Not 1, but 0.
It’s the hope that makes the pain worse. How can you feel grief for just a cluster of a hundred or so cells… But you can. A tiny grief that hurts just the same, just as deeply. You can and you do. The cells are a vessel for your hope and all those dreams you quietly dare to make; they’re the end result of years, and years, of wishing, hoping and trying – and failing, but trying again. You have to try. You have to try, to risk the hurt. It’s not a real person of course, just a potential for a person, just a someone who could have been. No different maybe in some ways to the other potential people you made or didn’t make through the years. But no. So different. A tiny, tiny bubble of cells containing all your lives. Everything you could have wanted.
Deep inside there is, in some of us, that desire, that need, to be more than this, to make another life – but for some of us it’s not that simple. Tests and clinics. Change your life. Change your diet. Give this up; give that up. Try. Every month another little death. And all that hope, all that thinking about what might happen, if it happens… If it happens. But it doesn’t happen. And for you, it won’t or can’t. And might never. Science has come a long way but it doesn’t always work. You can only do so much. You think about “fate” – maybe it wasn’t our day, our time. Maybe it was but it still didn’t work. Maybe there is no fate and you have to do everything you can to make your own fate what you want to be – and wherever you end up, that’s where you put yourself. Parent or not-parent. I know for some people “it’s not nature’s way” but nature has no feelings and is often wrong. You have to try. It’s not wrong to try. You think to yourself: why is this happening to me? To us? Why not me? Why not us? And there are no reasons and there is no logic. There is no big plan. There is no “everything happens for a reason.” There is no reason.
It doesn’t help sometimes that everywhere you go you see babies. On television, in the street, among your friends the same age, or younger: babies. Oh, we didn’t even try! It just happened! And. And that’s great for them. And it gives you hope. And you’re happy but inside you want to fall apart. The walls close in. The colours in the room bleach away. It’s like you’re looking at yourself through a spyhole, distorted and smudged and small.
You have to try. Try to fight against the things that are set against you. Beat the odds even though the odds sometimes beat you.
But we aren’t beaten yet.