I talk and write a lot about choice. It is no coincidence my motto is “Happiness is a choice!” Yet, there was a time when I could not live by this motto. It was after I had lost two babies. I wanted to make the choice to have only one child and to let go of my desire to go through another pregnancy to satisfy my wish to hold a baby, take him or her home and be happy.
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… On my daily walks with Kathy, my doctor friend, I looked for a way to give up. One part of me longed for a baby, a healthy baby that I can take home, and the other part was afraid I would not be able to survive another pregnancy and possibly another loss. To make matters worse, another doctor I had seen told me that since I had already had one baby with a heart defect, my chances of having another one were no longer 1:20,000 but 1:10 (!) and that certainly did not make things easier.
Kathy, who was in her late thirties, had made a conscious choice to have only one child. We had been walking every morning for about a year. She had evaluated all her options and seemed so happy with her choice, so I asked for her guidance.
“Maybe if I find comfort in one child, it will stop tormenting me”, I said to her.
Being a truly wise woman, Kathy explained to me she had made a choice I could not make.
“I can live with having an only child. Eden is the most wonderful girl in the world. You and so many like you can live with one child. Why can’t I?” I said.
“Because you want another child. This is why you have gone through the second pregnancy. This is why you have gone through the third. You cannot lie to yourself. You are in pain, Ronit. When people are in pain, their choices are not the ones they would normally make”, Kathy said.
She made so much sense it hurt.
I wanted her to be wrong. I wanted to give up, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew she was right. Pain clutters the mind and my mind was in a real mess.
“When you are in pain, you cannot examine all the options properly. You think of having only one child as an option, but it is not a real option for you. You are under pressure and choices made under pressure are not real choices. You can’t choose to just give up. That’s not a choice”.
“Maybe the universe is telling me I need to give up”, I told her.
“Or maybe it’s trying to tell you something else”, she said.
I looked for other things the universe might be trying to tell me. It was so painful that giving up seemed the least painful option.
I found a job in Forth Worth in a child care center, where I had been asked to run my Garden of Eden Program. It kept my mind busy. I tried to prove Kathy wrong and failed in this too. I could not let go of the image of the baby I needed to take home, the one who needs to bring back my smile. I found refuge in my job and did my best not to stop for a second, so the pain would not come back.
Tomorrow, I will tell how a photo that was hanging on my refrigerator changed my life.
May all your choices be made with clarity,