The loss of a pregnancy never had

Ever since Hawk went to daycare I've felt like something was missing.

These days, the strangest things trigger my sense of loss: a trip to my old grocery store, walking by the fish tank in the mall on a late mid-week morning, meeting a friend for a coffee downtown.

I tell myself that all of this would be happening regardless of my marital status, but it just somehow adds insult to injury.

I see mothers with their children cooing at them and carrying on conversations in that lilting singsong that mothers have.  I see them piling into their cars with arms laden with groceries or shopping bags seemingly content with their position in life and I think, "That was me."

What paralyzes me the most, though, are pregnant mothers.  Their bellies swelling with a sibling, their little ones expectant big brothers and sisters, their families growing.

Before Rooster and I admitted that we were falling apart we tried to get pregnant.  For roughly 18 months we tried.  I never said anything on this blog because I didn't want to jinx it. 

The first time we tried to get pregnant it worked in the first week and I naively I figured it'd be just as easy for round two.  After 3 months and no pregnancy, I started charting my ovulation.  After 10 I went to a fertility specialist who wanted to immediately put me on clomid.  I balked since I checked out 100% and didn't want to generate twins just because I was desperate to have a baby.  Instead, Rooster got checked out and we discovered things were a bit amiss.  We tried IUI, but that didn't work, either.

Meanwhile, I was raising Hawk, spending afternoons in the park and planning weekly meals; trying valiantly to deny the state of things between me and my kind, loving partner.

Eventually, Rooster and I had to look at each other and be real.  There were times when I hoped I'd get pregnant just so I could give Hawk a sibling, marriage crumbling be damned, I'd make it work!  It was that important to me. 

I myself am a big sister and Larry (my sister - and no, that's not her real name!) is an inspiration, a support, and a friend I can't imagine my life without.  I used to joke with Rooster that I didn't want Hawk to have to deal with our crazy asses alone for his entire life.  I wasn't really joking.  We're going to be a motherfucking handful.

And now my sister is trying for her second baby.  I have blogging friends who are on their second pregnancies, too, and with each joyful sharing of news I feel punched in the gut.  Chances are extremely slim that I will ever feel a life growing inside of me again, a babe at my breast, Hawk as a big brother.

I don't agree that "It could happen," because I won't let it.  I don't want to argue my rationale, but suffice it to say, I'm 35 years old and I'm trying to reboot my career; I don't want a huge age gap between my children; I don't want two daddies, two schedules, two disjointed lives.

I realized I was holding my breath for months in hopes that no one I knew would get pregnant again just so I wouldn't feel my own loss.  Selfish, I know, and I'm ashamed to admit it, but there it is.

I feel nothing but love and joy for all my pregnant blogging friends (Dionna, Lauren, Allison, and Arwyn), those women whom I know in real life (at least 4 I can think of off the top of my head), and those who are trying, but it also shines a spotlight on my own void -- something I need to just work through, I know, but it's there nonetheless.

For months, before I told anyone about my relationship, I couldn't speak about a second pregnancy without tearing up.  It was the one topic I tried to avoid with all my friends and family as I told them what was happening to me and Rooster.  I can talk about it now without feeling overly emotional about it, but if I think on it long enough, the tears will come - oh, they most definitely will!

I feel like I've let Hawk down.  Robbed him of the bond only a sibling can provide.  I grill any only-child I come across, "Did you wish you had siblings?" "How do you feel about your parents' aging?" "Were you lonely growing up?"  For the most part, you only-children out there are pretty well adjusted folks with an air of sophistication about you I've always admired and coveted.  You're not spoiled, weird, reclusive assholes!! Well done! haha

I know that a sibling doesn't guarantee happiness - lots of siblings are freakin' jackasses - but based on my own experience it's been a breathtaking journey of love and life to have a baby sister.  I feel things for her I don't for anyone else on the planet and I wanted that for Hawk like I want air to breathe.

But it's over. 

That window is closed and I'm walking past it with as sure a stride as I can muster.  I tell myself I'll love my bright, Star-Wars-obsessed little guy all the more for it; try not to think about horrendous what-ifs and I'll not laugh at "The dingo ate my baby!" jokes, because, really, it's not that fucking funny to have a dingo eat your baby.  Come on! 

I've said before that I never thought my life would be linear, so I need to embrace that belief and be happy with what I've been given which is one little boy who is sunshine and rainbows, and a few years spent with his wonderful father.  It's really not all that bad.  Maybe, if I'm lucky, my future holds step-children, or even just another's children, and I can grow my family in a different direction.  I'm down with that.  Definitely.


  1. another only child for your list here. honestly, i had the most lovely childhood. crazy family relationships aside (which you know all about) i have never felt lacking in love or in friendship. still, the heartbreak is certainly real when your family doesn't pan out the way you imagined.

  2. lots to let go of there. i married at 35 (after ruling that out) had z at 37...so i can honestly say that you really never know what will happen, and how life can change overnight. i'm choosing to only have one child. i have a younger sibling too, and have less of a connection with him than i do with acquaintances...so once again, you never know..

  3. I have felt guilt not trying for a third. Like we are letting the kids down somehow by denying them a sibling. But with two hard pregnancies behind me and years of not sleeping, it just isn't going to happen.

    It is so hard sometimes to let go of the picture we had of our life.

    If my kids ask for a baby I am going to tell them to go phne my sister and tell her they want a cousin. :-)

  4. I have 3, and a really effing hard time with them so close together, many days it is bare survival, so we had a vasectomy BUT still I am in deep mourning of not having another... so I get you there... http://dreamingaloudnet.blogspot.com/2011/04/i-cant-be-can-i.html

    I was an only child, and then four much, much younger siblings, I loved being an only child, and feel guilty that my kids won't know the joys of that one-to-one attention, and instead have a grouchy, resentful mama barely trying to keep her head about water.

    I admire your honesty.

  5. I'm another only child who had an amazing childhood full of traveling around the world adventures and experiences that I would not have had if I had siblings.

    Thank you for sharing your honesty. I understand those feelings of loss and mourning. It takes time to grieve over things not becoming what you hoped

  6. I have two kids, and I want a third. It's probably not going to happen.

    This stuff is HARD for me. It's not about being rational. I want a baby like I want a sandwich when I'm hungry. There can be every reason in the world not to have a baby. It may even be physically impossible to have a baby. But I want it. And not having it hurts.

    Being unable to look at pregnant women without feeling jealous is a feeling I know well. I don't know if or when it will pass, but I sort of hope it does, because it sucks to feel this way.

  7. I completely understand your feelings of loss - and the strange thing is, now that I'm pregnant, I'm actually feeling this enormous sense of loss that Kieran *won't* be an only child. Every day this clanging feeling of "what in the F were you THINKING?!" reverberates in my head, and I sit here staring blankly at the house wondering what I'm going to do with two. I'm also currently writing a very tough post where I admit that I almost resent this (much-tried-for) pregnancy. I can't even bond with the little life inside of me. (sigh)

    At any rate, I'm sorry you're grieving, and I have every hope in the world that your future will be the perfect one for you and Hawk. Much love.

  8. just found your blog, and really connected with your writing in this post! i'm never certain whether i want a second, and although i'm not convinced that only kids turn out weird my husband is. i am afraid of everything my babe will lose by being a sibling as opposed to an only child, and although i have good relationships with my siblings that doesn't seem compelling enough an argument to me. it will be good though, either way. you and hawk, together.