"All of us, whether guilty or not, whether old or young, must accept the past. It is not a case of coming to terms with the past. That is not possible. It cannot be subsequently modified or undone. "
~Richard von Weizsaecker~
Last night I dreamt I was pregnant.
I am finding no matter what point you come to in this life, there are just some things you never get over - or perhaps, some things are like a bad habit, one you just don't know how to or just can't break, a knee jerk reaction - one that comes before you even have time to think about it. Pushing up the glasses you haven't worn since you got contacts. Checking the calendar to see when your "monthly gift" should arrive - even though it hasn't for six months now and won't ever again. Finding out someone I know is pregnant and feeling it like a kick to the stomach. That sudden, sickening, lurch. Those old feelings come back so easily, haunting me. A little pink bundle in the store - and overwhelming pangs of what might have been, what could have been, what should have been, follow me all the way out the doors and to the car and back home.
And I am one of the fortunate ones. Me. I can't even tell you why. Because I know I am no better nor worse than anyone else. No less or more deserving. Things just worked out this way. And I feel guilty. Even now, my past is trying to rob me of my happiness. That which I worked for, bled for and cried for - even now, it wants to taint my joy. And I feel guilty.
A friend who chuckles when she "confesses" to being almost through the first trimester "I thought we were done. Guess someone had other ideas!" And me, trying vainly, still trying to fit in, to belong somewhere, says "I thought I was done years ago . . ." and another friend who says "That is what happens when you are fertile." And I laugh - I have to laugh and I choke on that laugh. She with the children spaced far enough apart that you wonder if there is a story to that, a reason - a painful secret perhaps? Because I know those backstories, and those reasons, and those painful secrets. She doesn't know I know. So I tell her. I tell her my first babies are fertility drug babies because I didn't work right, my body didn't do what it was suppose to do. I tell her that personal bit of "dirty laundry" that my ovaries didn't put out eggs without prodding them with injected drugs. That they didn't for 12 years and then, when they were supposed to stop working as efficiently, they suddenly got it figured out. I tell her this, but I don't tell her that there were more than four fertility drug babies. I don't tell her of my angels. And I feel guilty. I feel embarrassed. ashamed. Why? It is a hard thing to admit sometimes - a hard thing to say I am imperfect. I didn't work right. I got myself pregnant with babies I couldn't keep. Couldn't hold on to. I still think of them. I still mourn them. I still wonder about them. And I don't mention them because I have babies I did manage to hang onto, obviously, and I mustn't appear ungrateful. And I feel guilty. It seems unbelievable at times. Amazing. And I lived it, I was there, and sometimes even I wonder. What was I thinking? Was any of that real? Were they real?
For those few weeks, a mere matter of months, they were mine.
I may not know what they looked like - whose nose they had, what color their eyes were or if they would have let me sleep through the night or not; but I remember how they made me feel. I remember how it felt to know they were there. For that, I would never change one thing.
And I feel guilty.