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.