Today’s a day I need to make a certain journey. I need to go through the boxed layers of my mind. The outer layers are where the day-to-day stuff lives. What I’m going to wear today, what I’m going to eat today, what I’m going to be doing that day, conversations with friends and family… and so on. Moving to some of the inner boxes, there lie some deeper thoughts, opinions on hot topics, feelings about people and situations, a quiet and constant frustration with certain parts of life, a constant feeling of joy associated with other aspects of life… and so on.
Even further down, we have the beginnings of the vault. The thoughts that I try not to think about too hard or too deeply, because if I do, it will send me spiraling into an existential crisis that would impress Daniel Howell. The thoughts I can’t bear to contemplate, because their associated feelings are ones I hope never to experience. The place where the movie of “worst possible scenarios” plays on an endless loop, only broken up by the commercials of “completely unrealistic best-case of the worst possible scenario, that just gives you false hope” …and so on.
And then within the vault we have the lockboxes. The thoughts that I rarely allow myself to access. Today’s journey takes me there. I turn the key and I physically feel the shift from surface layer crying, to lockbox crying. I go deeper, to that reservoir of pent up emotion, and I collapse inside my mind. The waters successfully overflow the dams, and as they wash away everything in their path, I scream. I scream, I fall, I shake, I lose all restraint. That “freedom” is terrifying.
With the flood, comes every horrible detail that makes me scream more and more, until my throat is raw. Other people’s pregnancy announcements. Friends giving birth. The endless insensitive comments. The detached relationship from friends, family, and my community. The feeling of seeing blood again and again. The pain of going to the mikvah every month. The strained marital relationship. The torture of seeing children born at the same time you used to be due. The miscarriage. The ectopic pregnancy. The secret procedures and recoveries. The overwhelming feeling when your inability to take care of life catches up with you. The feelings of being flawed, of hopelessness, uselessness, anger, and sadness. I can’t scream anymore, and the emotion threatens to suffocate me.
Every day I find out someone else is pregnant or just had a baby. Some on their first try, some by happy accident, some unwanted. Every day someone asks me about the kids they think I have. And when they find out that the sum total of realized dreams is 0, it’s straight to, “What? Really? Why not? Don’t you want to have kids? When are you planning to have?” I’m still searching for a proper response to this extremely insensitive interview; something is bound to exist between politely replying, and verbally punching someone.
What am I supposed to do? What else can I do when I look at yet another pill, and realize how cruel it is to be called “prenatal”? How much longer am I going to be in that “pre” stage? How many more pills, ultrasounds, blood tests, doctors’ appointments, losses, and torture can one be expected to endure? With every one, my dreams of family are further away.
God can’t expect me to be perfect, can He? Is He only going to give me a child if I’m perfect? But how can I be, I’m weak. No one else is perfect, but they all have children. Why is this my story? Don’t let this be my story. I don’t want this. I don’t want to be that woman who fought bravely for years and was granted with her one miracle child at age 45. I want more. I clearly don’t deserve more.
The water’s drying up. I’m on the floor, breathing heavily, the tear tracks drying and tightening on my face. I lock the box. I leave the vault. I climb up the layers. The mask is back on. Time to continue my day.