|Photo credit: Playingwithbrushes|
Around the same time, How I Met Your Mother did an episode that did an amazing job of addressing infertility. For some reason, I didn't write about it at the time. I've decided to change that because Entertainment Weekly recently named it the best HIMYM season 7 episode (though I'd argue it's the best, period). Also His Awesomeness and I watched it this weekend and even though it was the, let's say fourth time I've seen it, I bawled my eyes out. Again.
I'm talking about Symphony of Illumination, available on Netflix streaming. Instead of Future Ted narrating the episode, we get Future Robin narrating to her future kids. Robin has a pregnancy scare and celebrates like crazy when she finds out she's not pregnant. Then she gets called back into the doctor's office. It turns out that she can't get pregnant. Ever.
She never wanted kids, but she's still upset. It's one thing to never want something, but it's another to be told you can never have it if you change your mind. And she can't tell her friends because she knows them well enough to know that they won't react in any way that will help her. And Lily is pregnant, so of course they have to go to a baby store to help her register for the baby shower. Twice.
In the end, we discover that the kids Robin was talking to are imaginary and it's hasn't been Future Robin narrating, but Robin Robin sitting alone in the park working through this.
For some reason, I also cry my eyes out at the end, when Robin returns home to find Ted who's determined to comfort her even though she refuses to tell him what's wrong. He's decorated the apartment with Christmas lights programmed to flash in time with AC/DC's Highway to Hell, which makes perfect sense with the B plot.
And Robin finally cries.
The best thing about all of this? Several episodes later, Robin tells her boyfriend about her infertility and he figures that adoption is still an option. But no, even after discovering how much it hurts to lose the possibility of something she didn't want, Robin still doesn't want it. She hasn't changed her mind - she still doesn't want kids. And so they break up.
I love that they let her have complicated feelings about the issue without changing her mind. She can look at babies and think they're cute as fuck, but still not ultimately want one of her own.
And I'm right there with her. I wasn't never that hung up on the idea of gestating my own young. So when I couldn't get pregnant and we turned to older child adoption, I rolled with it. And then the attempted adoption went all to hell. Now the sight of a pregnant woman annoys the hell out of me. Hearing that a hopelessly infertile blogger I follow is now knocked up makes me want to smack her with jealous rage. I can cry my eyes out because a sitcom character is infertile too.
But once my tantrum is over, I don't want a baby. My life choices haven't changed just because I experience griefquakes (TM OV Hawkins) over the twin losses of the child I couldn't conceive and the child I tried to adopt. The Kid's rages and compulsion to fight me every single second of the day make me long for a baby because kids you raise from birth will not try to run away several times a week, heading for the fire escape when you have the front door blocked and what the hell are you supposed to do if you have more exits than adults to block them?
But the truth is that there are children in the foster system who have experienced less trauma than The Kid and are therefore easier to parent. Because ultimately, The Kid didn't want to be part of a family. It was too painful and upsetting for her. As soon as she let herself get comfortable, she exploded.
I'm glad that we've had to delay starting the process again until after the one-year anniversary of The Kid leaving us. So much still reminds me of her. There was an annual street fair near our apartment yesterday, so of course I remembered last year's fair, when The Kid was with us and not the other years.
I hope that once we pass the anniversary of her last, horrible night with us, something in me will be exorcised. I hope that something will be gone. So that I can be some other kid's mother without constantly bracing myself for a violent tantrum. Intellectually, I know that we're not going to repeat our experience with The Kid. But I don't feel it in my bones yet.
So when I feel baby jealousy or baby longing, I haven't changed my mind about dirty diapers or lugging a stroller on the subway. It's just my desire for a non-disastrous parenting experience.