“When are you having kids?” is the most irritating question people have asked me. The only thing that tops it is, “Why don’t you have kids yet?” I hate it even more if the questions are coming from people who I haven’t had a real connection with for who knows how long.
For a woman who’s had two failed pregnancies, I’d like to give a bunch of answers. Mainly, I’d want to tell them to shut up and keep their condescending thoughts to their insensitive selves. Oftentimes, some would even follow up with “Just pray. Have faith.” I know some of them actually mean well–the others just want to gossip–but it is enough to make me want to punch either them or myself.
Of course, I don’t do that. I simply pause, smile, and say, “Maybe in time.”
I am a mother. I just don’t have my children with me here. I’d like to believe they’re in heaven–because if heaven is what you want it to be, I’d want mine with my unborn children so I could hold them someday.
I’m actually fine with my situation, really. Sure, experiencing two miscarriages in a row is painful and disheartening. But I’ve dealt with those and moved on. Still, there are days when I think about the what-could-have-beens and I can’t help but shed a few tears.
Every Mother’s Day is the worst. I open my phone and I’m flooded with “Happy Mother’s Day” greetings, but they’re not for me. I text my mom and greet her, knowing that no one will do that for me. I see my friends–old classmates and former colleagues–all posting photos of their growing family, and there’s a frightening thought that creeps in: Will I ever have that?
A back-and-forth conversation with myself takes place inside my head:
I may never have that.
Don’t say that. “Just have faith.”
Sometimes, my optimistic side wins the debate. Sometimes, it’s my glass-half-empty self that gets the last say. It doesn’t matter, though. What matters is the now, and my now isn’t exactly what I dreamt it would be.
My first miscarriage was in 2015. I learned I was pregnant on my 5th week, and by the 6th week, I was bleeding profusely. The doctors couldn’t see a yolk sac, and they ruled it as a “chemical pregnancy.” The next year, I was ready to work on getting pregnant. I did all the works–acupuncture, fertility shots, regular ultrasounds to plot my ovulation. After around three months working with my Chinese acupuncturist and one cycle with my fertility specialist, I was ecstatic to find out I was pregnant!
My joy was doubled when we actually saw the tiny bean at six weeks. There was a real baby! Only, I began to bleed again and by the 8th week, the sonologist told us our baby had no heartbeat. I waited for four more weeks to miscarry naturally, but my dead baby wouldn’t want to leave my uterus (he or she would have been a feisty one!). So I had to undergo a really traumatic D&C.
Since then, the thought of celebrating Mother’s Day became even more terrifying. I allowed myself to become angry, sad, and bitter–not in that order, and most days all at the same time.
I may never have that.
But just recently, I realized that there is no sense in being resentful about the occasion. Being so would only discredit the achievements of my amazing mother, who brought me into this world and worked so hard to raise me. And then there are my friends, who deserve to live their best lives and experience the joys of mommyhood.
This day isn’t JUST about me.
Negative thoughts come from two things. One, from self-centeredness. Me, me, me, ME.
The Dalai Lama said that. When I accepted this powerful piece of wisdom, I deliberately chose to let go of my wants, wishes, and what-ifs. It’s only when I did that when my past stopped being a miserable sob story. Truly, living feels lighter when we’re not thinking about our painful experiences or our unfulfilled desires all the time.
Today, I know I will still feel a little lump in my throat when I see my friends celebrating with their kids. But it’s okay. It’s their day! It’s okay that I don’t get flowers and cakes and greetings. I will continue to believe that my kids are in heaven, sending me happy thoughts and celestial hugs. Someday, I will be able to celebrate with them.
If you’re a mom and reading this post, Happy Mother’s Day to you! I truly, sincerely, mean it.
Tomorrow, people may ask me about my plans to have a baby. I know I would still want to smack them in the face, but I won’t. Although, maybe I won’t meekly stop and smile this time. Maybe I’ll tell them about my story, as briefly and nonchalantly as I can. It’s going to make them feel uncomfortable, but perhaps they will finally understand that it’s rude to judge another woman’s fertility, because every womb has a different story.