In the few weeks since my last post we have been wrapped up in the whirlwind that is moving. For the fourth time in six years, we packed up just about all of our possessions and moved to a new apartment in a new state and began a new life. If I have come off lately as scattered/absent/unreliable (or maybe all of the above)… I hope that I can blame at least part of that on recent life circumstances. We’ve just left behind everything to start over, and it feels a lot like stepping off the ledge in hopes of surviving the fall.
Almost two weeks ago we moved into an apartment complex off-campus full of other grad students and their families. Our first floor balcony/patio faces a courtyard with a large pavilion and playground, and most afternoons are filled with the sound of kids running around outside our windows. Kyle had his first day of classes on Thursday and, despite his initial apprehension over going back to school, he came home excited for the semester. With the worst of the packing & unpacking process behind us, this place has even started to feel more like a home.
But, being separated from Sweet Pea and missing out on this part of his life is intensely painful for me. I think of him all the time, but our only connection is through my heart and mind. Meeting so many new people who do not know our story has only served to emphasize the abnormality of our situation. I am thrilled to finally be able to say that we are expecting a child, but the glances to my stomach and the assumptions that I am physically pregnant make me wish I could hide from the world until he is in my arms. There is just no easy way to bring it up in conversation without feeling awkward or making someone else feel awkward. And for once, I don’t want to explain it anymore. I just want to be normal. I just want him to be with me.
Now that we are living in such a family-oriented place, rarely does a day go by when I don’t see multiple pregnant women and/or parents with their newborns right outside my door. I am so grateful that we did not come here even 6 months ago as I know I would not have been able to handle it. At night when I take Orion out for his last walk before bed and the whole place is quiet, I often wonder if anyone in this apartment complex is currently struggling with infertility (though, the sheer amount of children living here would suggest otherwise). If there are other infertile couples here, God help them. It can’t be easy. Pretty much everything is a reminder that I am not with Sweet Pea and that I will never be pregnant. Even if some of these couples needed the help of fertility treatments to have their children, it is not something they have to disclose upon meeting someone for the first time. We are the outliers of the outliers.
I know what you are thinking: that once he is home with us, no one will be able to tell how he got here and it will no longer matter. Sure. But what about in the meantime when my belly doesn’t grow over the next couple months and people start to wonder? What about the dozens of conversations during which I’ll have to announce that my body is a failure? Or the looks of shock, pity, and depreciation I’ll have to endure over the way I had to become a mother? And what about my growing fear that even once he’s here it will be obvious that I’m an impostor? What if I am missing something important that all the other moms automatically have? Some of the reactions I’ve gotten (not necessarily from people here) have already made me feel as though this will be the case.
While I’d like to say that my lack of writing is solely a side effect of recently uprooting our lives, part of me has also been reluctant to share some of the aspects of the surrogacy journey because I am still trying to figure it out on my own. By the time I have processed something enough to feel comfortable posting it publicly, something else has happened or changed that requires more thought. There is so much I want to say but often it feels ultimately worthless when so few will be able to understand or relate anyway. I’m tired of being the black sheep.