Just like I had done before, I skipped the sugar pills in the birth control pack to avoid having a period. I punished you; I shamed you. Instead of seeing my time of the month as sacred and beautiful, or, at the very least, completely normal, I just skipped it all together. I never allowed you to learn your cycles or find your rhythms. It was easier that way.
I am fertile with contradictions, beset by exhaustion, love, worry and joy in a mud pie that can taste terrible. I’m touching deeper grief and sadness than anything I’ve experienced before. Every relationship is changing—with my parents, my career, my body, my husband. Even my relationship with time and space is changing, fundamental understandings of the world around me that gave me a sense of ease.
By the time I’d scheduled a consultation with a fertility clinic, I’d been trying to get pregnant for over five years. Normally a generalized aura, my worry had morphed into a hot, sweaty, magnetic force field. It drew in all of my fears so I could study them up close: I worried about the expense and my age; the tests, the results; and the side effects of the hormones I would have to inject into my stomach and thighs. I worried it wouldn’t work and I’d never have a family.
I used to ask my mom if she wished I looked like her. I wondered if there was a certain connection she’d hoped to have—the sensation of seeing her own eyes reflected back at her in a younger version of herself. Was there a different kind of bond formed by teaching your daughter how to become a woman in a body that resembled the one you, yourself, had grown into?
My body tightened. I was exhausted. We’d wasted all his sperm over the past week. Why didn’t I wait for the stick to say I was ovulating? My mucus told me I was fertile four days ago. My body doesn’t work.
“Babe, we need to have sex,” I called from the bathroom.
Hunched over the toilet, I rock back and forth in excruciating pain. I use the contraction timer I have at births. My contractions are two minutes apart, hard and fast, and they last around one minute each. I am sweaty and naked in the pitch black, silently crying between breaths.
I was so far removed from blackness that I couldn’t recognize it on myself and when I saw it on others, I really didn’t know what to make of it. My peers told me I wasn’t really black; I “didn’t count.” And the more they told me I didn’t “count” as black, the more I began to believe them.
Two weeks later I experienced what I can only describe as a nervous collapse. My body shook uncontrollably; I was trembling and cold and terrified. I had no idea what was happening to me. I recalled waking up alone in an empty apartment as a two year old, crying uncontrollably and searching for my mother in the building’s hallways. Something was terribly wrong with me. I was sure I was dying.
“Am I the reason you doubt yourself and your beauty?” my mom asked.
It was a heavy question, but I knew the answer without hesitation. Yes.
Tapping into our cycles can mean a competitive advantage in our careers, productivity, decision-making, and time management skills.
He cried. He cried so much. He wasn’t gaining weight as he should have been. He spit up all the time, sometimes in a long projectile. I breastfeed and bottle fed and nothing soothed him for long. Soon his knees were at his chest and he would start crying again.
I knew something was wrong. I knew in my gut, as a mother knows. Any time I brought up my concerns people told me that babies cry and babies spit up. I was brushed off and ignored. No one knew that I was drowning. That I would daydream about taking him back to the hospital. How I wished I could put him on my doorstep so a neighbor would take care of him just so I could get a break.
The changes in the body we experience during these nine months can be supported greatly if we connect mind, body and spirit.
The moon and the woman’s cycle reflect one another, a powerful reminder than feminine energy is cyclical rather than linear…
The honest truth is, I knew I was going to get the abortion. Maybe that’s what made it so hard for me. Did I ever give the baby a chance? Was it selfish of me?