Agonizing choices

I’m proud of this big belly. It’s like a statement: “See, I can do it, I’m a woman.” But when I’m with a friend of mine who can’t conceive, I’d like to tuck it away somewhere. Her pain, sadness and frustration break my heart.

Louise, Chicoutimi, Québec

* * * * *

How was I to know that, at the last minute, I would change my mind about a tubal ligation, and feel powerless to stop it under the circumstances and in that atmosphere? I felt so pressured; step-by-step I had moved along the pathway of that decision all through the pregnancy. I found out too late that the rule of three C-sections is just a generalization and that my uterus could have sustained a fourth child. Too late, because the ends of my tubes were lopped off and can never be repaired. That’s what I’m dealing with right now, privately, quietly.

I must be crazy, or at least foolish, because I did this to myself by my reluctance to put a stop to it, to speak out, because I thought my uterine goose was cooked anyway. There is no one that I have confided to, except my partner. Women never reveal to each other the pain they feel over the loss of their fertility. Chalk it up with the “I was right back into my old blue jeans when I left the hospital,” myth.

It’s not like I could discuss this with anyone. My friends are past the baby stage, having started much earlier. I tried to draw them out on it, without success. “Don’t get depressed about it,” was the most they could say.

And I don’t want to give my mother something she can throw in my face, some ammunition she can use to get back at this generation, which has so many choices, however agonzing. My mother regretted having children and made us apologetic for our own existence.

Some days I cry endlessly. But there is no point.

Trudy, Darmouth (Nova Scotia)

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