struggle causes because it does not help. As a matter of fact, it hurts!

I’m so sorry you’re going through this! I’m so sorry you’re struggling. I wish I could take your pain away! I wish the human body would find a way to make that desire go away when the ability does! I wish I could take the hurt from you and replace it with something wonderful! I’m sorry!

Step Mommy Dearest




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