When is hope not enough?

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Today I am consumed with thoughts of the future family I am not likely to have. I am reminded constantly that I do not have what absolutely feels a part of my identity even though it isn’t real. There are beautiful pregnant tummies everywhere, gorgeous newborns, prams, families, sweet little clothes, events for families, family gatherings, oo’ing and ahh’ing over friends and family’s children, … you get the picture. I feel as though I have lost this, possibly even lost a child. If it wasn’t enough my sister is pregnant again.

Yesterday my sister said “when I finish having children I’m going to have a breast reduction”. I had to wonder what she meant by when she finishes – “hasn’t she already finished?” Hang on…

In that moment I looked at her and asked what do you mean “when”? She just looked at me while I looked at her and realised she is pregnant!! We both had to laugh at the ridiculousness of this in the unhappy circumstance she is in.** I couldn’t have thought of a better way to make the situation worse for her if I tried!

I just cant help but be envious. I try so hard to be supportive but simply can not stop thinking and wishing it was me, surely it is my turn?! Why is it that she can get pregnant so easily and I can not? Why is she pregnant and in crappy circumstances when I could be pregnant and in less crappy circumstances? I want the oo’ing and ah’ing over my children. I want to buy clothes for my children. I want to watch my children learn to draw, dance, talk, walk, kiss, hug, pull funny faces, fall off beds, have conversations with cats, … you get the picture.

It’s so hard to be happy for her or to be supportive of whatever she will decide to do when I want that for myself sooo badly. I did suggest we could go away for a year and create a story about me being pregnant and returning with a child, i.e.. that I could have this child. Clearly this isn’t actually going to happen though. She will work it out.

Then tonight I was watching a sad tale of a couple who have been trying for ten years to have children. Mary is an Australian actress, being famous for her hilarious role in an 80s satire ‘Acropolis Now’. She and her husband were interviewed on 60 Minutes about their heartache and experience of multiple failed IVF rounds, but particularly about the still birth of their daughter. I cried with them and for them. In a strange way their experience emanated my own sense of grief. I’ve never lost a child but I do experience the same grief of not having a child I have been in love with for a lifetime.

Towards the end of the interview Mary talks about hope. In their hope they did more IVF and are pregnant again and this time it seems more positive. But she is sad, I can see that in her eyes and body despite her presenting as confident and happy. Her eyes say that she is already grieving for what may be another lost child. Perhaps I am projecting my own sense of lost hope? Perhaps I am projecting a need to know whether it is over yet, a need to know for sure when enough is enough. When do I give up? Will I ever give up?

**For many this would be a happy occasion but for my sister this is an unknown, potentially fraught with angst. Almost exactly two years ago she was announcing the same news. It was slightly happier but still fraught with angst. Like many relationships hers has come to an end…it hasn’t and continues to not be a clean break up. He cheated (not just once, but long term, after she knew and then discovered she was pregnant), addicted to dope, drinks heavily, is addicted to porn, is manipulative of others emotions… he is basically extremely immature and selfish in that same way. He now plays on my sisters guilt of wanting her daughter to have a loving and involved father but not being able to provide that. He also has started putting his own insecurities and guilt on to their little girl… I want to smack him sometimes!

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