I don’t have children. Medically speaking, I couldn’t have children. I have thought endlessly about what a wonderful father my husband would have been. I dream of what could have been if we were able to widen our family.
The truth is, I wonder if subconsciously I ever wanted to have children. I can’t medically validate this last part other than, now with over a decade of sobriety and full recovery from anorexia, I am now better able to connect dots and consider how my addictive lifestyle might have contributed to my infertility.
During the time my husband and I were trying to get pregnant, being drunk and thin was more important to me than anything else. It’s not out of the realm of possibility I subconsciously did all I could to avoid getting pregnant because that would have required me to stop drinking and gain weight. Having children was what society told me I was “supposed” to want, what I was supposed to do and I’d be less of a woman without that experience. There are indeed medically proven reasons I was unable to get pregnant. I’ve poured over those reports and the pages of notes I took during many doctor visits. I know the medical facts as they were uncovered, but what I don’t know is how much alcoholism and an eating disorder contributed to the inability to get pregnant. Nonetheless, I kept doing what was suggested by my medical team to get pregnant until one day, my doctor looked me in the eye and said, “You know, I could keep removing the cysts (polycystic ovarian syndrome), how many surgeries is your body able to take? We’ve already done eight of them. I think you and your husband need to talk about whether you are ready take the next step to fully alleviate what is causing your ongoing pain and other reproductive health issues.” What he meant was a hysterectomy. I felt the wind knocked out of me. It seemed so final. Yet at same time, I felt relief as the emotional pressure lessened.
That night my husband, my knight in shining armor, held me as I sobbed uncontrollably. I wasn’t sure I was ready to accept closing that chapter in my life. Although the tears fell for what I felt I was losing, none of those tears were in reflection of how my addictive lifestyle might have contributed more than what was medically proven.
It has been over eight years since I did indeed take that huge step. It was the right thing for my health and I know that. Yet every so often I still find myself grieving. I grieve for what wasn’t. But I also grieve for what my part in that might have been.
There are all kinds of consequences resulting from the addicted life I led, each with a level of intensity unique to the situation. This one however, the inability to get pregnant, carries a very, very deep impression on my heart.
However I do realize deep in my soul that while I may never hear someone call me Mom, I am able to utilize my ability to nurture each time I am honored to help another women forge her own recovery destiny. Maybe in those quiet moments, I can finally feel what it means to be called a mom.
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