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Unfortunate Answered Prayer

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My parents never discussed the “birds and bees” with me from what I can recall. There was a bookcase in the downstairs living room overflowing with volumes of books. Not dusty, untouched ones, for my mother seemed to keep her books to good use on a regular basis. Each one was read with care, maintaining their glossy covers and crispness.

I remember one book in particular. It was a bit smaller than the rest and cappuccino in color. For years, I wasn’t tall enough to reach it. However, one afternoon after being left alone in the house, curiosity got the best of my innocent spirit. I had managed to hoist myself up toward the towering bookcase, barely grasping the bind of the book with my tiny pink fingertips. It descended to the floor and the crash echoed throughout the house. There I dangled, gripping the giant ledged book refuge made of oak, begging to be spared of my own life. I was clawing the wood with my flimsy nails as if I were an alley cat escaping a nipping canine bite.

The small book laid on the floor open in plain view with the words, “SEXUAL REPRODUCTION” in large bold letters. I immediately recognized the first three letters; however, the rest I had trouble sounding out. The first three letters, S E X, were often fingered through the foggy condensation on the school bus windows. Instantaneous giggles always followed the perverted acts of lewd ten-year-old boys. I thumbed through the book, exposing myself to various sexual positions, which I later felt guilty for the liking of my latest discovered erotica. Nowadays, I wonder if the placing of the little brown sex book directly two shelves above the children’s book shelf was intentional. Perhaps my parents thought, “If they are big enough to reach the book, they are big enough to read about the subject.” And eventually, boom! Instant enlightenment on the “birds and bees” without the actual discussion.

The years before my erotica discovery, I prayed the exact same prayer on my knees each night before my sweet slumber. I was a fearful child. Fearful of rejection, death, disasters, and pain. My prayer throughout my childhood consisted of four exact sentences. Naturally, the last request was taken out of my prayer after the little brown book was found. It was then it was revealed that God doesn’t pick and chose which women have children. Or, does He?

Dear God,

Please make my mom and dad love each other everyday.
Keep my baby brother safe.
Don’t let there be a tornado or fire tonight.
Please do not put a baby in my stomach.

Amen

Seven years later, I was seventeen and everything was going well for me. I was voted Junior Homecoming Maid in high school, our cheerleading squad made it to nationals, I was in love, had a new car, and lots of friends. Little did I know that I was about to hear the most devastating news of my life.

“You have been diagnosed with a condition called Premature Ovarian Failure. Your ovaries are not working properly and you will most likely never conceive a child.”

My world was crashing and I wanted to die. From that point on, my life drastically changed. I dated less and less in fear of not being able to live up to the expectations of the men in the south who couldn’t wait to have strapping young lads carrying out the family name—a tradition that could only be carried by a child of their own flesh and blood. In college, I didn’t pursue relationships with men who passionately talked about having families of their own. I couldn’t face telling them I was inadequate to give them a child. Thus, losing out on what could have been beautiful connections.

I felt as if a magnificent experience was ripped from me, robbing me from such an incomprehensible moment. A moment that I would watch time and time again, as my college friends eventually had children. And now my own brother and his wife are making me an Auntie this April.

“What were mom and dad’s reactions to the baby news?”

“They both were ecstatic. Mom’s reply was, ‘I’m going to be a Granny!’”

“That is wonderful. I am so happy you have them near.”

“Me too, Amanda. After all, it may be the only.”

“What?”

“Never mind.”

“Grandbaby they ever have?”

Once again, my heart sank. My family has already accepted the fact that Darren and I will be childless. And while I am thrilled for baby “Holland Diane” to be a part of my family’s lives, my heart is saddened of a future without a similar experience of our own. The happiness I have felt for my friends and their newest family additions has been such a strange and foreign emotion. Never have I felt so much sadness with an emotion that is to create bounds of contentment. Combining happiness and sadness into one emotion has been a form of heartbreak for me.

I have recently swallowed my pride, stopped ignoring my diagnosis, and began researching other options for future reference. I will continue to smile politely when asked, “When are the two of you having children?” I will continue to thumb through baby clothes in department stores, allowing the scent of fresh softness to linger as my fingers feather the gentle cottons of crib blankets and tees, bringing me a glimpse of hope. I will go on imagining the feeling of contentment in knowing that someday we will have a family. Someday, my husband and I will be picking out paint colors for the spare bedroom that will eventually be converted to a baby’s room. Someday, I will give my mother and father a second grandchild.

Perhaps, my childhood prayer “please don’t put a baby in my stomach” has been answered. But, forever more my prayer will be, “Dear God, please make me a mother.”

Amen.

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