My body betrayed me. I have felt an immense amount of shame for years. I birthed a beautifully imperfect child who has trampled through the garden of my dreams. Her arrival made it muddy, and the trails aren’t worn in the same way they were before. The flowers grow up in the cracks and the weeds run amuck while I try to redesign a path to find the parts that thrive. Sometimes I need a machete to cut through the overgrown bullshit; an unwieldy and dangerous tool to find the smallest of blossoms.
I was supposed to have three children. Three, beautiful, healthy children.
Instead, I have two. I didn’t trust my body to have another baby, so after my beautifully imperfect daughter was born, my husband had a vasectomy so that we couldn’t. Not trusting my body feels unfair to both of us. Each period is a mockery of the possibility that still exists but might have broken my family with another beautifully imperfect baby. Each friend who dares to tempt fate with a third or fourth child unearths a longing. To have an ache that never ceases feels like an unwavering wail sobbed into the wind.
I am the only one who feels the wail reverberate through my body. If I talk about the wail and the ache and the longing, you say, “But you have one beautifully perfect child. And God only gives us things that he thinks we can handle. And you are so strong. I just don’t know how you do it.” That reassures me that the wail must reverberate only through my body because yours cannot handle the existence of it. It tells the tale of a mother who doesn’t perfectly love her children. It leaks imperfection out into the community, and we cannot have that.
So, I keep it close. It is mine forever. I will share it with the few who understand and can sit in the silence and be uncomfortable with the imperfectness of my body and the wail that reverberates in it.