Kara Anderson is a writer and homeschooling mom, driven by an unknown force to write everything down. She takes too many pictures and never leaves home without a notebook. Find her at Quill and Camera or on Facebook or Twitter.
Most days, it’s OK.
What am I talking about? It’s always OK.
But mostly, it doesn’t bother me anymore. It doesn’t follow me the way it used to, for years, the trying, the waiting, the … nothing.
But then I’ll have the dream again. The dream where I am pregnant and so thrilled, only to realize that something is wrong. I’m not gaining weight. I’m not feeling the baby kick.
I wake up, and for that day, I can’t help it. I walk around feeling a little empty.
It’s a horrible feeling, followed by a worse one, because I have two amazing kids.
I am so incredibly lucky. (And it makes me feel so very guilty.)
Secondary infertility is tricky like that.
I’ve had friends who have struggled through true infertility and miscarriage, and my heart breaks for them.
Some have chosen adoption. Some have moved on to another sort of life.
They seem OK, I think.
And I’m OK too. (So much better than OK.)
I try to teach my kids to be appreciative for what we have, and so when they ask about a little brother or sister, they know my line:
“I’m just grateful for you guys.”
I never say it aloud — because it feels incredibly selfish and unappreciative. (And I swear to you, I am so appreciative. Really. They will always, forever, be more than I could have wished for.)
And so it lives silently in my heart. (In the back somewhere.)
(Is this how people become Crazy Baby Ladies, I wonder? Is this how women become the worst versions of grandmothers?)
No, because, well, perspective.
My husband doesn’t think about it. We are like a sitcom family – an older boy; a younger girl. (Just no sassy toddler brought in late in the series to boost ratings.)
No one asks us about more because we have one of each.
(We’ve checked all the boxes.)
They assume it’s a choice, and so they say accidentally hurtful things. When one of my children is having a rough day they’ll quip: “And that’s why you’re done, right?”
But no. We’ve never decided anything. (And also, back off. My kids are cool.)
Instead … If I tell you, will you hate me?
If I say that I wanted more children to come in line like little stair-steps? That I wanted it to be easy? That I wished for it at night under the covers – that I dream of babies still?
(Babies who vanish in the morning light.)
We can joke about it now, though. For a long time, I couldn’t.
Last week, squeezing the big buff cat who we got for the kids, but who for some reason has taken a shine to me, I said to my husband: “Sometimes, I wonder if God gave me this cat because we can’t have more babies.”
It was a joke, the same way I used to ask him when we were first married, “If we can’t have babies, can we get a monkey?”
I expected a little chuckle, but instead:
“Yeah,” he said thoughtfully, kindly. “Yeah. Maybe.”
It could have crushed me that he was confirming what we never say: that we can’t.
But instead, it reminded me of all I do have. I have a husband, who gets me and gave me two wonderful kids, who bring me more joy than I ever imagined was possible.
And together, we are making an amazing life every day.
So is something missing? No.
Do I wish for more of it? Sometimes.
But is it OK?
Yeah – it is.
It finally, really is.