Wednesday, March 14, 2007

No babes in the brush

My mom has a favorite Christmas photo of me. I am two and one-half years old with shiny, wispy dark brown waves of hair and clearly blue eyes. I sit on my aunt's living room floor on one leg, the other extended, in my red calico dress. My eyes are open startlingly wide. My mouth is agape. In my hands is a freshly unwrapped Madame Alexender 'Victoria' doll an in that moment someone caught the pure amazement and joy on my face because in that first moment, I thought she was real.

I have always wanted babies of my own. Always since I was old enough to know what a baby is, anyway. When I was ten I watched the parenting shows on television. In puberty I started reading Parenting magazine. In my teen years, when my menstruation had not come though everything else had begun at age eight, I secretly waited for a flutter in my belly hoping it had not come because I had been lucky enough to get pregnant just before it arrived.

It never arrived. When I was 17-going-on-18, the final test for the cause of my amenorrhea was an abdominal laparoscopy. I went into day stay and under general anesthesia. My pelvic cavity was reached through an incision in my belly button, and a camera was inserted.
They found two normal ovaries, two healthy fallopian tubes, and a band of fibrous tissue where my uterus should be. Well.

My maternal grandmother who was like a second mother, a close aunt, a giant cousin to me, sent over a cluster of freshly picked pansies (her very favorite, and it was late May) for me. As a grown woman I understand that she understood, and empathized with me. She has been gone for six years now, but I wish I could give her the appropriate thank you now.

My mom had a very difficult time getting pregnant with me, her first of two children, in 1973. She remembers my grandmother screaming, "Yippee!! Yippee!!"when they got the good news.

I always wanted babies. I wanted to have four or more children. After the news of the missing uterus I kind of gave up- grieved a little for the last 15 years over the children I will never conceive.

About three years ago I was hit with what must be the chiming of the biological clock, suddenly possessed with an intense drive to get pregnant. It mattered naught how I told my body, "But we can't!" I have for years had occasional dreams of being pregnant, but they were unrealistic.
Two years ago the dreams became very realistic. I would have a belly full of fetus I could feel. I would see the baby moving, touch the kicks, revel in being pregnant. I never dreamed my way through labor but would either awake before labor began, or suddenly have a baby and begin to nest and shop and gather.

And invariably wake up still feeling like I was a new mom with a new baby, still warmed inside and ready to get up and go gather that baby to my side, or look down and marvel at my belly. And then I would realize it was all a dream and want to sob through the day every time I saw a mom with an infant.

That was part of my intense depression last summer- I finally accepted a lot of things, once I finally realized what was upsetting me, like my rape and my inability to conceive.

These days the urges have thankfully subsided but I am caught further and further in a fold. I want to be a parent. I need to give myself over to that responsibility. But I am almost 32 and marriage hasn't happened yet. There is no reason to believe it is even on the horizon. (yes I was engaged last year but I had forced it, when it was wrong for both of us). I see parenthood slipping further and further out of my reach and I am becoming actively afraid the chances are going to slip on by. Do I risk further romantic relationships and just decide I am going to adopt and whomever I am with when the time comes can hang on or bail? Do I continue to wait around hoping a healthy marriage will come my way? How long do I wait?

I think about foster parenting. I have thought about it for ten years. Would I be allowed to do it living alone in a two bedroom apartment with a crappy car and little if any savings? I am thinking of keeping a two bedroom apartment for myself so there would be a child's room available.

I think decision time is rolling, slowly, up my highway.


Ruth Dynamite said...

Have you considered mentoring? Becoming a Big Sister (or something like it) might be very rewarding, and it'll give you more time to consider adoption. I wish you luck!

Nancy said...

It's definitely possible for you to adopt, even if you end up as a single mother. One of my daughter's friends at day care is a single mom who adopted a little girl from China in her late 30s. It might take some time (and resources) to achieve, but it might not hurt to research it now. Good luck.

urban-urchin said...

When you have a desire this strong and primal, I think that it will work out. You want to be a mother, there are so many children who need mothers. Perserverance and a few resources (does your employer offer adoption assistance for example?) will hopefully help you fullfill your lifelong desire for motherhood.

Karen said...

Thank you all for your thoughts-
they are all hope inspiring :)

I've looked into being a Big Sister several times but always decide my life isn't perfect or experienced or fabulous enough to have enough to give someone in need. Silly, isn't it? Perhaps it is time I looked into it again!

Your friend's adoption story is promising!
I have read a little bit and talked to friends and coworkers about adoption- the price scares me away because I just don't make enough money(the average cost is $20-$30K)- but maybe there are ways.
Just three days ago a coworker who's daughter is adopting from Vietnam told me adoption is tax deductible if the household makes under $100K/year.

Thank you- primal is how the drive has always felt.
I never realized there was such a thing as adoption assistance. That is something for me to explore!

I have considered foster care as well, but don't currently have a spare bedroom to offer a child.
Hopefully in the near future!