Hi, I’m Melinda and I’m currently struggling with the fact that I am not getting pregnant.
But let me explain…and take a few steps back…
One of the things that healed me the most after my divorce (5 years ago) was feeling pain in other new, fresh and difficult ways. Honestly – I know that might sound devastating. Like me saying, “Hey! No worries! It only keeps being terrible and shitty!” It’s a tough pill to swallow, but like my husband likes to say all the time (and much to my dismay): Reality is our friend.
The reality is that back then I thought I’d cried as hard as I’d ever cry. I thought my divorce was my big defining moment of life. Once I got through it, I thought my difficult chapter had closed. And though it felt for a long time like the rest of my chapters would consist of weirdly numb moments of passive, yet slightly enjoyable experiences of emotion, I realized eventually that any new sensation of pain I had was actually waking me up. THEN I thought that the new hope I felt in my soul during the wake up period would carry me forward indefinitely.
And the cycle of pain kept showing up.
I’d often use these cycles in my dialogue when meeting new people. If you know me, you know I am absolutely, 100% an open book. I love to connect with others. I love to share my joy. I love also to share my story of pain.
Now I will share with you my Chapters of Defining Pain. (starting with the first big one, as an adult)
Hi, I’m Melinda and I’m 25 and Divorced and Pretty Much a Total Failure and I’m Wondering What’s Wrong With My Body
Hi, I’m Melinda and I’m Alone and Probably Will Be Forever and I Can Already See the Old Chicken Lady I Will Become but That’s Okay, Because I sort of FEEL Like a Badass
Once that became smaller and my focus changed, my next big Chapter of Defining Pain was called:
I’m in Love With a Man Who Might Be In A State of Sadness and Healing For the Rest of His Life and He Has Actually Denied Me Three Times When I Told Him We Should Be A Couple
(this was the waking up chapter, though) (and yes, when Israel and I met, we’d both tried dating other people after our divorces, we were both still healing, we became friends who understood one another deeply and THEN I knew we’d be together and waited patiently for him to realize it, too)
Once he saw the light and fell in love with me, too, my new Chapter of Defining Pain was called:
I’m a Stepmom and Living in My Husband’s Stupid House That I Didn’t Help Pick Out But Someone Else Did and I Never, Ever Would Have Picked Out (But At Least It Has a Giant Tub)
However, now we live in a new house, and I can truly see the beauty in the time we spent in our first home together. As usual, the timing was perfect (in hindsight) and worked out much better for our family. And the first year of figuring out how to navigate life as an official stepmom was painful in ways I can’t quite describe, but now, I can truly say it is JOYFUL and BRILLIANT and downright DELIGHTFUL. I love those kids.
So, the story is never over, right? Because I now live in what I would call my “soul mate home” with my awesome, fun, and exciting family and all that once was painful became a beautiful part of my life and even with all of that, the next big Chapter of Defining Pain was called:
Hi, I’m Melinda and I Desperately Want a Baby But My Husband Had a Vasectomy Long Before We Met
And the next and most recent:
Hi, I’m Melinda and He Had A Vasectomy Reversal But I’m Not Getting Pregnant and It’s Been Nine Months
My point is, I have realized very VERY recently that I’ll probably keep crying. Life is hard. And I’m pretty sure the wailing sobs of my last “I’m not pregnant” moment were worse and deeper than when I cried over my divorce. In fact, my divorce itself feels like an old blip – like a different lifetime that yes, I remember, but no, I don’t feel emotion about anymore. I know I’ll keep having hard chapters. The next might be called: I Finally Got Pregnant But I Have Postpartum Depression OR Someone In My Immediate Family Has Died (God forbid) OR Something Even Worse That I Cannot Even Make Up.
Each of these chapters feels really awful when I’m in them. Yet now I see something I used to be blind to. I mean, I wish I had enjoyed the summer after my divorce a little bit more. I have great memories, but the entire experience – even the romance and fun and craziness I allowed myself to live out – is clouded by a heavy sadness. I remember my first “first date” as an adult, but I also remember going home after it and crying my eyes out alone in bed, wondering why that date was so wonderful and why that felt so strange to be treated like an actual queen. When I look back at my time alone and feeling like I just might end up an old chicken lady, I wish I had reveled in that reality and enjoyed it more. I wish I felt like a true badass in my singleness. When I felt out of place moving into a house that “wasn’t mine”, I wish I had been more able to see past that and enjoy aspects of it more.
