I was scrolling through Facebook last week when I came upon a photo of a friend’s beautiful new baby boy.
“Holy moly,” I thought, as I “liked” her photo and suddenly became very sad. “I’ll never have another one.”
It’s a side effect of my cancer treatment that I really didn’t fully comprehend until now. Six months of chemotherapy resulted in early menopause. “If you were in your 20s, your fertility could come back,” I remember one of my oncologists saying. “But being in your 40s, you’ll most likely experience early-onset, medically-induced menopause.”
The “change” that most women spend months or years going through, I finished in a couple weeks – hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, weight gain. Now it’s officially been more than 12 months since my last period, which means I’m post-menopausal, and I will never bear another child.
Logically, I’m okay with that. I have two beautiful kids who are both a long way from diapers and night feedings and teething. I’m over 40 now, so pregnancy could be complicated. And, honestly, I didn’t like being pregnant. There I said it: I loved the end result of that beautiful baby, but not the 40 weeks of carrying a child (heartburn, changing center of gravity, sore breasts, growing feet, no wine or sushi, people – STRANGERS! – touching my growing “bump,” awful maternity clothes).
Emotionally, it hurts knowing I’ll never again breastfeed a baby or watch as their eyes light up when I walk into the room. Looking into the eyes of a sweet baby who believes I am his or her entire world. That new baby smell. Watching as a baby finds his or her hands for the first time. Recording all the firsts (and stressing out when baby’s late to meet certain milestones). That amazing feeling when a baby completely relaxes and fall asleep in your arms.
It’s over. All of it.
It’s not that I was thinking about having another baby. (I wasn’t. At all. Seriously.) It’s just that the option is gone. It’s no longer my choice. My baby days are officially over. My uterus is closed for business. My eggs are fried. And it makes me sad.
I can always borrow friends’ babies to cuddle (and sniff), but it’s not the same.
Tell me, how do you get your new baby “fix” when you find yourself closed for business?