Sunday, April 7, 2013

new season

Babies are born everyday. This fact is so painfully salient to us when none of those babies born on all of those days are ours. We see it on facebook, we get birth announcements by email or snail mail, we bump into a neighbor who lets us know the young woman in the third house from ours just had her baby. It all feels like a gong show, doesn't it. I experienced it like a wave of saltwater constantly pouring over my head, never letting me catch my breath. Like an assault. It left me feeling so completely powerless and dejected. Everyone has babies. I can't have a baby.

And what of those babies?

And what of those lovely couples having the babies that I just couldn't bring myself to hate, even though they were embodying everything that brought me pain?

I felt so torn about those babies, about those couples. Some couples were easy to dismiss using a mental short cut that allowed me to reduce their existence to "fertiles" instead of "people". I could do that with people I didn't know well, and it helped me be such a crass reductionist. I didn't have the energy to see them as people. I know I am capable of more, but I also know I was hurting. And then there were couples or women with whom I was close, and in that lied the true learning for me. I couldn't dismiss them: they were dear to me and in order to continue those friendships, I had to dig a little deeper. I couldn't always do that, but I am glad I made the decision to try.

But the babies, even though I ignored a lot of them, the babies got to me. What had they done? They didn't ask to be born. But here they were, and they deserved and were celebrated by everyone. And it killed me a little to not be able to fully celebrate their births. I understood why and I cut myself some slack about it (since, you know, the newborns wouldn't be aware of my less-than-whole excitement about their births). But it still killed me a little inside.

I didn't know if having a baby would change that for me. I hoped it would, but I wasn't counting on it. But oh my, it DID change in such a big way.

There were a few babies born around the time of gummy's birth or shortly thereafter. I noticed the contrast right away. It thrilled me to receive the birth announcements. THRILLED ME. I am so surprised by it and so incredibly delighted. It's like trying out a new food you're sure you will hate, and you taste it and it's the most delicious thing you've had. ever.

It hit me last week, when I went for a walk with another Augusta. She and I know each other through Mr. A, but not very well at all. We were in the same prenatal yoga class in the fall, and were always friendly towards each other. On one of the many monitoring visits to the hospitals in the 2 weeks before gummy's birth, we met her and her husband in triage. She was coming in to be induced. We were being sent home to wait a little longer for our induction. I couldn't stop thinking of her for those days after we saw them.

Augusta and I (she goes by Augie and I go by 'Gusta) connected over email and went for a walk together last week. It was a glorious spring day, and it was a wonderful walk. I enjoyed her company so very much. The line between fertile and infertile didn't matter as much. We were both new mothers, walking our darling girls in their strollers on a spring day. Her sweet girl is so beautiful (and in an uncanny way, she and gummy look like twins). As we walked, we saw a patch of snow drops with some purple crocuses amidst them. We stopped to admire the flowers and let their beauty, and that of the day and our new motherhood fill our hearts.

Then, the other Augusta said: "It's like the flowers are celebrating our babies' birth."

And I couldn't agree more.*

borrowed from

*And I am so relieved that my heart is showing signs of not being completely embittered by the experience of infertility.


  1. My experience is different than yours, but my reaction is so similar. I was not planning to have a child, so I was very indifferent to the point of rolling my eyes at birth announcements. After having Mr. P, I find myself caring so much more about each mother's experience, wanting to reach out to each one. I once hugged a mother (a complete stranger)at the mall because I could see her daughter was going to drive her to drink *very* soon. (And probably drive her to other things, too!) I am now willing to hold other people's babies, take them into my (mostly metaphorical) nest as needed.
    Blessings to the family, Momo

    1. your deep generosity always amazes me, not because it's surprising, but because it is so boundless. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with me. And thank you for your loving support of me in my process. sending love.

  2. Oh, I love this. I find myself not so much jealous as wistful when I see visibly pregnant women and new babies, knowing it won't happen again for me. Glad you're finding something resembling peace, too.

    And send me that muffin recipe :)

  3. Thinking of you and glad you're finding a way back to peace.

  4. Your heart is so big. I am not at all surprised that you are finding room in it for all these babies! And what a lovely story about the other Augusta.

  5. Sigh! What a wonderful post. Like G&L, I am not at all surprised that your enormous heart is able to expand again, minus the some kind of tortured metaphor about restrictions. I am mainly super duper envious of Augusta, who gets to stroll joyously hither and thither with you, all admiring of your beautiful babies. I want to admire your beautiful baby!

  6. What a lovely post. Brought tears to my eyes. You so deserve his time, and these feelings. And how very specialist for you and gummy to have found such dear friends x

  7. Becoming a mom is such a glorious feeling-- I am so happy you are experiencing it. The feelings I had in those first months came rushing back as I imagined you in this new role experiencing them after waiting so very long and so very patiently. Drink deeply in the joy of motherhood my dear friend.

  8. For me, there was something so incredible about finally feeling like I was a part of the 'club'. I had a really hard time connecting with my babe and instead held so tightly to my new role - the meeting other new moms, the walks, the baby classes, and so on. Its been a more subtle change for me, and I notice more and more how I feel like I am no longer on the outside looking in at something that I so desperately want, I am now on the inside. Receiving Christmas cards this year was really awesome too - and seeing pictures of families no longer leaves me in tears :)

    I am so happy to read your baby posts Augusta. I love that the flowers are blooming for your little girl, finally. They are also blooming for you. :)

  9. What a wonderful story :)
    It's the pregnancy announcements I find the hardest. Once I'm over that, birth announcements are ok, because really, every other outcome would be awful. I'm so glad to hear that you are happy for your fellow mothers now. Infertility can take away so much, and I do worry how much bitterness it leaves me with. And about the effect it has on my friendships with the parents of these babies. It's good to hear your experience from the other side.