In most people’s experiences, a baby is just something that happens. You lie down with someone you love (or don’t) and nine to ten months later a baby pops out. It seems the most natural thing in the world. You don’t spend your time obsessing about all of the probabilities of actually getting to that point in time. It just happens.
I think that is one of the roughest parts of infertility. Nothing just happens. You don’t have the luxury of waking up one day and finding that you magically became pregnant unintentionally. Everything is planned, scrutinized, and talked about in terms of probabilities. After so many failures, you realize how rare and miraculous every birth truly is because you experience all of the things that could go wrong; the stuff that everyone else doesn’t see, because they are the 99 out of 100 pregnancies that go according to plan. Or something like that.
And so with me, everything has become scientific lately. I obsessively research risks to prepare myself for negative outcomes because for so long, I have been on the side of the equation that gives comfort to everyone else. If a probability is one in a thousand for some negative outcome, I give peace to the other 999 women, because I raise my hand and take it for the team. I feel like the one. Maybe I was too smug when I took the New York Bar Exam. I looked around the room to pick out the 25% of people around me who looked more clueless and worse off than I was. If I didn’t see at least 25% of people who fit that description, then I feared I would be one of them. Fortunately I did, and I took comfort than that and passed. Now, I am the one everyone else can take comfort in knowing exists. I am the resident failure in human procreation.
When having a baby becomes a process, you realize every little thing that can go wrong along the way. Then you wonder how anyone has children at all. Every time I see Harry and Phoebe, I see them as such little miracles, because I know Melissa didn’t have such an easy go of things either. They are remarkable.
At some point, it helps to think of these things only in terms of scientific principles and probabilities. I haven’t cried about any of this in a long time. I actually feel like I may be okay if I never have children these days. When you are used to failing at something, it becomes the predictable outcome and opens up space to maybe have the rare outcome be the positive one.