But I do.
Because I’m haunted.
Haunted by the ghost of a baby that doesn’t, and probably never will, exist. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Every single day I am haunted by unexplained secondary infertility and its effects. Haunted by the whispers and pitied looks from those around me. Haunted by those who have turned their backs on me through all of this.
Everything has become a struggle. It’s harder to go to work. Being around pregnant women physically hurts me at this point. Sawyer growing up is more bittersweet than ever. Each “first” that passes is a reminder that I will most likely never get to experience those things again. I will probably never: feel the kicks and wiggles of a baby from the inside, birth another baby in peace and strength, nurse another baby, snuggle another baby to sleep in the stillness of the night- with only the sounds of their little breath and the breeze, I’ll probably never have another first birthday party or welcoming ceremony.
“But, but, you never know! Just stop trying! It will happen!” I have heard this words more times than I can count over the past three years, and here I am- just the same. No round belly, no baby in my arms. Of course, anything is possible- but with the amount of time that has passed, and all of the effort we’ve put into this with no return- it just doesn’t seem realistic to think that we will be adding another person to our family. This isn’t a time to give advice or ask what I’ve done. If you read this blog, you already know those answers. It’s just about reflection. How much we’ve changed, how far we’ve come. I’m weathered, weary, and a little bit broken. I tried and I failed. I couldn’t study or practice my way out of this. I couldn’t get the job done. Every comment of, “Oh, he’s your ONLY one?” stings with failure. The ghost never lets me forget that.
Even if we chose to just move on, even if we decide on our own that being a family of 3 is how we will stay- it’s all still there. Everything we’ve gone through, all of the pain, anger, and sadness we’ve felt- it doesn’t go away. It just hides itself in the shadows, waiting for you to let your guard down. So you peek around corners and keep your hands and mind busy so it can’t grab hold. But it’s still there. After all of the tests, and months (YEARS, actually) of trying, this “condition” truly is a ghost following me around. It’s always there. Always hovering, but only I can see it.
Most of all, though, I’m haunted because I literally FEEL like there is supposed to be someone else here with us. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t catch myself looking for another person, another child, that I feel like I am forgetting. Of course, though, it’s all in my head. There’s no second baby. There’s only the unfulfilled hopes and dreams of the baby that only exists in my mind. The music I’ll never get to play during the birth, the story I’ll never get to write, the clothes they’ll never wear, the cheeks I’ll never kiss.
Just the ghost.