Life is like a bookstore; you never know what section you’ll end up in.
At least that’s been my experience.
Applying to colleges, I read every college guide book on the shelf.
During a tough break-up with an ex-boyfriend, I found myself in the self-help relationship section.
On my quest to run a faster marathon, I’ve spent hours in the running sections.
During my graduate work, I geeked out in the technology, art and education aisles.
When Mr. T and I got engaged, I tried to nurture my non-existent bridezilla in the wedding planning section.
When we bought our first house, I studied up in the real estate aisle.
Throughout my career, I’ve done my time in the business and marketing section.
Then finally, back in August, the day Mr. T and I saw the heartbeat of the bean we thought would become our baby, I allowed myself to enter a section of the bookstore I previously avoided like the plague: the pregnancy book section.
For the two years before that, I had haunted the infertility section which is cruelly located directly behind the pregnancy section. Whoever designed this layout clearly wasn’t thinking of the fragile emotional state of infertile women. I’d skulk in and out of my aisle, trying to grab the infertility books I wanted before a pregnant lady came by, mistaking my aisle for hers.
The conversation would go something like this:
Glowing pregnant lady: “What section is this? Are these the pregnancy books?”
Me: “No, this is the ‘I can’t make a baby’ section.”
Glowing pregnant lady: “Oooh… sorry,” giving me a pained look full of sympathy.
So when I graduated to the pregnancy section, I timidly but proudly walked into the ‘what to expect when you are finally-expecting’ aisle. To my surprise, I still felt like an interloper here. Was it my imagination or were these glowing pregnant women giving me funny looks? It was as if I could hear them ask one another, “Why is SHE here? SHE doesn’t belong here.”
But I was going to have my moment even if my infertile complex mixed with early pregnancy nausea meant vomiting all over them.
As if to test my resolve, the skinny young pregnant lady said to her pregnant friend:
“You know what I love most about being pregnant? I love I can eat whatever I want because it’s all for the baby.”
I blocked them out, and stood silently looking at all the titles, a feeling of gratitude washing over me. I was here with all these books I thought would never be meant for me. The What To Expect books, the Baby Name books, the Pregnancy Step-by-Step books. I wanted them all.
But at the same time, I think I knew deep down that my struggle wasn’t over.
I finally let myself get the classic “What to Expect Book” along with an “Eating for Pregnancy” cookbook.
I took my books home and promptly fell asleep on the couch.
One week later, I was no longer pregnant. I pulled out the “What to Expect When You are Expecting” book to see what it had to say about miscarriage- and of course was disappointed with the less-than-helpful information. This was afterall a book about what to expect.
Now those books are at the back of a dark top shelf.
After another miscarriage in December, my present location in the bookstore is “recurrant pregnancy loss.” Same section as infertility, just a different shelf.
I still hear the pregnant ladies on the other side of the aisle. I hope one day I’ll join them again. I hope one day I’ll move over into the parenting section, three shelves over on that aisle.
But I’ll always know that on the other side of that happy aisle, just the width of two books away, are infertility and loss.