In October 2003, I learned I would never have children. On my birthday. Although this was not entirely unexpected, the finality of the verdict was a shock. And it took some time to sink in. Understandably. After all, the majority of people, men and women, spend their lives assuming that if they want to they can and will have children. For some of us, it takes longer to decide to try than others. But even so, the realisation that it will not happen for you, that you will be one of those in the minority, one of the ones who cannot, this realisation is very difficult.
At first my brain could not accept it. But gradually, as October turned to November, each time I remembered, my brain began to adjust. When I found myself thinking “when I have children” or “my children would never do that,” my brain remembered, and reminded me. These things were no longer an option. And each reminder was painful, and each pain on top of the previous pain hurt even more. The wounds were still raw, and the pain got worse and worse. November 2003 was a difficult time.
But then my logical brain won the battle. I stopped thinking the painful thoughts, and was able to start looking forward. November makes that easy for those of us in the southern hemisphere. We can look forward to the end of the year, to a break from work, from people, from putting on a brave face. We can look forward to summer and blessed warmth, and the unknown, untarnished future of a new year.
That dark month is now a distant memory. I remember, but no longer feel the pain. Instead, I feel excitement at what is to come.