Phantom Pain

“Do you have any children,” a woman asked me yesterday.

“Yes, a daughter. She’s four and a half.”

“Do you want any more?”

“Yes, but I’m not able to.”

“Oh. How long did you try for?”

Thus went a tiny conversation I had yesterday. A small snippet. But a big question, which I answered truthfully.

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I will not have another baby and I’m coming to terms with that. I’m doing my best to move on and usually I’m OK. But lately I’ve tried to remember what it felt like to be pregnant and I can’t quite conjure it. I know that I wanted to do it again, but what would it have been like? I can bring up faint memories of the baby under my skin, those first few flutters I felt at week 17, when my husband could barely feel no matter how hard I pressed his hand to my stomach. My memories of being pregnant are becoming similar to that – no matter how hard I press my memory, I have only flutters. Phantoms. 

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I realized this afternoon that I have a phantom pain for my memories of that time when I was pregnant. I didn’t know it would only be one time, so I cling to what I think I can remember.

I’ve lost weight and one week when I stepped on the scale, I thought, “Oh, this is the weight I was when I went to my first doctor’s appointment at nine weeks.” I wore plaid pants and a carnelian shirt. At that appointment I saw something on the monitor that had to be pointed out many times – the smallest speck on a screen that produced whooshing noises when amplified via air waves.

I can’t even find pictures of myself pregnant. I emailed one or two to two friends but the archive folder shows them as stripped. I know a few exist, from baby showers and what-not, but I don’t have ready access to those images. I know it happened. I have proof in my house and on my skin. I have all of the proof anyone would ever need, but I can’t quite remember how I got there.

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