I may never share my story in detail again. I might, but I might not. I'm just so tired of how it always ends. It wears me out and often makes me mad.
Last week I decided to share the fact that it's not by choice that I don't have children to a very sensitive, empathetic, and smart woman I have come to know. She also happens to not have children as well. I thought she would get it. Or even if she didn't get it, I thought she wouldn't say anything stupid.
I was wrong.
I shared with her that I had always wanted children, I had planned my whole life around having children, I had bought a beautiful house for my children, and then I didn't get to have my children. I said I tried everything and nothing worked. I described it as traumatizing and shared that I was still recovering from it all. That, in a way, I would always be recovering from it. Grief is not linear and it doesn't necessarily end.
She asked, "Did you lose a baby?"
I hate this question. I hate hate hate it. It makes me feel like others think my loss isn't as big, isn't as meaningful, isn't as important, isn't as devastating and life changing.
I told her, "It's not that I just didn't get to birth my babies. I also never got to conceive them." And then to clarify I added, "I didn't have a miscarriage; I just couldn't ever get pregnant."
And it didn't end there. If it had ended there, that would be one thing. But she went on.
She asked, "What about adoption?"
I haaaaaaate being asked this.
I usually say I tried that too and it didn't work out and leave it at that. But I was having an open, in-depth conversation with this woman and I trusted her, so I decided to educate her a little bit. I shared how long I researched adoption agencies, how I finally found one I wanted to work with, and then (thankfully before we had invested any time, money, or hope) they went bankrupt. I told her how I couldn't do it anymore. I informed her how adoption has changed a lot over the years: how society has changed (for the better) and that single mothers are not as stigmatized and often receive more support from their families now and so there are not as many newborns available for adoption as there are families wanting to adopt. I told her how international adoption laws have changed, making international adoption much harder, if not impossible for some countries. I shared some of the ethical issues that arise with adoption. I shared with her how both of my sisters tried to adopt. One had a failed placement, while the other never received a placement after years of home studies, interviews, money, and waiting. I told her the average wait for adoption was at least 4 years and that I had aged out of the process according to my own preferences. (I added that other people may choose to be older parents, which is fine, but it's not my choice for myself.) I told her that I knew people who tried to adopt for many years and never became parents. I ended by telling her, "Not everyone who wants to be a mother gets to be a mother." And, by then, I was totally, completely, and absolutely exhausted.
She did reply with, "It's not fair that there are people with so much love to give and they don't get to have children." So she got it. She really did listen to me and everything I said, understood it all, and took it to heart.
I don't regret sharing my story with her. She is a kind, wise woman. But if one of the kindest, wisest women I know still asks me about pregnancy loss and adoption, I really don't have much hope for others. And I'm just tired of answering and/or deflecting those questions.
I'm just so tired of it all... So, it is quite possible that I may never share my story in detail again.