Surprise!! I’m (Not) Pregnant!

Every year, I consider doing something to honor April Fool’s Day.

People around the world celebrate April 1st by making jokes or playing pranks on others, ending the joke with the familiar punchline, “April Fools!”

I’ve always been a silly person. I laugh a lot – often at inappropriate times. I am idealistic and naive for a typical 40-something. I make up songs on the spot and find ways to make each day worth a smile.

I have always been the “resident toddler” (still playmate) in any place where there’s a kid. I’ve spent many hours playing with my nieces and nephews, catching the eye of a little one in church or the grocery store line, and somehow end up attracting kids like flies to honey at parties and picnics.

Nieces and nephews, Christmas, 2005.

Nieces and nephews, Christmas, 2005.

I remember 15 or so years ago, attending a  holiday party hosted by my husband’s coworker, C, and his wife, D. Within minutes of arriving, hanging out, and saying hello to the boss, I caught the glance of a little girl somewhere between 18 months and 2 years old. At first, she hid behind someone, peeking out at me every once in a while. She got braver each minute, eventually coming over to me and insistently grabbing my hand and pulling me in the direction of an opened door. I turned around to say something to my husband but he was already gone, chatting with coworkers and friends.

The little girl led me through door and down the carpeted stairs of a finished basement. The sounds of kids laughing and playing hit my ears first.

The room fully decorated in toys and kid’s stuff, I realized that this was obviously the “play room” in the house. When we reached the last step, the little girl let go of my hand and ran to a play house. She stared back at me, and ran back to me, grabbing my hand again and leading me to the play kitchen. I sat down and the girl handed me a toy apple.

Ten or fifteen minutes passed, and I heard a woman’s voice as a few people walked down the stairs.

“The kids’ play room is down here,” she said, followed by her husband (the coworker) and my husband. She saw me sitting on the floor and walked over to us.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” she asked me pointedly. I had not met C’s wife yet, and here I was – a stranger, playing house with her youngest daughter, Samantha.

I made eye contact with my husband and he rescued me as I stood up.

“That’s my wife” he said. “She’s a kid magnet”.

This was not an uncommon situation. Kids love me. It’s a gift and a curse. We went on to visit them on Super Bowl Sunday, and Samantha spent the entire time sitting next to me or on my lap, including nap time, and would only eat off my plate.

So what does that have to do with April Fools’ Day?

I’ve often thought about making a big prank and trying to convince my family that I was pregnant. But I realize that my inability to get pregnant is so well-known among my family and close friends that it would be more cruel than funny.

I don’t often share my feelings about not having children, but as my biological clock ticks on, I find myself dreaming (and accurately, in the dream) discovering and announcing “I’m pregnant!” to my husband and family.

Mother’s day is difficult. We usually spend time with my mother, call my mother in law, and wishing our sisters “Happy Mother’s Day”. It’s bittersweet. I adore my nieces and nephews but deep inside, I really wish that I could have had kids.

It’s uncomfortable to talk about, more so because people try help.

  • You can always adopt!” (Nobody in their right mind would give me a kid. I’m too sick and too likely to make my husband an early widower.)
  • You have your cats!” (Yes, I adore them, and to myself as “mommy”, but it’s not the same.)
  • You can have my kids!” (I’ve heard that one more times than I can count.)

The reality is that even if I was able to get pregnant, carrying a baby would have been a burden on my body, and would have meant I couldn’t take a lot of them medications I use.. If I was able to carry full-term, I couldn’t imagine being able to fully care for a helpless infant and then growing child. It wouldn’t be fair to anyone.

And so I continue to mourn the baby I never had, and I try to keep others from feeling sad or guilty. It’s tough. I don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t celebrate motherhood because they worry that they’ll upset me. I am thankful that my sisters let me live vicariously though their pregnancies, and that one of them allowed me in the delivery room to help with the birth. It is a miracle that any baby survives in a woman’s body for 40 weeks and goes through the perilous journey of birth.

So today, I won’t joke about being pregnant, though I so badly wish to have been able to say so, for real, once in my life.

The first of many nieces and nephews! July, 1995

The first of many nieces and nephews! July, 1995

I know it’s not “meant to be” for me. Perhaps that’s why God brings children to me in different ways…a baby’s smile as she rests her head on her mother’s shoulder, the urgent tug on my clothes to “come play” with my nieces, nephews, cousins and friends’ kids, and the feeling that I am a Rock Star every time I see my sisters’ children.

I am thankful, and that’s no joke!

Thank you for allowing me to share my deep and honest feelings. I realize that I put myself in a vulnerable place, and that this post may make others feel uncomfortable. I apologize in advance for any negative emotions reading this post brings to you.

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