Describe a difficult time in my life.
By far, to date, the most troubling time in my life was at 23 and 24 years old. I was newly married and freshly off all forms of birth control. We were going to start a family. With all that potential in the air – and it was palpable – we forged ahead in anticipation that I would have a positive pregnancy test by the beginning of 2002, if not by the end of 2001.
Nothing happened, so we upped our game. Still nothing happened, so we went to the doctor.
It was at this point that a dark cloud came over our two-bedroom apartment in North Chattanooga and settled there for the next year and a half. It was dark, so much that the darkness crept in my heart and pushed out all the happiness. There would be no pregnancies. Ever.
All around me, friends fell pregnant, and one-by-one, they hesitated to tell me. We weren’t planning it, they’d say. We hate to tell you this, they’d say. It was as if all they had to do was run into each other in the hallway and – voila! – pregnant!
They hated to tell me, and I hated to hear it. The darkness got worse and I hated everyone. I was a horrible friend, a horrible person. Mother’s Day in 2002 was the worst. Pastors and preachers, don’t ever ask all the mothers in the congregation to stand up and be recognized with applause. I’m still surprised lightning did not strike me dead in the pew on account of my awful thoughts.
It was around Christmastime in 2002 that my best friend, Karin, cautiously, carefully told me she was pregnant. After feigning excitement for the duration of the phone call, I hung up and wept at Chuck’s feet. Not only was this the absolute lowest possible point I could fall, it was also the turning point. I resolved that I would enjoy pregnancy through Karin. If I wasn’t going to be a mother, I would at least be the next best thing – the auntie.
Starting in January 2003, I scraped myself off the floor, wiped my face, and helped Karin decorate the nursery. We shopped together and I helped host her baby shower. I put my hand to her belly and felt the baby kick. I did all the things.
The darkness in my heart was still there, but it had waned. Occasionally it resurfaced, like when we started the adoption process and the road felt long and hopeless, but I kept focused and diligent. I would be a mother eventually.
In August 2003, we met Jeremy’s birth mother. In September 2003, we were there for his birth. From the moment I decided to lift myself out of the fog to the moment Jeremy was born, it was exactly nine months.