Hope and Grief – Twin emotions

* Not suitable if you are looking for something feel good.

Folding a humongous pile of clothes my mind wanders in a thousand scattered directions. The muted volume of the TV murmurs in the background. I take pause and notice every detail around me. In the mellow yellow glow of the recessed lighting everything looks bathed in warmth. I mull over the path we are on. Waiting interminably for what seems the holy grail. Motherhood. I love how that word rolls off my tongue. I give in and imagine myself being a mother. Being and looking harried, frazzled and unkempt. I imagine the mountain of clothes twice over. I imagine folding itsy bitsy pieces.

I drop the shirt I am folding and walk quietly along the dark hallway to the room at the end of it. A room I have kept empty for five years now. Painful memories flood my brain. I remember arguing to move the guest bed into the tiny hole of a guestroom when clearly the pista painted room with a ceiling fan was a better choice. Its our baby’s room I remember saying. A hope that rose unbidden at that time.

With every passing year, I stayed away from there, the emptiness taunting me. It was the elephant in the room. Now in the darkness of the night and the tiny bulb in the ceiling, there was an eerie feel to it all. My baby. A vision of a crib in the corner, a glider by another. Toys strewn to the side, an elephant humidifier yawning at me. The imagery was so real. It passed by me even before I could realize it.

Walking slowly back to the reality of my clothes pile, the warmth seemed to have evaporated. I pulled a sweater on. The reality of infertility hit me. I might eventually be a mother but the scars will remain. A haunting specter of what could have been. Thoughts of a pregnancy I will have never experienced. The imagined joy of finding out that I am pregnant – never to be. The loss of what could have been is a vivid reminder of the grief I have felt. A grief that sometimes overcame me. A grief that I choked back and never let anyone know. A grief that is not tangible as in the loss of a child or a miscarriage.

Infertility is real. Infertility hurts. Infertility masquerades behind a poker smile, a declined invitation to a party. It reflects itself in very many facets of life. Yet we choose to pretend it does not exist. We focus on the future never acknowledging the truth of the present.

I like to think that phase is behind me. I want to believe it is past and look towards the future with hope but I also want never to forget that it is an integral part of who I am today. And reach out when I see someone suffer in silence.

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