Mothers, the Good, the Bad and the Ones That Would Never Be

The weeks and months bled into one another, as I continued to seek the very things that eluded me, a baby, a full term pregnancy, and motherhood. Everywhere I turned, someone was pregnant, they glowed with the excitement, they radiated in the bask of what was to come. “Wonder how they would feel if they had to feel how I feel each time I get pregnant, I wonder if they would glow then?” It was more than the pain of the losses, although they took the brunt of the blame. I hated the fact that I couldn’t even find joy when I found out I had become pregnant! Stolen was the gift of the glow other mothers had, for they did not share my fate. Envy pierced my eyes as I looked upon their ripening belly, their body preparing to give them the miracle of life; while my body was soiling the life that formed in my womb and then doing the unthinkable….it was expelling it. If I could have killed out my body, and lived to replace it with one that wasn’t broken, I would have. Even the sight of my flat stomach sickened me, for I knew there should be a blossoming bump, to represent a fluttering of life it held there…..instead it lay there empty. The dates of each due date approached and passed, leaving behind a birthday that I would never celebrate, a gift I would never give to a face I would never see. I lost three more pregnancies during this time, within a year……and my body’s lack of completing the task I had sat out to accomplish filtered into every aspect of my life!

I was repulsed at my reactions to the things that once brought me such joy. The me, the one who had no idea that motherhood may never be her’s, the one who had been naive enough to assume that pregnancy and birth would come so easily, she had dissolved, leaving behind the childless UnMother. I remember the enchantment when I would witness a tummy heavy with life, as a woman would pass me by. Back when magic still existed I would find my way to her, sharing her excitement, asking questions about the gender, her due date, and name choices. Imagining the day when I would share in her destiny. The wonderment of creating a life was something so magical…..but I wouldn’t be granted that joy. Instead I would fall pregnant, dream of the day I would bring forth life, but even that dream was stolen from me. I found with each pregnancy, I became more skeptical, unable to even allow myself to hope. I had no room for hope, because if I did the disappointment that would soon follow, would rip me from the tiny bit of sanity that I had left. And so, the UnMother, she avoided baby aisles at all costs, she scampered away from anyone visibly pregnant…..because each reminder brought with it a deep rooted sadness.

Babies, toddlers, children, had always drawn me in. I loved to look upon the face of a newborn baby, so innocent, so pure, and so perfectly miraculous. I relished in the way toddlers were seeking out to discover the boundaries of their worlds, the sweet way they toddled as they learned to use their legs, and their angelic faces. Children with their silly antics, their new found independence, and their developing personalities. I was mystified by them….until the losses, also took that with it. I would watch as new moms cooed at their infants….but the thing is the way their baby looked back at her, is what hurt me the most. Would I ever see that look? Would I ever see my baby stare at me that way? The exhausted mom at the grocery chasing after her toddler brought on a new form of pain. Who could envy that lady? You know the one with this tiny person who was so unpredictable, so energetic, and prone to throw a tantrum over a piece of candy at the drop of a hat? Those moms, looked utterly deflated, as if the tiny vacuum of the human they had created, had sucked all the life force out of her.  The tiny tornado left in it’s wake a woman dressed in yoga pants, a shirt soiled by some sticky residue, a makeupless face, bags of sleepless nights, hair disheveled and thrown into a sloppy pony tail. She looked tattered, worn out, barely holding it together, but yet I envied her. Her job was important, balancing her little one’s safety and also allowing her child to explore. Spending her nights bribing her energetic toddler to go to sleep so she could as well. She had the job that I wanted, and even in the moments that  tiny people fell into the floor of grocery store, I didn’t pity her……I was jealous. Because even then the love between them was apparent, and that was something I had no knowledge of. So, I avoided situations where I would be forced to acknowledge them, instead choosing a different aisle to venture down, as my heart tried to steady itself and finish the grocery shopping.

