We hold names sacred in the infertility community.
They are our little secret smirks at fate.
They symbolize the victory we’re hoping for. They are precursors to rainbows.
A horizon we can barely see, but one we are trying desperately to get a view of.
If there’s one thing infertile folk know, it’s that things we are hoping for, have to be held close and tight and secure. After all, our entire journey is often approached like walking through an unmarked minefield. We know we have “issues”, so we keep the fact that we’re trying, a secret. The IVF may not be successful, so it’s much safer to keep it to ourselves. This birthmom could very well change her mind, so let’s only tell those who need to know, that we’re even pursuing adoption at all.
Everything is G14 classified.
Names are no different.
I’m sure many of us know the fear of sharing a name idea with a friend, not getting pregnant, and then next thing we know, our new “godchild” is born and guess what their name turns out to be.
So we scribble them in notebooks to ourselves.
We share them with our partner.
We keep them in our heart under lock and key.
We do everything in our power to protect ourselves from being hurt by something as seemingly small as a name.
So what happens when you do all that concealing, get pregnant or begin an adoption, use the name,…
And everything comes undone?
See, because there’s a fine line between naming a hypothetical child and actually attempting to bestow a name on an actual living being. And there’s an intense sadness and emotional confusion in knowing that you named a child…but have no child. Whether they were a child you lost, or a child that was never adopted and probably never actually “took” the name, the pain and disappointment are the same.
These are the things I ponder about these days.
My house has been infant-free for an excruciating two months. There’s lots to say there, but I’m just going to breeze past it.
At any rate though, of all the things I am furious about regarding this year, the thing that consistently rises up into my feelings, is the fact that I “wasted” a name. I shared something that I’d held precious and dear and it was cast off like a heavy blanket. Something I’d worked to research and plan, was replaced with something that “sounded nice”, (and had too much alliteration if you ask me, but that’s another story entirely).
Names say just as much about us as they do about the children we plan for. They describe how we feel, and what we are hoping for our children. They describe who we want them to become. It isn’t the name that I wasted, I feel like I wasted the exposure of my very secret and sacred hope.
I feel violated, and extremely pissed off. Not only at the situation, or the person(s) responsible for the situation, but at myself for letting my guard down. I do a lot of things to protect my heart, and yet I somehow messed up here. I allowed myself to be seen. I allowed myself to be hurt by yet another thing that highlighted how much I have to think about every single step in this journey.
Some days it hurts to even think in complete sentences.
I have to throw myself into new projects and set new goals, and distract myself with service. And even when I do that, there are still times in the middle of them, where I want to stop moving and look at whoever catches my gaze and just tell them everything.
It hurts to breathe.
Recently I found a picture on Pinterest that said, “I am a prisoner of hope”, and it was the most accurate description of my current status that I never knew I needed to see. I know that’s not the literal translation of that scripture, but man am I ever a captive of my curiosity. I just can’t stop without making myself try everything.
So I convinced myself to get a new name on the books.
I wrote it down immediately.
I told friends. I whisper it to myself. I remind myself of it when I’m most discouraged.
I have done so very differently, and much bolder than in my past, but I have reclaimed at least this small piece of my hope.
Now to just find a way to reclaim the other stolen parts.
Regina Townsend is the primary author and founder of TheBrokenBrownEgg. A librarian and writer, Regina’s mission is to make people aware and active about the unique concerns of reproductive health in the minority community.