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Heather Travis Headshot

Wishing for You, Wishing for Me

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CHILDLESS WOMAN
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I've dreamed of you my entire life. I wished for you. In fact, every wish I've made for the past seven years has been for you, my child. I wished when the clocks said eleven eleven, when the first star appeared, when an eyelash fell to my face, on birthday candles, shooting stars, wishbones from the turkey, every coin into a fountain and even silent prayer.

I wished to tell my husband, your father, we had created you -- that we had finally done what seems so easy for others. I wished to feel your feet kicking in my belly. I wished to watch my body change, to watch others watch my body change. I wished to tell grandparents you were on your way. I wished to change our office into your nursery. It would have been circus themed.

I wished for spit up and sleepless nights. I wished for the noises you would make in the room next to ours. I wished for first teeth, first words, first steps and the other firsts along the way. I wished to see your father's dimples on your smiling face. I wished to make your meals, to feed your body and your soul. I wished to teach you to cook, to dance and to sing loudly in the car. I wished to read you books, tell you stories and teach you how to draw. I wished to walk you to school, ride bikes together and cry with you when you got your heart broken for the first time. I wished to see my husband become the amazing father I know he would be. I wished to watch him with you, to see him reflected in you. I wished to see you grow, to see you become you. I wished for all the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with becoming a parent. It all would have been worth it, for you.

I need to stop wishing for you though; wishing for you almost broke me. Wishing for you hurts too much. Each wish is silently followed by "why?" Why does my body fail me? Why me? Why us? Wishing for you makes me feel I have failed as a woman, as a partner to my husband and as a daughter.

We tried everything available to help find you. I was uncomfortably poked and prodded. Endless procedures and pills were administered. I documented every day, every change, every opportunity for you to come along. I wonder, was it enough? Am I enough?

I know now, I can no longer wish for you. I need to say goodbye to you, my child. I need to make new wishes.

I wish to have to have more good days than bad. I wish to feel complete as a woman, in body and soul. I wish to reignite friendships and to start new ones. I wish to stop feeling I have failed as a wife, woman and daughter. I wish to stop burdening my husband with my overwhelming sadness over losing you, over and over. I wish to stand on my own two feet again. I wish to buy gifts for the special children who are in our life with only joy rather than guilt and sadness. I wish to attend a baby shower for dear friends and family without spending an hour parked on the side of the road on the way home in tears. I wish to feel less like an outsider with my girlfriends.

I wish for friends and family to see the difference between selfish and self-preservation in my actions.

I wish to live in a world where those without children aren't seen as less than, selfish or odd. I wish people would stop asking, "Do you have kids?" as one of their first questions when meeting. I wish if they did ask this question I would be able to answer it without feeling like I was punched in the heart. I wish marketers would recognize all women and not just moms. I wish to feel complete for simply being me.

I wish to embrace all the possibilities of life without you. I can use your closet for more shoes. I can retire earlier, I can sleep in every weekend and I can have furniture with sharp corners. I can write the books I have always wanted to write. I can support my friends with children in their times of need in ways only a person without the responsibility of their own children can. I can do and be many things without you. I wish I knew this when I wished for you.

I wish for no one to go through what we've gone through. But knowing sadly, they will, I wish them to know the light at the end of the tunnel may not be what you thought it was going to be, but it is a light nonetheless.

Although my wishes are different now, you will always be in my heart. I will see you in my dreams and in the faces of the children around me. You are impossible to forget my child. The wishing and years of searching for you have changed me forever. Your imprint on my life by absence is fundamental, but I must stop wishing for you and begin wishing for myself. Goodbye, my child. I love you.