At 35 years of age, I'm well acquainted with that ticking clock. It’s loud and obnoxious, and it makes me do complicated math to figure out if I’d still have the energy to catch a toddler that would undoubtedly run circles around me.
This past weekend, while carrying around my baby nephew, whom I adore dearly, I was duly informed (for what is now officially the millionth time) "It’s time for you to have a child of your own!"
Suffice it to say, I'm tired of this ongoing helpful-reminder, as everyone around me must think that I either can’t read a calendar or am simply so selfish to only be thinking of my uber amount of free, childless time.
In reality, I’m stuck. I don’t have a way to say what I truly feel, when a well-meaning relative, friend or neighbor admonishes me for not having been preggers yet, (and don’t get me started when the chiding comes with a pat to my empty stomach, because touching me there must be entirely okay.)
My current response is a no-wait-I've-heard-this-one-before chuckle, then an all-body blush, followed by a "Yeah, motherhood is just not for me," which is a boldfaced lie. But, it’s much easier to get that sentiment across instead of breaking out the tears with the #truth. I wouldn’t get very far sobbing out, "As much as I'd love a child that has all the best qualities of my husband and I, I’m broken and can't conceive, so STFU KTHXBAI."
That self-contained explosion likely wouldn't go over very well, and I would be bound to repeat myself and try to explain further.
The problem is, I can’t talk about what ails me, not even to my parents, and simply saying “I can’t,” and leaving it like that, wouldn’t be enough for anyone.
I’m not ready to speak about my health, my (hopefully temporary) infertility, so I’m left with lying to the goodhearted folks I surround myself with, who think they’re being funny or supportive.
What they don’t know is, every day, I mourn.
There should be a child in my life, aged anywhere from a second to just over five years. We've been happily trying for six years, and while I knew this failure was in my pocket for a while now, it wasn't until early 2015 that I finally got confirmation that my health doesn't afford an easy pregnancy.
It’s a near improbable thing right now for me to get pregnant, and it might always be that case, depending on what modern health sciences and technology can do for my health. The one time where I had thought we had conceived, well… let’s just say it didn’t last very long, and to state that I felt devastated and highly depressed for more than a year later would be an epic understatement.
Every time I see a child, happy, or crying, or repeatedly whining loudly, "Mommy!” at a Walmart, I have a "What if?" moment.
What if my body had not betrayed me, and I could have that little bundle of pain and nightmares and irrevocable joy in our life. What if I was staring into the face of my beautiful, smiling baby right now, ‘cause he was making the nastiest poop I’ll ever uncover.
What if I’d be celebrating a quiet night in with my partner, phone glued to my hand, ‘cause our daughter was on her first ever sleepover next-door with her BFF.
These moments happen every day, for other parents, but not us.
So, at this moment, a baby is just not going to happen.
Who knows though, with my upcoming surgery, I might get better in the next few months. I might become fertile in a few months or a few years, but by then, Jay and I might decide its too late anyway. Its a race between that ever-present ticking clock and my doctor's smiling hopeful statement of, "Wait and see."
In the meantime, I find myself so very compelled to ask you fine people of the interwebs to please, PLEASE, refrain from uttering well-meaning or cheeky comments to people who don't have children.
Please think better of it than to tell a woman it’s their time to have a baby. You just might be saving yourself from witnessing an impressive meltdown, and possibly a bit of violence, by not doing so.
Maybe they can't. Maybe they simply don't want to. Regardless of choice or circumstance, it’s not anyone’s business but their own.
So please, do me a solid, and next time you think to tell someone "You should have a baby," just don’t.
Help me share these thoughts on Twitter, please?