What I Can’t Say When People Ask If I Have Kids

“Not yet.”

My go-to response when someone asks if we have kids, because, well, what else can I say?

I definitely can’t describe every single detail of the past few years of infertility: a journey that has led us from the okay-we-might-need-some-extra-help from Clomid, through the sharp stings of hit-you-where-it-hurts injections directly into my abdomen paired with unsexy scheduled intercourse timed to ovulation, all the way to the big ole three-letter I-V-F. Certainly, not a peep about how, even when I got to that point, that practically-guaranteed baby that was so close I could almost feel it in my arms, I still failed.

I can’t mention what it feels like to have not one, not two, but three of my pregnancies leave my body before a single heart could beat. I spend hours wondering why my children keep dying inside of me. I’d promise myself next time will be different because I won’t drink those one or two cups of coffee during the two-week wait, I’ll daven even harder, I’ll be extra-good, anything for that chance to be like Sara, Rochel, or Chana, and end up with a baby in my arms just this once.

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A lack of explanation suddenly makes everyone I know a doctor or a spiritual authority as to why the partnership between me, my husband, and Hashem is malfunctioning. Everyone becomes a master of segulas. It must be because my mezuzahs are pasul, I’m not saying the right amount of tehillim with enough kavana, I didn’t eat the etrog, I ate the etrog, or I didn’t wear some overpriced ruby around my neck. Their imagined medical degrees determine my uterus is just too weak, that I need to take this magical vitamin, or these groundbreaking herbs, or have I tried acupuncture? There must be something I’m doing or not doing that makes me unworthy of bringing a neshama down into this world.

I wouldn’t even dare think about sharing how this past attempt I was convinced that it had to work this time since I had finally whittled down my remaining embryos through PGS chromosomal screening. My two perfect XX embryos, my meant-to-be twin girls, my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: another negative pregnancy test. I struggle to bury the memory of how it felt to throw away the black-and-white picture of those two clusters of cells, my two would-be daughters. That zoomed-in image that I was saving to surprise my family with when I finally got out of the miscarriage danger-zone. Those captured moments of the beginning of life that I would share with them one day to prove how much I wanted them, and how Hashem remembered me and my silent prayers.

Now my promising 11, nearly a dozen grade-A too-good-to-true embryos have dwindled down quicker than I could ever have thought possible, and I’m left with 2 final maybe-babies just a year later. Back to working crazy hours to save up for what will probably amount to just another few thousand dollars down the drain, but I still have to try just one last time.

Maybe not yet, and maybe not soon, maybe never, but maybe one day.