Social media was a constant reminder. The children, the ones starting school, they were reminders of my first loss. Posts on facebook of “first days of school” were quickly scrolled by, or “_____ said the cutest thing today….” I didn’t want to hear about it, didn’t want to see their children in their frilly and fancy clothes, because my angels would never see their first day, and I would never be able to share pictures of them as I meticulously dressed them.

But the very worst, was those moms, who had this amazing gift, and discarded it like it was nothing. I would see her screaming at her toddler in the store, see the defeated look upon her child’s face as she dismissed them. This mother was the worst of all. Her children were a burden to her……a burden I wanted more than anything else. She pawned them off on whoever would take them, and make comments like, “I don’t know why I had children!” I remember one instance when I overheard a woman discussing how “inconvenient children were, and how much easier it was before them,”  all the while berating her son who couldn’t have been more than three. Telling him how he was such a brat, and he never listened, amongst other things I cannot bring myself to type. She was sick of him she had said……and then i saw that little boy’s eyes, pooled with tears, and she was breaking his spirit, making him feeI unloved. I was sickened by the sight, so I spun around at the pharmacy, where I was picking up more infertility medications, and I challenged her…..”Well, maybe you should not have had them? I mean there are people, people like me who would give anything for the minor “inconveniences” your child brings. Do you know what I would do to have a child? One just like this perfect little boy by your side who you are insulting in the middle of this line? Your son who as far as I can see, is healthy, beautiful, and has done nothing deserving of your harsh words. If you don’t want him, I would have gladly taken him. I have been through things no one should to be given the right to be a mother……a job you are clearly unworthy of. YOU are sick of him?????? Well, I am sick of parents like you who get this beautiful gift and are so unworthy.” People were staring, but I didn’t care! I knelt down to the little boy who’s brown eyes were searching mine, “You are a good boy, and don’t you ever forget that.” The mother’s face was red from embarrassment, she yanked her child’s arm and whisked him to another check out.

I know I sounded like a crazy woman…..after all it was no business of mine, right? WRONG! I didn’t care if others thought, save only one…..that tiny broken boy that she didn’t deserve. Amazingly, the other people in the aisle did something amazing……they applauded me, told me that I had said all they wanted to say, but my only hope is that she took some piece of that vulnerable part of my hurt and found a way to love that little boy the way he deserved. His eyes, they still haunt me.

I became consumed with the undeserving mothers……they were every where that I looked. They got the gift that I desired and yet they discarded them, for men, drugs, and freedom. To them their child was a burden, and that broke me in a whole new way. All around me there was this woman who “accidentally” fell pregnant only to abort their child, because they didn’t want the responsibility…….why????? I would have loved that child, I would have taken that child, and so many others would love nothing more than to be that child’s parent. Then their were the moms so addicted to drugs and men that their child was left to his/her own devices. Those were the saddest, they were often filthy, unkempt, and their eyes were so lonely. I wanted to save them all. How cruel was this world that these children desperately needed a mother, and I needed a child and yet, they had been gifted to someone unworthy?

I craved the child they despised, and in return I resented them……so deep that resentment ran that it bordered on hate. I still wish I could save them all, but at the time, I couldn’t even save myself. I think of them often, those unwanted babies, the unworthy mother, and me…….the mother that would never be able to be one……

The Creation of the UnHusband

I find myself wrapped in thoughts tonight. Outside my window, the snow is falling, snowflakes cascading down from the heavens. The yard is blanketed in a pillowy white covering…..a welcome sight compared to the mud that it replaced from a dreadful downpour of rain this morning. The vision is a sight to behold, erasing all the muck and mire that is burrowed just beneath it’s surface. Forgotten is the sloppy, muddy dishevel that my driveway was not long ago; it’s buried. I tell you all of this because this is symbolic. Today, I stand before you a snowflake, freed from the heavens, but just a few years ago, I was the aftermath of a rain shower. I was stained, I still am, but today it just isn’t as apparent. If you were to dig your hands into my snow blanketed soul, you would lift them with soiled gloves. In order to grow, to transform, I must always remember where I came from.

