counting the years

Again, this was written several years ago, and offers a glimpse into our journey.

Yesterday I spoke with a friend of mine who has been trying to get pregnant for over a year now. When I was only a year into it I didn’t tell anybody. I kept it to myself, didn’t share. Big J wasn’t really ready. He was willing to try as long as he didn’t need to go to the doctor or make any changes. And we were still so young. We had plenty of time.

Or so he thought.

If it had been up to me we both would have gone to see the doctor early on. I had endometriosis. I knew getting pregnant wouldn’t be easy. Big J knew too. But he refused to believe there was a problem.

I distinctly remember him saying he’d be fine waiting until he was 35 or 40 to start a family. He was only 27 at the time. How was this possible?

All through our engagement we discussed how many children we wanted, chose possible names, dreamed together. We wanted a family. And he knew all along it might be hard for us, for me to get pregnant. Until it involved more than just a romp in the bedroom he approached starting a family with a degree of nonchalance. To him, what were a few more years? To me a few years entirely altered the scope of my life.

I intended to be finished having babies by the time I was 32. The alternative was unimaginable. My desire to be a mom was so strong. My entire life I looked toward marriage and children, a normally achievable goal. And here was this man, my husband, set to derail my life’s plan.

As I write this a decade later I am 34 and he’s weeks away from his 37th birthday. Still no kids. And now he’s ready. With my medical issues, it’s too late for me biologically. Maybe there never was a chance for me, for us. But we can’t ever know what might have been had he craved parenthood the way I did from the beginning.

I don’t blame him. At least I don’t think I do. I spent a lot of time being angry. At Big J. At God. At myself.

Now I find myself faced with the thought of impending motherhood if we really do adopt. Something Big J says he wants to do. But he also said he wanted kids all those years ago and wasn’t willing to explore it until it was too late. I’ve spent years trying to make my dream, what I believed was our dream, come true. I’ve become so used to the painful absence of motherhood I now doubt my ability to be someone’s mommy. I never wanted to be an older mom. But I should, could, have a ten-year-old, and eight and six, not thinking of bringing home my first, perhaps my only, a year or so from now.

In fifth grade I had my life planned out, joyously oblivious to the limitations my life and body would place on me. I had specific ambitions. At 13 I’d be a babysitter. At 18 a girlfriend and married by 21. Four years later I’d be a mom. By age 30 I would be a teacher and at 50 I’d have my first grandchild. I’ve achieved all those milestones, so far, except one. Being a mom. It’s hard to let go of those dreams and expectations, to be in a place totally different than I thought I would be.

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