So, I was going to have a baby, and I'm not going to have a baby anymore. This was an interesting and good thing to happen to me and I'm going to try to explain why.

I'm old. At this age, just about nobody here has babies unless they are Quiverfull or are desperately trying for their first or second (never found a mate, met their mate in middle age, focused on career for most of their adult life, fertility issues.) In my community the exceptions don't even apply; women are educated and married and have their babies in the "proper" stage of life, in the decade between 25 and 35 or so.

Also, I already have four children. People have different reasons for why they disapprove of large families, but almost universally they do indeed disapprove.

Also, I'm aware that statistically genetic anomalies are more likely at my age (and the age of the baby's father.)

I felt anxiety about all these things. But, my partner was not only supportive but happy, and that was very romantic and lovely. And, I am naturally an Eeyore and seriously identify with the writer of Ecclesiastes, but not particularly happily or willingly, which means that to have a natural mission and purpose is greatly appealing to me. So I had mostly decided to go forward with it, but to keep quiet about it as long as possible.

I began to feel better and better. In fact, I felt great. My hip and pelvic pain disappeared, and I was energized both mentally and physically. I felt like I was on a happy drug, and the happier I got the happier I got. It built on itself. Biology is such a powerful thing. And of course that good feeling rippled out into my family. I was more loving, kinder, more considerate. I was so happy to be with them, so grateful. I hadn't ever really let myself enjoy pregnancy before, I was realizing. I always felt a little ashamed, like I shouldn't be doing this. I was thinking: I should be contributing to society, I should be doing impressive things, breeders are ruining the environment, I am so tired and grumpy from running around after little kids, and we can hardly afford basic necessities as it is. But now I am old and much more haughty and selfish, I guess. It is easier to not let it get to me when people judge me. I have a sense of there being things that are much more important; that there will always be pain and suffering and the world will continue to be misused and population will grow exponentially, but I can love and feel love and have experiences that humans are supposed to have and report back on them; with the hopelessness of everything, that is the one true power I have. It is the point of it all. Come with me and love, and we will die, and we may get sick, and we may be hungry, but at least we will have loved. If it is between a long, comfortable life and ecstasy, I will take the ecstasy. They're not inherently mutually exclusive, of course, but so often the things we do to try to guarantee the former eat away at the latter until it has disappeared except for fleeting moments here and there. That is a tragedy, it seems to me, more than any death or suffering.

So, here I was, getting to embark on this unusual and disapproved-of course, and really being happy about it. And feeling sad that for various cultural and practical reasons throughout history, women haven't felt it. I guess that it hasn't been the norm for a long time. Even for those in the approved status group it isn't, still. How different would the world be if women's conditions were such that they didn't feel conflicted about pregnancy and children, always to some degree a burden or a guilty luxury? How different would individual lives be? I am talking about Eden, I realize, but I was inside of it. It exists still; it is possible. I want to yell out to women everywhere, "Take it back! Don't let them steal it from you!" No matter what else is going on, how dire our circumstances, this is something that we are supposed to have. It's written into our very cells. I wish we could have it always, all of us.

***


Wednesday, on my 45th birthday, I started bleeding. Through my mind ran all the possible causes and I paid close attention to where the pain was coming from and the degree. I did not take pain medication because I wanted to know exactly what was going on. I decided finally that most likely I was experiencing a normal miscarriage. I remained watchful. Flow became heavy with small shiny dark red clots or pieces of tissue. I was tired, oh so tired. I wanted to sleep a deep sleep all the time, like the kind of sleep you fall into when you've been doing hard physical work all day and come home to a soft bed. It was nice. My sleep was filled with watercolor dreams, where there is no plot or dialogue, just flowing images. I was dreamy while awake too, in an altered state of consciousness, in a liminal space. Everything around me took on an Edenic cast, especially outside, whether sunlight on greenery or grey mist. I did not particularly want to see people but when I did I loved them. I told a few women and they were caring and I just loved them. I didn't care for the moment about noise and pollution and greed, I saw shapes and color and movement and coruscation and I loved it. I was serene and at peace. I continued to bleed, more than I can remember ever having done.

Today I am feeling back to normal. The bleeding has mostly subsided. I feel the lack of all there was. I feel emptied.

I was only six weeks (and I realize that this is only my experience, and others experience it differently) so there was nothing in the way of the loss of a known person to mourn. I did not feel a soul come and go. But I am different, I am changed. I am not sad, exactly, but I feel tender, raw, and there is a lump in my throat. Tears come to my eyes easily.

A friend of mine said that she was sorry that she could not be more of a support, but she was actually the very support that I needed, in simply acknowledging that this was not nothing. For such a private person as I am, and someone who normally finds people annoying and tiresome and who is not particularly socially adept, it was interesting how much I did not want to keep this to myself. I had a desire to whisper to people (certain people) that it is here, here it is, do you see it, to pull them into it a bit, and to open my heart. It was an odd and lovely place to be.

I am not going to have a baby, but I'm glad that I was for a little while.