It seems almost like a cruel joke, to get my period so soon after Mother’s Day. Every month I try to be strong, and it feels like every month it gets harder. I’m not destroyed. I’m not falling on the ground sobbing. I think the reality of doing this for so many months has made me a little numb and cynical in a way that has steeled me against devastation. But the disappointment is still deep and incredibly, intensely sad. In a way, I guess there’s a kind of grieving process that happens for me. There’s definitely some initial denial. That little bit of blood is just implantation bleeding. It’ll slow and go away. Then the truth sets in. As hard as I try, I just can’t fight the tears. (I’m a cryer. I’ve been one all my life.) Then I get angry. What did I expect? It’s been this way every month. It’s my own fault for letting the hope and excitement sneak its way in. Eventually I’m okay, and the whole cycle starts again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
What I can’t quite figure out is whether or not all of this is a good thing. There is something very life-giving about hope and sharing this experience with someone who loves and supports me (Chris just sat with me tonight and held my hand while I allowed myself to break down). And it is cathartic to feel and cry and relieve some of the stress and tension that has built up in all of the waiting each month. The darkness underneath it all scares me a little bit though. I’ve caught myself thinking bad thoughts. Something must be wrong with me. This just isn’t going to happen. Maybe God is trying to tell me something. Maybe I won’t be a good mother. Maybe I won’t love my kids enough. Maybe Chris and I aren’t meant to be together. I’m alone. These are all lies, but sometimes it’s enough to break my heart a little.
I guess when you get right down to it, there is always strength and growth of character that comes with heartbreak. I know I heard that more than once growing up when some silly boy or another made me feel like my life was over, and then I realized the truth in it when I did, in fact, keep on living. And I’ve experienced it in my adult life when I’ve made very bad life choices, had challenges at work, arguments with my family, lost my darling grandmother. I’m a better, more grounded and appreciative person than I was before. As much pain and suffering as has come with the difficulties in my life, I wouldn’t have had anything play out differently. I can only hope it is the same with this. That Chris and I become the best, most loving parents possible because we struggled for it.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson penned one of the most famous quotes of all time in his poem In Memoriam:
“Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.”
I’m not sure exactly how that applies to anything I’ve just said, other than it simply resonates so true to me. I’ve loved and lost, and the love is greater. It’s a strange thing to say, but I love the potential each month brings in that would-be tiny possibility of a baby. (I’m not gonna lie, I’ve touched my empty abdomen tenderly at times.) And I’ve lost as the hope of becoming a mother very literally gets washed away. Though I have experienced loss in the process of each monthly cycle, I don’t really know that I’d want any of it to have happened differently. Because one day the love will just keep on going, and it could be the greatest love of my life.