When art is ugly: The reality of trying to conceive
Over at this blog, I spend a lot of time conveying how much art is life. It gives us life and our lives are full of instances that create art. All of the wonderful and the terrible things that can happen are art.
I am personally going through the fight of my life and it’s not pretty or pleasant or wished on anyone. My husband David and I are trying to have a child. He has two great kiddos of his own whom I help raise. We collectively made the decision to try to have another that is our child together. Both of his kids would like to have a brother or sister.
I spent most of my young adult life not wanting to have a child. I didn’t desire it. I loved kids, actually. I just didn’t think it was for me and I always thought that you had to have a really good, non-selfish reason to have a child. I felt that way for over a decade. I had these conversations with people for a while and I always said that the answers seemed selfish. Don’t misunderstand; I don’t think selfishness is bad all the time. The want of a child is the most wonderful of “selfish” wants because, in the end, you really have to be pretty selfless to actually have one. That’s one reason why this is so painful.
When I decided that I wanted to have a baby, I thought long about why. All of the answers felt selfish: Wanting to have a baby that had the traits and appearances of us both. Wanting to raise a baby whom we believed would be a spectacular human being, of course! And wanting to have a child that, in all honestly, would grow, change and thrive in this little studio. My dreams are lofty, and maybe idealistic. I admit this!
Regardless of all that, I’m 38. And with growth and helping raise two kids, I came to realize how much I wanted my own — which says a lot about them. I didn’t realize how much I wanted this. My husband wants a third child but I can’t help but get teary because he already has two of his own. In the end he will have those kids and if I can’t get pregnant, I will not have any of my own. I didn’t realize this was going to take so long or that it was going to be pretty much my own body that isn’t cooperating. I didn’t realize I was going to be someone who sought the help of a fertility clinic.
I’ve been poked and prodded. Been through all kinds of tests. Vials and vials of blood drawn. Failed attempts. Tears. Procedures. Medications. I haven’t even gotten into the REAL thick of it, which is usually IVF, and it’s tremendously horrible — all of it. Every time you have yet another hope get dashed. Your prayers go unanswered. You rack up debt and you wonder if the Universe even wants this as much as you thought it did. Insurance is a nightmare and useless as they laugh in your face. How dare you need a sonogram! You even hope they find something wrong with you because they never seem to find ANYTHING wrong so then you are left with more questions. People tell you to relax. Seriously?
I think of the women who neglect their children — who can’t even get sober for their children. How they managed to let their kids slip through their fingertips. Being a woman of sobriety for over 7 years now, I know it’s terribly hard. But it’s doable. I did it for me but when you have others who depend on you? How can a person just walk away? I’m putting my heart into a child who isn’t even here yet!
You sit on the edge of your bed and bawl your eyes out and just think of all the times where you felt hopeful only to find that you are yet again, not pregnant. Your husband holds you, wipes away your tears and hates this for you – wants the two of you to take a break from it. You find a sisterhood of women going through the same thing or have gone through it and you find solace somehow. It still stings every time you get yet another baby shower invitation, oftentimes on the same day you get your period. You feel barren and, although it seems silly, somehow you feel useless?! Why? We are not our wombs but because we create life there, when it doesn’t happen, there is a thought of feeling put out to pasture. It’s not true, of course, but by now you’ve just been put through the ringer and can’t see passed the hurt for a little while. You play Pokémon Go because it's absurd and it lightens your mood.
This is art. It’s awful and ugly art. If it were on the walls of a gallery it would be a grey and red mess of sadness spattered on canvas. If it were a photograph it would be a woman wailing with deep-set, forlorn eyes. I hope to grow even more from all this. And I know this blog post isn’t polished. It’s unflinching. It’s not meant to make anyone feel better or less awkward talking to me. It’s just a testament that if you are also going through any of this, you are not alone. I just wanted to share vulnerability.
We can’t grow together if we aren’t real with one another and I’m no longer hiding what I’m going through at this point in my life.