Today would have been my due date. October 17th, 2013. I was supposed to be getting ready to give birth to our first child today. Instead, about 7 months ago I had a miscarriage and now I am in the midst of a (hopefully) life-saving cancer treatment. For how long this could save my life, nobody can tell me. I am the epitome of not knowing where life will ever take you.
All I have ever wanted, since I was a little girl, was to be a wife and a mother. As the years blew on and I grew older of course I had other aspirations as well: To go to graduate school and become a social worker, to travel to exotic places, to publish a book (still working on that one), but underneath it all, what I really hoped was to have a family. In this day and age maybe it’s not the politically correct thing to say that more than a career or money or independence or any of those other things, I’d rather be a wife and a mother. But it’s the truth.
I knew this about myself at a very young age, that it would be the most important thing that I would ever do: Take care of and be committed to others. Create and nurture a family. I always felt as though I had a tremendous amount of love to give, and I couldn’t wait to find a partner to give it to, and then have children for us to both give our love to. I didn’t mind thinking that my identity would be wrapped up in anybody else’s; in fact, it appealed to me more than it didn’t. When I was first diagnosed with cancer about 8 years ago, I remember thinking: Will I ever get married? Have kids? Go to Africa? Publish a book? I have done 2 out of those 4 things since then. My husband and I had an amazing time on our safari honeymoon.
The pain that I am now faced with is that I will never get pregnant again. The doctors can’t promise that the liver melanoma wouldn’t spread to the baby. It took us over a year of trying and doing various treatments at a fertility clinic to get pregnant, but I am so glad that I was pregnant once, if only for a few weeks. Too soon to have any symptoms or feel the baby inside of me, of course, but still, it was there.
The truth is, SHL and I don’t know yet if we will ever have a family. Perhaps most think that the question of children would be a no-brainer, that it wouldn’t be in our life plan anymore, but that is for us to decide, and nobody else. A lot of it depends upon how well this treatment works, and what the prognosis looks like for a long life where I can manage this as a chronic disease. But we just don’t know any of that right now, and we won’t know until I finish my treatments, and get scanned. Others move on, get pregnant, raise their families, spend their time complaining about the lack of sleep or money drained, or their kid’s toothaches or botched Halloween costumes, and I long for those complaints. I long to have a “normal” life, with all of the things that I ever dreamed about. Others get to have these things. Why can’t I?
There is no answer, I know that. No booming voice from the sky that will tell me why this has happened, why I must suffer watching others live out their dreams, why I must wait to see if mine will ever be able to move from my heart into the here and now. There are no answers. Only pain. My inner ally is telling me to make peace with the unknown, with having no choice but to live in the present moment. Because with the unknown comes such fear, yes, but also perhaps some wonderful surprises may come from it as well. That is what I am hoping.
Today SHL and I should have begun our family. But he is my family, and no matter what happens, he always will be.