What makes me Lucky

Oct 29, 2008 at 6:44 PM
I know you have all heard me say a thousand times how lucky I am to have my girls.

But I was once diagnosed with endometriosis and cystic problems, and was told my ovaries were turning. That's a big blow to a girl of 18, almost 19.

It was about 6 months before I got pregnant with my girls, actually. I'd been trying to find the source of soem serious pain. It turned out it ws my ovaries. The doctor told me I was not going to be able to bear children with my ovaries in the shape they were in. He recommended removal. Something about them having turned or started turning. He even made a little flipping motion with his hand, as though flipping over a pancake.

He was very wrong. It turns out it was a false diagnosis. Maybe he mixed up my ultrasound with someone else's. Or maybe there was a miracle. I don't know. I just know it was not the case six months later.

But the point is that for 6 months of my life, prior to my unexpected pregnancy, I thought I couldn't bear children. I grew up loving and wanting children. I promised myself I'd have 6, adn they'd all be raised just so and loved just so and I had half the ground rules for their future laid out already before I was ten. I had wanted four girls and two boys. Maybe three and three.

But then the doctor with the unpronouncable name told the 18 year old me that I'd probably never bear children, while pointing at a picture of my ovaries. I didn't know what I was looking at, just a mishmash of black with white blobs. The doctor said I should learn to adjust to that, and annoyed me. "Adjust", he'd said. This person who knew so little about me that he'd violate the biggest taboo in my religion and tell me to "adjust". That doctor threw out his diagnosis with only a little more compassion that telling me I had the flu or something, but it was as heavy a blow to me as being told I was dying, to hear at exactly the stage in my life where I was creating a future, building up all my postulates for a future husband and my future children.

He handed me a referral and a business card for another specialist. I'd have gone eventually. Once someone else in my life knew. But I never did end up going. And no one ever called to see whether I'd fallen off the face of the earth. Doctors can be so indifferent - I think they have to be or they'd be consumed in their compassion, used up before they could even pay off their school loans.

Anyway, hearing this threw me for a major loop and affected every aspect of my life. I went emotionally blank, and stopped feeling the urge to move forward in life toward my goals. For instance, I broke up with a boy I cared about for no reason.

I sometimes remember this 6 months in grey, because my view of every aspect of my life was so bleak, it washed out all the color in my life. How I felt like the whole universe was shifting away from me and how there didn't seem to be purpose or reason anymore.

I was a preschool teacher at the time, and I remember how I felt stabbed with sorrow any time immediately after I accidentally took joy at the accomplishments of the wondreful children in the class. As though merely loving and laughing with other people's children were not allowed any more.

I also remember how hard it was for me to even tell people. I never even told my sisters or my mother what I'd been told.

Then one day I decided. I decided the doctor was wrong and I was going to "have children". I decided this in the middle of two days straight of rain. I went to the park in the tepid splashing rain, trying to take a walk. And I was sitting on the cracked rubber seat of a swing. Then I was on the ground, and I was holding onto it and I cried and cried, a huge charge of grief came welling out of me. And then after the grief faded, I realized I could change it. I screamed at the sky.

OF course, I didn't specify. I just yelled "I want children. I will have children. I am going to have children. " And every time I yelled it it got stronger, clearer, happier, more certain.

And the cloud in my life lifted. I felt better. I still thought I had a medical problem, but I had decided it was overcomeable. I had decided it was solveable.

A few weeks later, the universe played a big practical joke on me and gave me children -- all my children at once.

And I wonder at this. It was all part of the tapestry of life, the sheer stark contrast between thinking I was barren to finding out I was pregnant with twins. It was why I never even remotely considered an abortion, despite being 19, unwed and unprepared. Why I never really looked into anything but having them and why I wrapped my whole world around my babies. Which is what I did. And still do.

I don't regret it. They've been every single aspect of my life, the center of everything. Those girls are the best thing that ever happened to me. And I tell them so all the time. And it is absolutely true.

But I know, I overdid it. I made a life that has very little in it beside my daughters. It's not good to do that.

I discovered this last year, when I was left alone in the cabin in the woods without them. I learned that my life feels utterly empty when they aren't there. I become an empty vessel and the grey outlook creeps back in.

So it is time. Time to start building a life that includes some of the things I want to do. SOmething I can enjoy and live in without my kids around. Not that I think it's time to become entirely selfish or to drop the girls off with their father and turn away- - nothing like that -- just to build a little bit more of my life into what I want, what I need.

In my religion it's called having "a first dynamic" or a "1D".

So there is the work in progress defined. There is the crux of what I'm trying to do right now. And it's why I'm not at the cabin right now.

Even though I know it's important, and I know I am doing the right thing, it feels a little selfish. I suppose that is part of the steps I will have to make, another foot forward toward being a whole and complete person with all my dynamics complete and livable even without my children in the home with me.

I know I need to build something other than "mom" - because as Shelley keeps pointing out, and as Marie keeps reminding me, I've only got about 6 more years before my girls are grown up all the way. I'd better have a life I like independently of my children, so that I don't fall apart in six years.

Hopefully I can do this without sacrificing any tiny portion of the perfect relationship I have with my girls. I really do have the perfect relationship with my kids. Even when you flip it over and look at the underbelly. It's the Sistine Chapel of my life. The single best product I will have accomplished when someday I have died.

But, hopefully, sometime before then, I will be able to say that I have LIVED my own life, too.


  1. Grahame Says:

    My first wife was told by a doctor that she was infertile so our daughter coming along was a big surprise.

    Maybe your doctor went to the same school as hers?

    On building your life - that's great. Just remember to figure it out in the sequence: "have-do-be".

  2. Kat Says:

    Oh, my Desi. This made me laugh and cry and despair and rejoice. I was just trying to surf while eating lunch, here, sheesh.

    But really, I'm so glad you posted it. This is absolutely glorious.

    BTW, my mom's fallopian tubes were completely blocked by scar tissue from an erupted appendix when she was 19. She could not have children. When she married my dad, she basically did the same thing you describe here - DEMANDED of herself, her body, God, the universe, that she would have a child of her own. That's me.
    And notice, that while she did want "children", all she asked for was "a child." I blame that little oversight for my lack of siblings.

  3. desi Says:

    Yeah, I think a little disagreeing with the universe is a really good thing.