I dreamt last night that a client (the husband of a late 50’s couple I see semi-regularly) said pointedly, “I’m worried what we will do when you and that nice man of yours have a baby. Who will we see when you are not working?”
In the dream I reassured him there was to be no maternity leave for me. I felt neutral as I placated him but awoke with a feeling of sadness.
Then I read Ampersand Duck and her thoughtful pre-hysterectomy piece and I feel her grief and guilt because it mirrors my own.
Once I have no choice about my fertility, I have to work on the guilt of having failed to provide such a wonderful man with a baby of his own. He hasn't contributed to this guilt in the slightest, except for a bad habit of wandering around the house with a cat cradled in his arm, murmuring 'now, you have to be sure to support the head' that makes Bumblebee laugh but tweaks my tearducts slightly. No, the guilt is all mine, but I have to learn to knock it on the head, as I've tried my hardest, and also offered him many alternatives: leave me, & find someone fertile; have an affair; donate sperm to some lovely lesbian couple who will give him visitation rights; adopt; donate sperm generally & allow the result to look for him down the road; whatever else he can think of. He's thinking upon it, but his general philosophy is that he has a wonderful partner who pushes him to think differently, and a fabulous stepson who entertains him mightily, plus cats who fulfil his need for nurturing, so who is complaining? See? BestBeloved.
From Womb with a view over at duck’s.
The baby, not conceived, not born, is grieved in so many ways.
Being barren, deliberate or otherwise, has ripples.