It turns out that there are a handful of women from my school who have also dealt with infertility at some point. Once you join the club, you hear about who the other members are. Most of us ended up going to the same RE and, eventually, becoming pregnant.
But one of us didn't. We'll call her Nora. Up until this particular day, I don't know if Nora knew I was infertile and I don't know if she knew that I knew she was infertile.
It was a Friday morning. And it was a jeans day. That's a recipe for a good day for any teacher. Throw in a pay day and we actually click our heels in the hallways. I bumped into Nora as I signed in at the office and she stopped to ask what was on my necklace.
"It's a mother necklace. It has Ben's name on it," I happily answered without thinking at all. I love this necklace. I love wearing something that makes me feel like Ben is with me even when I am here and he is there.
"You're so lucky," she responded. Those three words...they were so much more than three little words. Four syllables that were just filled with distant pain, the kind that is stored in the back of your mind. I can't even explain her voice when she said it. Wistful is the closest I can come to capturing it.
"I know," was the only reply I could come up with. The conversation ended and we both continued on in our separate directions. I eventually ended up back in my classroom and I was a wreck. I didn't know what to do. All I could think of was all of those moments back before I got pregnant when someone's innocent comment would tear away at the infertile me. I needed to talk to her, to apologize for starting her day off like that, to let her know that I wasn't one of them, a fertile. I had to go tell her that I was sorry if the necklace had upset her. That was exactly what I would say. I am sorry if the necklace upset you.
I headed out the door towards Nora's classroom. Then I stopped about ten feet later. What happens after I say that? Where would this conversation go? I don't even think she knows that I know about her infertility. How will she react when I just throw it out there? After wrestling with these questions to no avail, I turned on my heels and headed back towards my class.
Crossing my room, I stopped again. What do I do? I turned back to go to Nora again and stopped again. What the hell? What is the right thing to do?
Finally, I decided I needed to go talk to her. I didn't know how the conversation would go or how she would react but I couldn't bear the thought of starting off her day the way I had without at least attempting to fix it. I ran into her in an empty hallway.
And I just blurted it all out. How I was sorry if the necklace had upset her and how I was infertile and how I didn't know what to say after she told me how lucky I was and I was just sorry. And I cried and I felt like an ass for that so then I apologized a lot for crying.
And she hugged me. And then she cried. And then I hugged her.
And then we moved on to the rest of our day. We chatted for a few minutes about our dysfunctional families and laughed about that. Eventually, we had to separate because we both had kids arriving shortly.
I thought a lot about that ten minutes of my life in the following days. I'm an infertility cheerleader. I've always been the one with the mindset that we all become mothers, some how, some way, we eventually find a way to the beautiful child that we are destined to hold and nuzzle and cherish. But Nora didn't. And she won't. I don't know why. It's none of my business why really. But I'm just so struck by the fact that some of us don't become moms, like it never even really occurred to me because I've always stayed in this positive, determined, focus-on-the-goal mindset when it comes to other infertiles.
Some of us don't become mothers.
And now that I am a mother, that's one of the most heartbreaking realizations I've ever had.