It was a clerk at Rite-Aid who was the first person who got me to admit that I was actually trying to get pregnant. The interaction was short but emotionally charged. And so, I remember it well.
It was three months ago. On my way home from work, I stopped at Rite-Aid to pick up two things – a box of tampons and a bottle of prenatal vitamins. The vitamins were my first purchase towards trying to conceive.
As I approached the counter, my stomach was fluttering from nerves. As the clerk bagged my items, she suddenly stopped and with a confused look she said, “Wait…tampons and prenatal vitamins?!”
I almost died right there in the store. Did I really have to explain my story to this stranger? No, I decided I didn’t. So I smirked and said, “Yup!” Her confusion cleared and she said excitedly, “Ohhh, you’re trying?!” Again, I almost died. Instead, I practically started crying while I choked out a “Yes.” She smiled wide as she said “Good luck!” I ran out of the store and threw my bag in the back of my jeep. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
That was three months ago, after almost seven months of trying to conceive.
Anyone who knows me probably knows that I’ve said many times that I don’t want to have children. This was true. Was. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever become a mother. I never felt that urge or desire to be a mom. I knew others who did, but I wasn’t one of them. And so, I never became one.
I used to see parents out in public with their children and think oh, I’m so glad that isn’t me! Slowly, as I grew older, this thought changed to oh, what if that were me?
I used to look at my husband and only see a husband. This, too, has changed to seeing him as a father. I see all the good in him and think how amazing it would be to pass on his positive qualities.
My husband and I have grown, independently and together, since we married four years ago. A lot. The way we decided to stop trying not to get pregnant and start trying to get pregnant happened rather suddenly. Still, it started as, we’ll see what happens!
As time passed by and nothing changed, we started paying closer attention to all the numbers, signs, symptoms, etc. that go along with conception.
We kept trying.
For ten months.
Ten months of buying tampons rather than home pregnancy tests.
Ten months of the “two week wait” between ovulation and period.
Ten months that lead us to seek advice from our doctor; a painful and somewhat humiliating conversation.
Ten months of seeing babies and baby bumps pop up everywhere. Everywhere.
Ten months of fielding the overly asked yet still inappropriate question, “So when are you two going to have a baby?”
Ten months of hope, disappointment, sadness, frustration, and anger.
We don’t know if it’ll ever be for us. We don’t know what we’ll do if it doesn’t work.
What we know is that in our hearts, we’re already parents. We’re already naming our baby, building the nursery, and thinking of how we’ll handle various parenting decisions. We’re already thinking about how we can raise a kind and courageous child, and how we’ll be strong to enforce consequences and accountability. We’re already thinking about our baby, with a little of both of us, growing and amazing us each and every day.
We’re already parents. Empty arms. Full hearts.