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I don’t even remember if we did anything to try for a baby in 2013. I think I gave up for a while.
I know 2013 was incredibly busy. Oneal and I went to Singapore and Malaysia. I was traveling so much for work that year: Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam. too. Because my travel was work-related, I was busy and stressed.
Stress is never helpful when you’re trying to get pregnant.
To be honest, we were getting disheartened.
Every time I saw that a friend was pregnant, I got depressed. I saw pregnancy tests and ultrasounds posted on Facebook, and bemoaned our inability to post similar news. I got angry every time yet another relative or well-meaning friend asked, “No kids yet?” I got even angrier when complete strangers asked the same thing. I began cursing our society’s culture of inquisitiveness, this ubiquitous penchant for completely disrespecting privacy. I got annoyed with all the people who offered unsolicited advice. Worse, I felt a mild resentment towards friends who’d told me, years before, that they didn’t want kids, that they didn’t think they had it in them to be parents, and yet ended up pregnant.
Why them, and not me? They didn’t even want a child in the first place, and yet they were given this gift. I had wanted it for so long, and I was denied.
It was so bad that I couldn’t bear to see friends who were pregnant, or had just given birth. I was happy for them, yes, but I knew that I would have difficulty sharing in their joy because I was trying so hard to hide my own distress. How could I cheerfully congratulate them, go to the baby showers and baptisms, with this pain and emptiness gnawing at me?
I tried to keep my feelings to myself, but there was no hiding my tears and my midnight depressions from Oneal. It didn’t help that he blamed himself, saying that it was his fault we were still childless, that he was the one with the problem. When I cried, when I was upset, when I was disappointed every month because I got my period, his face fell, and he sat on the bed beside me, dejected, unsure what to say. He would hug me and say sorry. He would wipe away my tears and say that it would happen soon, and that I would be a wonderful mother.
To be honest, I didn’t always have the energy to console him, to tell him it wasn’t his fault, because I was just so overwhelmed by my own distress. I should have hugged him back, told him we would be okay, but I was sinking, flailing, and I could barely help myself, much less Oneal.
Eventually we would recover, telling each other that it would happen soon, fantasizing about the things we would teach our child, imagining how the cats would respond to a baby. Eventually we would reclaim our determination, telling ourselves we would exercise more, go back to the doctor, find out what we could do.