I went to a new gynecologist this morning. As I took the elevator up to the Women’s Health suite, I remembered something. This is not simply a GYN-only office; it is an OB-GYN office. As I checked in I immediately saw the two pregnant women sitting in the waiting area and that old feeling of inadequacy came over me.
Over 11 years ago, all I wanted was to meet the man of my dreams and have babies. When I walked into my GYN’s office suite back then, I felt small, broken, and invisible. It seemed as if the suite was teeming with pregnant women with beautiful round bellies and I was just there for my annual GYN visit. I watched all of these beautiful pregnant women being called in for their appointments while I sat and waited what seemed like hours upon hours.
So I was surprised when these similar feelings came to me this time. My wish to meet the man of my dreams and have a baby was fulfilled. I am very blessed. And though I wanted another baby after fertility treatments, I thought I had worked through my grief at not being able to have another child. But there I was, in the waiting area, feeling sad, jealous, and disappointed. A woman walked in with her baby, who must have been around 1 month old, and I felt my uterus cringe.
As I sat and waited, I continued to wonder but still could not understand these “old” feelings. I felt jealous when a couple was called in for an ultrasound to see their baby, and I remembered how that felt when I had any ultrasound while I was pregnant. There was anticipation and excitement, a little fear and longing. I wondered if they were feeling that, as well. Another couple checked in and I heard that it was their first appointment with an OB-GYN and their faces were glowing with happiness. I read their expressions and felt as if a mirror was being held in front of the three of us as I remembered how emotional my first appointment was after over a year of fertility treatments.
It wasn’t until I was in the examination room and talking with my new doctor when I began to realize something. While there will always be a level of sadness around everything I went through to build my family, I am extremely fortunate to have my daughter. Seeing the pregnant women in the waiting room produced a range of emotions for me and what I focused on was the actual pregnancy part of being pregnant. I remembered how it felt to throw up each morning into a plastic Target bag that I kept a stock of in my car. I also remembered how those first flutters felt and then the kicking and baby’s hiccups which always made me laugh. I remembered her birth when my OB-GYN held this slimy baby who looked extremely unhappy over the drape so I could see her. And I remember the snuggles with a swaddled munchkin with a full head of black hair and how those moments felt so enormous I thought I may burst.
I realized it is not about having another baby—it is about my baby, my daughter, who is now 6.5 years old and in first grade. I still get snuggles with her and I still laugh when she has the hiccups. Luckily, she does not kick me anymore and as of yet, she has not made me throw up! But she is and will always be my baby. I had the experience of being pregnant and while it is nice to remember how special it was for me, it feels good to pass the torch to those beautiful pregnant women in the waiting room.