I did everything in my power:
I went to acupuncturists three times a week.
We remodeled our chi thanks to Feng Shui and Chi Gong.
I sought out astrologers for the most auspicious dates for our IVF procedures and consulted assorted healers.
I prayed even though I am agnostic.
I trusted my fate to Maori healers who charged $350 in cash for a 50-minute consultation.
I ate my weight in yams and sweet potatoes (supposedly the nutritional super-food that can promise a pregnancy even when the top doctors in reproductive medicine can't deliver).
I endured countless artificial reproductive technology procedures ($100,000.00 worth).
And now I feel nothing but grateful that I am not a mother, and that is a miracle even greater than me somehow managing to get pregnant.
It continues to surprise me how grateful I am in retrospect not to have achieved my long cherished dream of being a mother. For nearly the past three months I have been with a very wonderful man and I am crazy about him, and I feel sure that he would tell you that he is crazy about me. This lovely man has two nearly-adult-children and he is a wonderful father, and I love that about him. The super-duper-crazy thing is that as I watch him father his children that there is no envy in me, rather there is relief. Being in the relationship with him hasn't filled me with longing to parent a child with him (a biological impossibility, by the way) or regret that I can't (I imagined that falling in love might create some familiar stirring to be a mother).
Instead I feel so extraordinarily grateful. I feel crazy grateful for how everything worked out so very perfectly. And I think about how if I had gotten what I hoped and prayed and paid Reproductive Endocrinologists for that I would now be a very unhappy gal who likely would not have had the courage to do what I did in March( (leave my husband) and how I certainly would not be in this new relationship with this wonderful man who makes me ridiculously happy. I feel blessed. (I know that word has slightly religious tones to it, but I almost feel that there was a divine hand in all of this unfolding as it has -- emphasis on the word "almost.")
In the last ten months I have thought of the following quote more times than I ate sweet potatoes (and I ate so many that I was in danger of turning orange) or charted my temperature back in the height of the IUI days:
"More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones."
That is a line from Truman Capote's novel, "Answered Prayers." Each time I think of the quote or say it, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude that I didn't get what I wanted. Not getting what I wanted may prove that grace exists (by the way, Grace was the name I wanted to name the daughter that I thought I wanted to have).
Sure, there are days that I am punched in the ovaries by the unchangeable fact that I will never be anyone's mother. I will never know what it is like to have someone call me "mommy." I won't ever have a little baby hand hold onto the back of my neck (for some reason, this is an image that has dogged me since I began trying to become pregnant). But I also won't have all the headache, hell, heartache, expense and frown lines that come with mothering. Now I am free. I am free to do what I want and to spend my time and money the way I want. Now I get to spend my life doing what I want to do. I know that sounds selfish, and I suppose it is. But as I am not a mother, my selfishness isn't hurting anyone else.
And, yeah, I am still really and truly happy. I am house shopping. Me and the adorable boyfriend are looking for a house, and I am not freaking out in the least. Okay, not true, I am actually freaking out in the good way. I am actually happy to be looking for a permanent residence. I am proof that miracles happen. I prove that not getting what you want can make you extraordinarily happy, in the long run, that is.
So how has not getting what you want made you happy? Please share!
This post originally appeared on La Belette Rouge.
Follow Tracey Cleantis on Twitter: www.twitter.com/traceycleantis