If you peek out the glass window panes, if you squint through the blizzard, you will see, a man. Scotty, after a long day of working in the cold, wet snow, there he stands in the ditch, he is helping a family that has slid off the road. I am thankful that this family wound up in this yard, at this particular time, otherwise the woman and her kids probably would’ve spent hours awaiting rescue. Ever the rescuer, there he is, still dressed in his saturated work hoodie and his now soggy boots, billows of cold air coming in puffs from his lips. I know he is cold, I know he is tired, but he carries on. Doing what it takes to see that these strangers find their way home, safe and sound, so typical Scotty. I can’t help but smile to myself, at his compassion, he hides his heart well, but it is times like these, I am so proud he is the father of my children. He is a man of few words, his smile is not one you find often upon his lips, but if you take a moment, if you search a bit harder, under the harshness he exudes; you will find a softness unsurpassed by none. He does everything hard, he loves hard, he fights hard, and even in his most desperate hours, he never lets it show. He is the epitome of strength, perseverance, and a true man’s man.

I watch admirably at his endurance. He patiently shovels piles of snow from the road. Then when his attempts are unsuccessful he scrapes the ice from the four wheel drive and returns to pull them out. The metaphor is not lost on me this night, no, too easily I transcend back in time. You see, I was that car. Out in the storms of life, sliding out of control to land in a ditch. Most would have cut their journey short, or chosen a less treacherous path. Not me, I continued on that slippery slope, finding myself in a ditch, or rut, more times than I can count. I cannot remember the number of times that he pulled me from my wreckage. Every time he pulled me back onto my track, I managed to end up back where I started, and eventually, I quit accepting his help. His damsel in distress refused to allow herself to be saved.

I think back to all the times I shoved him away. I had nothing left to offer, nothing left to give. I often wonder how it must have felt to be married to the UnMother. The woman so alone in her grief that she couldn’t see past it, she couldn’t breathe, and she was incapable of emotion. She was just a suit of armor I was forced to wear, this doppleganger version of myself. She was a farce, a much needed escape, but she was robotic in her expression. Then, I am reminded of how tough that must have been to witness my transition.

Scotty had married a completely different woman……actually still a young lady. I was full of life, laughter, and love as boundless as the oceans. I was enchanted with everything about this man I loved so dearly. I always laid his clothes out for work, I made his plate for supper, and I relished in spending my time in his presence. If you saw that young version of me, you would have loved her. She was so easy going, so full of life and wonder, so eager to love, and most importantly, so very happy! Her face lit up when he came into a room. Like a moth to fire she was drawn to him. She valued his opinion above all others, and they spent nights lying awake just talking about everything under the sun. She would listen as his voice spoke to her. Sometimes she would forget to hear what he was saying, instead allowing herself to enjoy the way her name sounded upon his lips. His touch was something that she hungered for, the feel of his hand upon her’s, the way he caressed her face when she was resting her head on his shoulder, and the way he wrapped her up in his beautiful, strong arms, that was the thing that kept her world on it’s axis. She was smitten with this man who had swept her off her feet.

The day I walked down the aisle, I had one soul purpose; to love this man more than anyone in the world. I didn’t realize that I would soon grow to love someone that didn’t exist. Or how I would yearn for the presence of another, more than I ached to be held in his arms. My wedding dress was beautiful, flowy, romantic and elegant. I chose it with great care, to represent all that I hoped our marriage would be. I knew him better than he knew himself. He was drawn to me because I was what he needed, softness to smooth out his rough edges, a constant smile for the days he couldn’t find one, and light in a world that was once dark. I vowed that day to be all of those things, because I needed him just as much. I needed his strength when I was vulnerable, his wisdom when I was careless, and his guidance when I so often lost my way. We were a team……until the miscarriages.

I no longer craved his touch, or his hug; my body was too accustomed to needles and tortuous testing; one more touch would send me spiraling. I didn’t wait by the door for him to come home; I was too often at another failed doctor’s appointment. The once talkative me, now fell silent. Her voice seemingly lost forever. Conversations that lasted long into the night were replaced with short responses to only necessary questions. We spoke of nothing of importance. We had become “that” couple: the couple who merely lived together but no longer knew each other. I was no longer the girl with an easy smile; my face was one of stoic determination.

