It happened to me: the pregnancy news from someone in my life in this new phase, where the sting has been blunted by a room full of nursery furniture and an imminent birth. My best friend missed her period and peed on a stick two days ago. She and her boyfriend of six months are expecting, and she called me to wade through the choice between abortion and motherhood at 37 with two girls in high school. She wanted to know if I think it’s “meant to be.”
I told her that I don’t believe in hoodoo: that she’s pregnant because she played loose and fast with birth control and this is a grown-up decision that needs to be reasoned along the lines of fact and personal ethics; that from the the argument she was making, I did not foresee an abortion in her future; that the circumstances of the present situation don’t at all resemble the dead-beat-dad tumult through which she raised her first two children, and it’s okay to keep the baby.
On the inside, my own emotions were astir, a brief scuffle between the joy and sparkling astonishment that my best friend and I may have babies close in age and a darker, more selfish voice that seemed to cry out, “No, this is MY time!”
After sleeping on it, I find myself holding that the latter reflex up to the light in bemused interest, though who knows how much good all that plumbing and introspection really does a person. I had always heard from my ‘parenting-after’ sisters that you never really receive pregnancy news with the simple glee of normalcy; that is something stolen by the infertility drag. Here I am inside the experience, and it is surprisingly muddled, but other people’s babies come when they come, regardless of how we feel about it. If infertility has taught me nothing else, it has taught me that. Only, sidled next to this territorial little tantrum exists an enormous gratitude and relief to be able to experience this with something mixed and murky versus the bright, hot grief to which I grew accustomed. My girls are growing stronger, and the sensation of them prodding my insides with knees and elbows gives me the strength to navigate these thorny issues with grace. For that, I am blessed.