All of us need one thing above all else: the right to be who we are, whatever and whomever that may be.
And we are the only ones able to give ourselves that right. No one can do it for us.
We are the only ones who can realize and accept that we cannot have control over everything, and that we cannot have control over the unfolding of events.
Life writes chapters we could never have imagined, and our strength is in our ability to adapt to change and write our own new happy endings.
Now, this is only a theory.
Imagine that you desire something so badly, whatever that thing may be, so much so that you would be willing to sacrifice your happiness to have it. Imagine that you’ve wanted to become a mother since your teenage years, when you daydreamed about your future with your boyfriend.
I cannot have children. I wasn’t able to have them, due to some strange twist of fate. A true, concrete explanation was never found. And believe me that for a Virgo mathematician with a love of science, this reality isn’t easy to accept without an explanation.
They never came. And God knows I tried. The same God who saw me hold my legs up in the air after every intercourse for years, in order to facilitate the transfer, that saw me through 4 rounds of assisted reproduction, including two abroad, that saw me cry of happiness with my partner after a positive test on our third try and cry out in sheer pain and sadness following the loss of our little one at the twelfth week of pregnancy.
I should say our little girl, because we were certain the baby would have been a girl and we would have named her Aurora.
Our Aurora. Sometimes I get the feeling that I recognize her walking down the street in the bright brown eyes of a little girl, or in the greenish-grey ones of another, just like her daddy’s. I feel pure delight.
It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been easy to think about not having first birthday parties, first steps, and first days of school to celebrate. It hasn’t been easy to imagine a future without a family to share it with. It hasn’t been easy to imagine a life journey shared with a single other person, regardless of how wonderful that person may be.
It isn’t easy to find alternatives. New goals, new objectives and a new balance. It isn’t easy in a society that at every given moment reminds you that a childless woman is only half complete. Sometimes it’s done gracefully, sometimes it’s whispered. But you definitely pick up on it.
Do you have children?
How come you don’t have children?
Your biological clock is ticking.
It won’t be long, just don’t think about it.
Just relax and it’ll happen.
Take a vacation.
A friend of mine got pregnant when she stopped trying. ( ???? )
I know a lady who began the adoption process and then got pregnant.
Have you tried in vitro? Did you go to Doctor X?
Just get the hormone shots and you’ll see!!!!!
Look at Monica Bellucci, Antonella Clerici, Gianna Nannini. Look at Carmen Russo.
Why don’t you adopt a dog?
A friend of mine adopted a dog and then got pregnant.
What does he ( my husband ) think about it? ( !!!! )
I can’t help but smile at every sentence. An automatic smile, one of circumstance, while all I can think about is taking a tissue, stuffing it in that person’s mouth and closing it shut with some tape. And yelling at the top of my lungs: “What the hell do you know about any of this?! What do you know about our dreams that are shattered every time, about all the shots on my stomach that Giorgio and my father-in-law had to give me, so numerous there wasn’t any place left for them? About our trips filled with hope to that Austrian centre on the lake that looked like the home of the angels. About that heartbeat that sounded like a miracle. About our comforting hugs. About our heartbreaking moments of silence.”
Truthfully I never reacted, first of all because I’m almost rational, and second because deep down I know that people are only trying to give you comfort in their own, sometimes clumsy way. The intentions, however, are good.
The truth is that only those who have lived through something similar know that the only possible comfort is silence. Those closest to me adopted this strategy: my husband, family and true friends. We never spoke about it again.
The years went by and friends got married, had children, invited us to first birthday parties and shared events and milestones with us.
And then it happened.
I can’t tell you with certainty when it did. Perhaps it was reaching 50 that led me to build up a wall against any type of curiosity or piece of advice on this topic and led me outside the area of possibilities.
Certainty speaks louder than consciousness.
The pain has since diminished. The thought still hurts. But I now have control over this thought and can easily guide my mind away from it. Experience taught me and I can now begin to talk about it.
And for the first time, I’m able to talk about it with clarity. And this, for me, is already a victory.
I abandoned my feelings of anger and my sense of guilt, my mind began to see clearly and I began to believe that opportunities don’t always present themselves as we expect them to.
There are women who are born to be mothers, women who shouldn’t have children yet still do, women who don’t wish to have children at all and then there are mothers without children.
These women will have the possibility of being good aunts and spoil their nieces and nephews or even be babysitters to their friends’ children, happy and proud to celebrate every milestone with them.
And then they can be, if they’re as lucky as I am, teachers to hundreds of children that want nothing more than to be loved.
Until next time. Sa
A heartfelt thank you to Elena Guidi for these beautiful pictures that demonstrate as a woman what can be understood beyond the words that didn’t have to be said.
Thanks to Kelsey Leigh for translation
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Your story is really very painful, difficult. I imagine how you felt.
Thank you for sharing my post on your blog ( http://thenext15000days.blogspot.com/)
I hope will be of help to people as possible.
Klara’s post sent me here. Thank you for translating this! Despite some lessons, my Italian isn’t good enough to understand it all.
I loved this, as I say it often myself –
“But I now have control over this thought and can easily guide my mind away from it. Experience taught me …”
And I am glad you can now talk about it, and that you have all those children to love. I am sure you are very important in their lives.
Sa, you got me right to my core … proprio in questi giorni mi sono venuti i tormenti, out of the blue, con la pioggia fuori, la radio accesa con l’ascoltatore che racconta che quando sua figlia é nata si é fatto dare la paternita’ … il mio compagno che ha due bimbi piccoli ma non si possono vedere (exactly the same with my ex) .. e il mio treno ormai partito per sempre .. yes, one day but not now, poi dai 42 in poi c’abbiamo provato, niente .. solo adesso, proprio in questi giorni, mi sono trovata a volte con il cuore e la pancia annodati … non poter mai conoscere questo amore unico, unconditional – Even though I haven’t experienced it I believe there is nothing in the world that can be as strong as that love, that bond … and yes, I do feel like only half a woman because of this … poi mi dico, che rompipalle che possono essere i bambini, poi quando diventano adolescenti ecc .. e che sono fortunata di essere libera. ma in fondo in fondo …
Grazie per il tuo bellissimo articolo. <3
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thank you so much for translating your beautiful post to English!
This is one of the most beautiful texts that I have ever read about the life after infertility.
I know a lot about infertility, unfortunatelly. I have had 10 failed IVFs (in five different clinics in three countries). Looking back, it is insane. But I was so desperate, I couldn’t even imagine living my life without children, so I just kept trying. Then the last IVF really went bad, I had so many horrible side effects from drugs that I got scared for my life, so this was then a turning point for me.
Luckily the darkest years of infertility are over… but there is still a long walk to be walked until I am completely healed.
Wishing you all the best for the future!
Lots of love from sLOVEnia,