Four days in and I am beginning to wonder at the sanity in undertaking this challenge. If I thought yesterday’s post was a hard one, that was only because I had no idea where today’s was going to lead me. The following story says much about the length of time I have actually been battling infertility. Normally I would say I am really not at all the type to carry a grudge, but about ten years ago something happened that I have carried all this time and never forgiven the person for. It relates to a secret I have been carrying for all these years and so please forgive me if I am very vague about the details.
Around ten years ago a friend told me that they were pregnant and were going to abort the baby. Bear in mind at this stage Chris and I had already been married a couple of years and I guess while we weren’t yet ready to have kids, for me the question was already there in the back of my mind. I ‘knew’ we couldn’t have kids. I knew what I had signed up for. But that didn’t mean that I had accepted it, made peace with it or even began to realise what that meant.
I won’t go into the details except to say that I was devastated, disappointed in my friend and so hurt. I do know how crazy this sounds. Why should I have been hurt, they didn’t do it to me? Why should I be devastated, it wasn’t my baby that was never going to get to take a breath? Why so disappointed?
I think in my mind I wanted them to have the baby and give it to us. I wanted that baby to be mine. I would have given anything to take that baby away from the undeserving friend. I could never even admit to Chris how much I wanted that baby, I could never open my mouth to say the words “just give it to me, I will love it, I will nurture it, I will give it life.” How can you kill a child? A child you created, a child which is part you, a child which cannot survive without you, is so defenceless. They told me that they would have wanted Chris and I to be its god-parents and that felt like a slap in the face. How can you care enough about someone to want them to have god-parents and then kill it? I can’t explain how guilty I have felt over the death of that child, that I didn’t do more to save it. That I didn’t persuade them to a different course. I was so careful to try to be supportive and not force my own beliefs on them, not that I didn’t say anything about making a different choice… But I couldn’t be responsible for their decision. And for years how I wish I had opened my mouth and just asked for that child.
I felt the death of that baby in a way maybe I had never felt the death of anything. I cried endless, hot, sad and angry tears! In fact I remember a day, taking a walk in the rain and literally howling out loud at the anguish I felt about what my friend was going to do to that baby. It felt as though they were sticking a knife in my heart. I felt a physical ache in my womb for months afterwards. The ache of emptiness as though it were my body that baby was wrenched out of.
After the abortion I have never looked at my friend in the same way. I have never forgiven them for what they did to that baby. And that pain and guilt that I was carrying for the death of the baby, I couldn’t forgive them for that either, and what I felt like they had done to me. I think of that baby often, very often. I have mourned it repeatedly over the years. I have cried so many tears for the life that never was. Whenever I think of it I get furious and so sad again. I have never forgotten and never forgiven. I wanted them to mourn it too. I wanted them to feel the loss of the child that never was and knowing that they didn’t seem to feel that way, made me even more angry and hurt and determined to keep the memory of that child alive. It’s a grudge made all the heavier by never talking of it.
Over the last two years of our struggle to overcome infertility this grudge and pain and hurt has gotten heavier. I have thought of that child even more. And yearned to go back and just speak out.
But you know what, it isn’t my place to call them ‘guilty’. This is not my grudge to bare. This was not my ‘cross’ to carry. This is their Scarlet Letter ‘A’ to wear. And it is time for me to walk away. I need to let go of that baby and forgive my friend in my heart. It wasn’t my baby and it wasn’t me they did this to.