I remember my first pregnancy “scare.” It was scary; we have never yet been in a place in our lives where a baby would not mean near financial ruin and probably poverty, not to mention hitting pause on a whole lot of dreams we’ve got percolating. But it was more than that, too. It was a labyrinth of emotions, including fear, anxiety, tentative excitement, and a strangled kind of hope.
I walked around for several days in a haze of sick worry. I wrote a letter to the potential baby in my belly. I agonized.
I vividly recall the walk to the grocery store to buy a pregnancy test. The hot sun on my face, the weird unreality of the world around me, like that feeling when you’re a little buzzed and everything seems a little more like living inside a TV show rather than real life. I remember pacing anxiously, waiting for the three minutes to end. I remember the one stripe: not pregnant.
And I remember the crushing disappointment that flooded in after the relief.
This wasn’t just dodging a bullet, it was also the denial of something that I have always, always been sure I wanted. Now was not the time for a squirming infant with alien toes and unbearably soft hair and that indescribable baby smell. Now was not the time for sleepless nights and diaper changes and the entire restructuring of who I am and my place in the world. But being told that I wasn’t going to have that after half-believing I would was devastating in a way that I could barely comprehend.
I remember sobbing on Bryan’s shoulder, unable to control myself.
The desire to have children is something that I carry around in my chest every day, something that is sometimes so intense it’s suffocating. So intense it is a physical sensation of want. I don’t know where to put it. We are nowhere near ready to add children to our lives, and yet the want – the need – doesn’t fade with that logical knowledge. I can put it out of my mind for a while, but it always comes surging right back.