26 April 2010

What If?

What if implies possibilities, hopes, fears, what might be, the end that we don’t know yet, or even a stop along the way.  What if invites us to explore the land of the unknown, to stand up and look our fears and hopes straight in the face.  What if is scary.

My life is full of What if’s.  I share most of them with other people waiting, wondering, hoping - what if this is our month, cycle, whatever?  What if the option we tried this time is the right one?  What if it works?

Honestly though, these are the happy, hopeful, positive what ifs.  They’re few and far between, and there’s a whole room full of the dark, scary, unpleasant what ifs.  The ones that make us wonder if we’re worth it, the ones that make us feel like terrible people, the ones that we can’t even bear to say because just saying it admits that it might be true.  Today, I’m going to pick one, take it by the hand, and walk a mile in its shoes.

What if I have to learn how to live childfree with a smile…forever?

{Fast-Forward 10 years}

It starts when the phone rings,  it’s my youngest sister, calling to say “It’s Time!” and she’s scared and excited all at once, and you can hear every emotion in the world flow through her voice with those two words.  I feel them all too, overwhelmed for a moment, by the vastness of all of the different things that I’m feeling. 

At 14 years my junior, she’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to a child of my own.  I got to answer the teenage questions about sex, and give her advice and lectures she really didn’t want to hear.  For a couple of years, while my mom was gone, my other sisters and I stepped in and did the best we could, We did it again when my parents split. It’s not the same, but it’s as close as I got.  Jakobe and I tried, hard, in our thirties to have children of our own, but it wasn’t meant to be.

In this moment, the whole family is preparing to descend upon the local hospital, to wait in the waiting room, to wander in and out of the delivery room, and to generally be there for her.  It’s what we do.  We did it when my first nephew was born 16 years ago, and have done it from time to time, for cousins and friends in the meanwhile, but it’s the first time we’ve been able to do it for a sister since then.  It’s been a long wait. 

I think that we’re all excited.  Not everyone arrives at the same time; I’m one of the first.  Jakobe even comes with me, he’s been there giving lectures and advice since she was 14, and it’s a big day for him too.  Her hospital room fills up with family, and we’re all there with advice and smiles: The three of us older girls, and my mom - the people who were there in the room when she herself was born.   After a while Meg catches my eye and we share a little wry smile – the only indication of that lingering bit of sadness we both feel, the moment when we acknowledge that we both wished to experience what Ro is experiencing, but didn’t get that lucky.  Then we move on.

The rest of the day is nothing but smiles, congratulations, and visible happiness.  My niece it the most adorable baby I’ve ever seen, and Ro came through the whole thing like a trooper.  All of the cooing, and snuggling, and “Can I hold the baby” draws to an end and we all head back to our homes so that Ro can rest and recover.

Once we get home, I let go a little bit, and Jakobe holds me while I let out the tears that even I forgot I was holding back.  It doesn’t take long, I mostly gave up feeling sorry for myself when I finally accepted that it wasn’t ever going to happen for us, but it’s still there sometimes.  I make dinner, and decide that maybe it’s time for us to go on another awesome trip.

{Return to the present}

When I started to write that, I didn’t really understand how hard it was going to be to actually imagine myself in that situation.  I knew that I didn’t really want to think about it – and the pile of Kleenex next to me attests that it was a painful experience.  Now I get to move on o the fun side of the What ifs:

What if we go to Jakobe’s urologist appointment on Friday and discover that things aren’t as bad as they initially seemed?  What if it means that we get pregnant this year, and our dream of becoming parents comes true without needing to dig ourselves a hole of debt?  What if we don’t have to wait for a year to be able to afford to attempt it?

And one for my sister Meg:  What if they can figure out why their beans don’t stick, and fix it?

This post brought to you by the letters N, I, A, & W.  National Infertility Awareness Week.
Check out Project IF here.
For more information about NIAW please visit: http://www.resolve.org/takecharge
For more information about Infertility in general:  http://www.resolve.org/infertility101

Updated to add:  My positive what if's (for me at least) were a pipe dream.  The urologist said we wouldn't be conceiving naturally and IUI was unlikely as well.


  1. What a moving post, I do have tears in my eyes and I can share that What If....But I do love your closing paragraph better, there has to be hope, at least until we are truly ready to move on. Much love, Fran

  2. This had me crying. Its so hard to think of the future right now. But hope is what makes it possible. I hope you find out some hopeful news at the urologist!

  3. This is along the lines of what I want to write about....thank you for sharing.

  4. Great post, Jenni. Truly moving and thought provoking. And so raw. Thank you for sharing.
    What if I have to learn how to live childfree with a smile…forever? I've had this one lingering in my brain too.

  5. I really enjoyed reading your What If post! I hope you receive a surprisingly good update from the urologist... We're have MFI, too, so I can totally relate to Dave's reticence about seeing the ol' uro again.

    Best of luck! Happy ICLW and NIAW!

  6. This post brought tears to my eyes. I can't yet imagine living child free and just not trying anymore. It's such a long and dreadful road and even though I want it to end, I want it to end with a baby and not with empty arms. I hope you get some good news at the urologist appointment and can move forward with a plan of some sort. Best of luck to you and thanks for stopping by my blog.

  7. This reminds me of myself so much. I have 3 younger sisters, one of which is working on #2, and the youngest who is about to get married. I find myself wondering "what if the rest of our Christmases etc. are full of nieces and nephews but no children of our own?"

    I wish you the best and hope everything works out for you and you get your BFP soon.

  8. Here through ICLW and the WHAT if..
    this post had me crying and moved. You wrote all that not knowing where your road will lead. I think it shows how strong you are and how I wish that your what if..is answered with a dream come true.

  9. This one made me cry because it could have been my own. Thank you for saying what I could not - a beautiful post.

    Now a follower.


  10. Phew girl. That was intense. the kind of intense that I just can't even begin to touch just yet.

    That post is the reason, one of the reasons, that I love this blog community. You just said with such grace and eloquence what I am holding so deeply buried that I can't even begin to put words to. Your saying it makes it easier for me to grasp and deal with. Your words become my words. It is a gift that I am so grateful for.


Have an observation, comment, or advice? Please share, I need all the help I can get.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Total Pageviews