Monday, August 29, 2011

Plus One

Saw this on Post Secret today...

It hit a little close to home.  I've written about this before so forgive me if I sound like I'm beating a dead horse.  It's just that this is something I think about a lot.  I've wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember and while that dream has undergone significant metamorphoses through the years, the bare bones of it have remained the same: me, belly, baby, love.  Now, however, there's an element to the dream and the worries surrounding it that I've never entertained before - what if I can't get pregnant?  I've taken a few pregnancy tests through the years (Hi Mom and Dad!), so I'm acquainted with the two minute waiting period, the feeling of sitting on the cold tile of a bathroom floor, sending desperate pleas into the universe, Please say no, please say no, please please please say no.  It's always said no.  I've been lucky.  I certainly didn't want to be pregnant any of those times, and when I held the hands of a couple of friends who were not so lucky, I was acutely aware that There but for the grace of God go I.

Now, though, two diametrically opposed things have happened.  The first - I'm finally with the person with whom I want to have and raise children.  Lucky for me, she wants them as badly as I do and so I know that in the grand scheme of things, I don't have to wait that much longer.  The second - I'm (currently) infertile.  As far as modern medicine has brought us in regards to providing men and women with the ability to choose how and when (if ever) to have children, there is biology millions of years in the making that still has the final word.  And when a body is too malnourished to support life, it doesn't waste its precious energy and resources growing and releasing eggs, let alone supporting a fetus in the event of conception.  Survival comes first.  And since May, my body has been shunting resources far, far away from my (albeit unused) reproductive system.  I'm sure you can see where this is going: Did I waste my chance?  The thought plagues me late at night as I contemplate the perversity of the situation.  Years went by of birth control and the hastily whispered prayers in the bathrooms where an ounce of urine could spell a drastically shifting future and now that Alix's and my ducks are (somewhat) in a row, I've up and quit ovulating.

Physically, amenorrhea as a result of malnourishment is largely reversible.  It's a pretty simple process - once the body isn't desperately harboring nutrients for the support of more important organs, like the brain and heart, it'll start allotting some for the ovaries and uterus and things (should) get kicked into gear again.  Of course, the mental/psychological hurdles to leap over to get to that point are significantly less straightforward.  Which is precisely why I've made a promise to myself: When - not if - I get through this, I'm not wasting any more time.  I'm not going to take my body and my ability to support life for granted anymore.  I'm determined, with a fierceness that I haven't felt before now, to beat this monster that has taken so much from me and from my relationship with Alix.

I will learn to feed myself so that my body can grow a baby, so that I can nurse that baby, and so that I can be the mother I want to be.  I will beat this thing, one way or another.  And when I do?  There will be a different picture heading a blog post.  Something with a plus sign.  My family plus one.  The best one of all.

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