On Failure as a Women
I’ve never been a girly girl. In fact, as a child you would have probably called me a tom-boy. (Hold onto your hat, I am going to use a tonne of gender stereotypes today).
I spent countless hours doing the typical girl things – sewing lessons, brownies, making friendship bracelets, babysitting to earn spending money, etc. While I enjoyed the time with my mom and sister, these activities were not my idea of fun. In fact, you could say I hated almost every single moment I spent doing crafts.
As a child, I always preferred to be active and outside, which usually meant I was hanging out with the boys in the family. If my choice was doing crafts with my mom and sister, or racing my brother to see who could run fastest, I would always choose to run (and almost always would win, which of course resulted in multiple arguments and rematches). I always preferred the adventure that came along with going on the biggest roller coaster imaginable or going down the biggest waterslide at the waterpark, which in my family meant I was hanging out with the boys as my mom and sister were not so adventures. In fact, it became a joke with my great-uncle that he knew when I was around we’d always do something “stupid” together!
While clearly a girl, in so many ways, my personality was more like that of one of the boys.
So, now here I am as an adult. From a stereotypical perspective I’m not the greatest in the women department – and I’d definitely be a failure as a 1950s housewife (thankfully it is not the 1950s). I am not the greatest cook alive. I despise cleaning so much I have hired someone else to do it. I am yet to greet Mr. MPB at the door after a hard day at work with a martini. And, clearly I am not staying at home taking care of the children every day.
Which brings me to the point of this, my greatest womanly failure: the most feminine thing possible. In fact, biologically speaking, all I want to do is what the female body is meant to do. All I wanted was to create a living child with Mr. MPB.
But, as I sit here today, 5 miscarriages later; multiple medical appointments, tests, procedures and treatments; and, one expensive trip to an out of country medical expert on the other side of the continent, I’ve learned that my body is just not willing to do what it is supposed to do. I’ve learned that as a women, my body in fact does the exact opposite thing that it should – it works directly against sustaining the life of my child. From a purely biological perspective, it is evident that my body fails at being a women. I cannot hope away my problematic biology, I cannot give my body time to magically fix itself. For us, for me, the reality is that my female body does not work the way it should. In this respect, it fails.
Yet, from a complete human perspective, I know my body’s failures do not make me a failure. And, even more, I believe that this is an important distinction to make. I know that I have the heart of a mother, and that matters more than anything else. And, I know that my heart and Mr. MPB’s heart can overcome the limits of my biology and our circumstances. We know that having a biological child is not the end goal, rather having a healthy child is. We can still achieve the dream, just in a different way than most (i.e. adoption).
Note that this is a follow up to a piece I wrote about a months ago: Heart of a Mother, Body of a Killer. The original post was my raw reaction to learning that my body is the most likely cause of our 5 losses. Today, weeks later, I hope to show my shifting perspective as I work through all the emotional baggage that came along with our diagnosis.
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