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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Grief and flipping a switch

My kids; Riley is the green one, obviously.
It’s not like I can flip the switch and stop wanting a baby. I thought it could be that easy; just decide to stop. But it hasn’t been like that at all. Sure, I’ve stopped going to doctor appointments that examine my ovaries and the follicles ripening within. There are no more estrogen pills or progesterone suppositories. I don’t take the CoQ-10; I don’t take the Inositol; I don’t take the Omega-3s; I don’t take the prenatal vitamins. I don’t take the others whose names I’ve forgotten. There are no longer three weekly pill organizers on my dresser packed with my morning, afternoon, and evening pills.

I keep thinking, now I can focus on me. Take the pilates class or learn to play piano. Go on some adventure that I wouldn’t be able to do with a protruding pregnant belly or a new baby. Watch me sleep in on Sunday morning--no one kicking my bladder. Watch me have a glass of wine or three--no reason to stay sober. Listen to me crunch on another cookie--it’s not like eliminating sugar helped my uterus hold any babies.

Sure I like fantasizing about exotic travel and wondering what my husband and I will be doing after our youngest goes off to college in seven years. And I like not being bloated and swollen from the hormones. But it’s not that easy to just stop the yearning. It’s been a complicated dance with grief and desire in the wake of my son dying. This dance must have been nature’s way of ensuring that our species continued thousands of years ago, when most babies likely died. This primal urge to procreate in the face of a child’s death.

Didn’t know we’d been trying to have a baby? Don’t feel left out. It was a carefully kept secret because I couldn’t bear the idea of anyone asking me if it was pregnant yet. I broke my silence about it in the latest issue of Six Hens.

There are still sharps containers in my closet, though, packed with used syringes waiting to be dropped off at the local fire station. There are also the unused syringes, the different sized needles for liquids of different viscosities, depending on whether they were meant for the fat in my belly or the muscle in my ass.

Now that we’re done trying, the desire still lingers quietly. But it’s more like a spiderweb on the on the bookshelf rather than a wasp in my nose. None of it really matters because with a baby or without a baby, Riley is still dead. Every so often, I’ll see him out of the corner of my eye. Like last night, when his brother put on my rectangular glasses. There he was for a second in my camera’s viewfinder. Still just out of reach.

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