Well, your CD collection looks shiny and costly
How much did you pay for your bad Moto Guzzi?
And how much did you spend on your black leather jacket?
Is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?
~ “Rock N Roll Lifestyle” by Cake
I have no birth children. I have spent a lot of money and a lot of time attempting to remedy the situation. There has been no success. The stress of fertility treatments can destroy a person. It can destroy a marriage without batting an eye. I will categorically say that infertility is a serial killer. It bashes one woman’s hopes, and then laughs as another woman gets ‘accidentally’ pregnant and cries herself to sleep because she knows she’ll never be able to raise the baby alone. For years, I cringed when another friend would announce that she was pregnant. I wanted so desperately to be happy for her (and I was); but at the same time, I was heartbroken that God would give her a baby and not me.
Then one day, a friend shared with me the news that a mutual a co-worker was pregnant. She explained that she wanted to co-host a baby shower for the girl. I had worked with mama-to-be for a while; however, we were not close. Still, I liked her and knew that most of her family lived out-of-town, so she would probably appreciate the sentiment. I had no idea what co-hosting this shower would mean, to me or to her.
I try not to do anything, half-ass, so I jumped headfirst into the planning of a baby shower. I created planning spreadsheets, went shopping all over the city looking for baby shower themed invitations; decorations; games, etc. We did menu planning and pre-addressed ‘thank you’ notes to help the mother-to-be. While I planned, my husband and I were actively undergoing fertility treatments. I was in and out of the fertility clinic at least twice a week. I was taking medication which made me a hormonal crazy person. I would alternate between hot flashes, laughing fits, and unprovoked weeping. As I planned this shower, I fantasized about my own baby shower – and I put as much heart and love into this one as I prayed someone would put into mine when the miracle happened. When the Big Day came, the shower was a success.
The weeks of planning had also given me a chance to get to know the expecting mother. And I suppose, in a way, I was living vicariously through her pregnancy. Every new experience she had, whether it was a baby kick, a sonogram, or even back pains, she shared with me, and I truly felt excited for her. Eventually we became close enough that she shared with me her own private struggle with infertility. I reciprocated. From that day forward, I began to heal. It didn’t mean I didn’t still want a baby with every fibre of my being – because I certainly did. I can only explain it as a transformation of sorts. I no longer cried when I saw pregnant women. I could look at babies again without feeling sick to my stomach. AND I found a new perspective on my own life. I realized that the birth mother of my step-children has actually given me what I had been longing for – motherhood. I had already loved my stepchildren as my own – but it took my new friendship with an expectant mother to realize the selflessness involved in allowing a ‘childless step mom’ be a ‘Mom’.
Months went by, and eventually a beautiful baby girl was born to my friend. I had the honor of giving her the first Mother’s Day card she ever received. I was dubbed as ‘Aunt Jillian’. Every time that little girl did something new, her mom and my good friend, shared it with me. She asked for my advice on child-rearing and offered me her own on living with infertility. She and her husband were my surrogate family as I went through other personal issues, eventually a divorce, and a cross-country move. They had another baby; this time, a boy.
I also grew closer to the birth mother of my step-children. She and her husband are two of my dearest friends. And, luckily for me, she still encourages her kids to be my kids as well. I still long for a baby sometimes . . . but it’s not an emptiness inside me, like it once was. That black hole has been filled with the love of a family I have chosen (and has chosen me).
This was not supposed to be a serious and cathartic blog posting. It was actually inspired by a very amusing comment which stemmed from me being excited that I am to be the benefactor of my “niece’s” first twin bed; one that will make her feel like even more of a princess than she already does. In fact, at the age of 3, she believes that she and her mom are “Top Models”. This was the instant message which sparked it all. . .
yeah, I really should prob watch what I watch and listen to around them now b/c she's just so dang smart and has such a good memory but I love having a little mini- me.
I may not have my own ‘mini-me’; but I have friends who are willing to share theirs.
PERSONAL NOTE: Thank you.
CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Miss you!