I reluctantly allow myself to look back upon that time, and conjure up the effect that my isolation caused him. Without my softness, he became harsh, closed off, and withdrawn. He too, had gone into his secret holding cell, a place void of emotions. Without my sense of humor to brighten his somber moods, his smile faded….the smile that I once sought above all things. The tiny gift of that grin could set all things right in the world, but I no longer sought it. How could I summons a smile to his face when I had lost my own? Without the light that I used to access his heart, darkness enveloped him. I wonder how he felt? I have never asked him. I am sure he felt deserted, abandoned, neglected, and lost, just like I did. If we had only leaned on each other instead of hiding in our fortresses of steel, perhaps we could have shared our pain and found our way….but the person I was during my despair was not the one locked away inside her own prison.

I can see him, the UnHusband. That is what he had become. His purpose had always been to love me, to receive my love, to embrace my weaknesses, to fix me when I was broken…..but I was unfixable, incapable of allowing love in, and too consumed with all my weaknesses to be embraced. Just as his purpose had always been to be my husband, my purpose had shifted to being a mother. He wasn’t as driven as I was for the need for a child; he wanted his wife back, and his wife wanted a baby. For the first time in our relationship, we found ourselves on opposing teams, fighting two different battles; his to save me, and mine to save my unborn children….which in the end rendered me beyond saving.

In hind sight, I see the two miserable people we had become. Our mourning, and pain were for different reasons. I lost my babies, and my identity, but in return he lost his wife. His countenance changed, he no longer attempted to hug me after a long day at work, (I had shunned his embrace too often), so he lost himself in a project in the garage. Our conversations, once light hearted, tender, and full of fun banter, now was non-existent. The only words we spoke were out of necessity, and laughter had dissipated our once happy home. I knew, even then, I should stop this madness, reach for him, kiss his lips, speak the words that he needed to hear, and close the distance that separated us by continents. But, in order for the UnMother to guard me from the pain, she had to shield me from all emotions…..even love. I could not speak the words he longed for, I could not tell him that I was okay to simply be his wife, and abandon my dream of being a mom.

So, they lived together, in the depths of their own Hells, the wounded UnHusband and the broken UnMother. Their escape was futile as each of them were driven by different desires. I remember hating him for not being a part of my need. I am sure he hated that I had morphed into this unrecognizable version of the woman he loved. Two Hells, two hearts broken, and we stood divided as our world crumbled. He found comfort in drinking and endless nights spent with his friends. I found no comfort, only one thing could set my world right….a baby. My anger was only fueled by his absence, and I lashed out at him, and he in return drifted further away. An endless cycle, a battle that could not be won, and two people who once loved each other beyond measure, became enemies. We were strangers. Forgotten were the loving words, the beauty of the sound of one another’s laughter, and when we were once each other’s world……now we were worlds apart. How our love story had become.

The UnHusband, he looked so shattered. His once dominate stature, now was one of defeat and his shoulders slumped against the weight of the burden he carried. The beautiful, rare smile, was replaced with a grimace, a scowl, a hardness from the loneliness he felt. His hazel eyes that used to light up had fallen dull, the golden flecks that used to ignite when I walked in the room had fled into the darkness that lurked behind them. His eyes were haunting, reflections of his darkened soul. As I swam out to an ocean without a shore in sight, my husband had swam out to rescue me……and I had drowned the man I loved. When we emerged on the shores, we were different people. Our old selves died in that ocean, and on the sands of a shaky seaside two new entities were born: the UnHusband and the UnMother. Only time would tell  if we could find our way back to our former selves.

I will say that the journey would be long and treacherous, and some things would forever change them. This isn’t the story of a flawless love, it is indeed that is flawed beyond measure. That part of our lives, was one that would force us to evolve or to cut our losses. I will soon share more of our love story, as tragic as it is, but right now my heart cannot allow anymore emotion in. To be continued…..