Little did my husband and I know that a mere four years after reciting our vows, we would be asked to live up to them. That was when we discovered that Alex had advanced testicular cancer, and his surgery and chemotherapy treatment would begin right away.
Please, please, on this very special day think before you speak. Not being a mom, not having a mom can evoke a profound sense of sadness on Mother's Day for those of us who have lost, have never had, or are struggling to be a mom.
We remember the women with many children, young children, a child who has recently died, those who have experienced miscarriage, infertility or painful births, those who have broken relationships with children and women who have not experienced motherhood at all.
I know what some of you may say: Have a baby on your own; adopt; foster. And a few of you may say: Sorry, lady, you should have thought of that earlier. You're just too old. But I want to be a mother.
Right now, you're worried about you. It's not about you, it hasn't been since your first kid was born. Stop thinking about how raising twins will suck and start thinking about which superhero you want to be when the three of you storm Lex Luthor's fortress in the backyard.
In celebration of National Infertility Awareness Week, here's a list of what not to say to someone going through fertility treatments.
There is a little-told secret among those of us who adopt or have trouble building a family -- we feel as if we should be grateful for every minute every second of every hour for our children, as if we never have the right to feel overwhelmed by the tasks of parenting.
Just as with any other grieving process, like the five stages identified by Kubler-Ross, the progression of infertility emotions has stages as well.
Here's what I'm working on: making the "new normal" of life beyond cancer just plain normal. Whatever your struggle, I know it's possible to move beyond constant comparisons between what was and what now is with the right tools. Here's what it's going to take.
Adoption is a lot of things. It is a prism. It is an hourglass. It is dark cave. It is a light at the end of a terrifying tunnel. It is a beginning.
How do you say goodbye to someone with whom you shared not a past full of memories, but a future made of fantasies? How do you make space for sadness when you're surrounded by messages, both internal and external, telling you to buck up and move on?
We are enough. Some days we are more than enough. I can't imagine starting the clock again. And yet, seeing a woman with a baby in a Bjorn or with a basketball belly can gut me. She's in the midst of a miracle. That will never be me again.
In the moments of their adoption -- like the moment of Jenna's baby's conception -- a split was created in our children between their biology and their biography. Being open about our children's origins is an effective way to heal this split and help them integrate their identities.
Charles Cooper, the lawyer defending Prop 8 in the Supreme Court, insisted that the ability to create children made heterosexual marriage legitimate and homosexual marriage downright wrong. For me this is personal, because it calls my own (heterosexual) marriage into question.
Aside from essentially mourning a death or two each year, coping with infertility was -- and is -- a lonely, lonely place.
On my younger kids' birthdays, my husband asks me in passing, "What time were they born?" before catching himself foolishly. They've started turning away when they hear this, cognizant of the fact that none of us know. But, here's the truth: They are mine, and they aren't.