BASICALLY, I WISH I HAD LIVED LIFE JOYFULLY, WITH FAITH AND HOPE, IN EACH OF THESE CHAPTERS.
Faith and Hope were both always in me, but they weren’t always “winning.”
I don’t want to meet a new person, go to coffee, and have my dialogue include: “I’m Melinda, and I’m divorced.” “I’m Melinda, and I’m alone.” or “I’m Melinda, and I’m currently not pregnant but it’s huge, and every month I’m disappointed.”
AND LUCKY ME, BECAUSE TURNS OUT, THESE CHAPTERS ALL HAVE SUBTITLES. YOU KNOW, THAT LITTLE SENTENCE UNDERNEATH THE TITLE THAT TELLS YOU WHAT THE STORY IS REALLY ABOUT.
My divorce chapter: The summer I got out a lot of healthy tears and moved forward and took chances and trusted God to lead my path – Oh! And I had the gift of learning who my true friends were.
My alone chapter: I finally experienced some life that built my character and allowed me to be the person I needed to be to live my best life. And some of those nights were actually pretty darn peaceful.
My rejected-by-Israel chapter: The last time in my life when I’d be doing ONLY my OWN laundry and going to bed whenever I darn well please. ;) ;)
The new stepmom/house chapter: When I finally learned to make a space my own – with others – and learn more about myself and life and strength and love due to these three children who are now my family.
The no-sperm-at-all phase: The time I wasn’t devastated each month, and still had hope in that future surgery.
Which leads me to my current Defining Pain… the fact that it just feels like it won’t happen. I know that for many, 9 months is not that long. That’s what people keep telling me. However, I just thought that it would happen sooner. I was so hopeful – I’d told many people something along the lines of, “I just have a feeling. I bet it’ll happen right away. I am so excited!” And like many, embarrassment is an emotion that brings out my worst. I hate to admit it, but I’m a little bit embarrassed at this point to have nothing to show for that excitement I shared last year. I put a “Sperm Day!” notice on my calendar at work for the day I’d be out, driving my husband to and from his surgery. (Do you remember me telling you that I’m an open book? Words like sperm do not scare me.) The kids know as much as a kid can know about the whole thing… basically that “dad couldn’t have kids, and then he had surgery and he had to lie down for a week and now he can have kids…” and they’re excited, too. Which sort of makes me feel like I’m letting more than just myself down, too.
I’ve had some months when I was a few days late and the secret excitement I felt only caused me shame and devastation when the monthly reminder finally came. I’ve charted everything perfectly and even “still made it fun” despite sort of planning things out. It feels like each month I’ve done everything right. Yet, no baby.
So my own goal is to change this broken record I’ve created for myself. My goal is to trust, actually TRUST, that my future is taken care of. God knows my heart. Is He keeping children from me? I honestly don’t think that He would do that. He gave me three children to parent, so He obviously thinks I’m capable, right? But the youngest was 4 when I met them… Does God think I just am not good with BABIES? (I digress… but these are the thoughts!)
I’ll admit that so far, my life has been one giant, fantastic surprise after another. Things have turned out well for me THROUGH EVERY SINGLE STRUGGLE. Every. Single. One.
1 Samuel 7:12 can be paraphrased as this: Thus far the Lord has been good to us.
When I remember that, the vasectomy reversal phase can easily become:
Just enjoy the process and trust that God’s timing is better than my own.
These are all easier to spot in hindsight. That’s the tricky part. I’m not writing this as someone who’s figured it out perfectly, either. I’m still crying every month I’m not pregnant. I am getting a little bit better with each round of pain, though. I’m bouncing back quicker. I’m truly enjoying the days, which are most of them, where I’m not actively feeling sadness. I’d challenge you to stop and think this through and to try to begin to see past your own pain, because I’m trying to do it, too, and I know it’s hard. I’m right there with you.
Remember that more pain will come and that this current shittiness does not define you forever. Also remember that in the midst of this time, there is probably at least one good thing you (possibly) can’t open your eyes to – and that most likely, the very best moment of your life has not happened yet.
I want to meet people and simply say with a smile, “I’m Melinda.”
What about you?
Lou (who, baby or not, is lucky to have this man by my side for better or for worse)