Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A history lesson - How everything has a reason.

Why I have no baby (maybe) and I may take this post down. It scares me a little.

If everything happens for a reason, maybe this will explain.

My birthday, as we know, is in July, so I was just 16 when I went into the 6th form of school and, driven by a strong desire to travel, even live abroad, I chose to study languages.

I chose to take 4 ‘A’ levels (the exams you take to get into University, among other things) – in English, French, German and Art (Spanish followed much later, and really is another story entirely).

It was therefore inevitable that I had quite a bit of contact with D, the “native speaker” German Language Assistant, whose brief was to give German conversation lessons to students of German throughout the school.

He was 21. An intense, highly intelligent, slightly depressive, singing, guitar-playing German with perfect English. We used to walk together in the countryside and talk and talk and talk. In English. To be honest, I didn’t find him wildly attractive – at the time I had boyfriends, rather wild boys with teenage angst and teenage hormones.

It took me a long time to fall in love with D. Nearly a year. And longer still before we slept together for the first time. We spent some of the summer of the year between my lower and upper sixth year together in Germany. He wrote songs for me. He was a poet, a soul mate, my twin. I looked up to him, admired him. I couldn’t bear to be away from him. He adored me. Our love was perfect.

He was only contracted to work at my school for a year, so the following year, as I studied for A levels, he and I wrote letters of ideal, untouchable love. The idealism of John and Yoko’s perfect love mirrored our feelings for each other. That December John was shot dead. D heard it from me as I wailed hysterically down the school corridors while he was on a visit. Ever the drama queen. Still only 17.

The following summer I was visiting D in Germany when my A level results came out. I telephoned my parents from a service station on the Autobahn outside Munich, and had them open the envelope.

Ironically, and to everyone’s surprise but my own, I had almost failed German. My University place was no longer secure.

With no university place, D asked me to stay with him, get a job, a house, get married, have kids.
I had just turned 18.
I was spinning.
He didn’t press me.

My father phoned, again and again, and in my own teenage hormonal angst-ridden state I told him I may stay and marry D. Frantically he made more calls on my behalf to Unis. A few days passed before he phoned to say I had had 2 offers. One of them even allowed me to carry on studying German.

Now what was I to do?

D continued not to press me. It was my decision, and I had to be the one to make it.

(Many years later I asked him why, when he had wanted it so much, had he not pressed me to stay? I told him that I had understood from his actions that he did not mind too much either way. Tragically I was wrong – he had just wanted to be quite sure that I “followed my own way”.

It was a heavy responsibility but I knew I had always wanted to go to university, though in another odd twist, largely because I wanted to study languages and spend a year of my course abroad.

So I went, firm in the belief that D and I would continue. Completely convinced that ours was an ideal, perfect love; nothing could ever taint or destroy it.

I was so naïve, so wrong. I was cruel and thoughtless and hurtful, I really cannot write about the details, but on his 24th birthday that very November, D and I had a heart-breaking scene from which we could never recover. It took me a long time to realise. I really was very naïve.

D returned to Germany and the following Easter I visited him. The tables were turned on me; I finally understood how much I had hurt him.

It was over, but we didn’t leave each other. We still valued how close we had been. No-one else could ever compare.

But, heartbroken that I would never be the mother of his children, the one thing he had dreamed, D made the decision to have a vasectomy. The medical profession tried hard to dissuade him – he was in his early 20’s, how could he make a decision like this – but he went ahead anyway.

How did I cope with that? With the blame?

I thought of it as a mini-suicide, and explained it as his way of destroying a part of himself to keep himself sane. Suicide, it seems, was a part of his make-up. His sister had killed herself when he was just 16. Many years later, suffering from mental health problems, his brother was killed when he jumped out of a train window. A panic reaction when he realised he was on the wrong train and the guards were checking tickets.

So maybe a vasectomy at 25 was not the worst that might have happened to D.

A small death that saved him from going all the way.

I know I sound heartless, and it isn’t meant like that. Not at all. There was a lot of pain to get through. For D, I think I was in some ways just more pain in his life.

Our relationship went through many changes over the years. We remained very, very close for a long time. D had a heart attack, just 5 or 6 years ago and we rowed bitterly over his smoking. He refused to acknowledge it was bad for his heart, or had anything to do with the heart-attack. The smoking row happened over the weekend he got married, and turned things very sour between us.

He got married 3 days after 9/11 to a woman he had lived with for at least 16 years. . Apparently she never wanted children. But I know he did.

And after a long and I have to admit, bitter silence, we have exchanged text messages recently. I wanted to know that he was OK – not dead of another heart attack. He is, apparently, fully recovered and playing badminton regularly.

On a very sad day I texted him the news of my 6 miscarriages, and received from him a very kind text in return:

“Oh Viv, I can only try and figure what you two had and have to go through with that, I am sorry. I wish you strength. I think of you.”

I didn’t expect him to be so kind after all the bitterness. Whatever we did in the past, however in love we once were, it all did happen for a reason – he and I would have destroyed each other. He was simply far too intense, far too prone to misery and depression, even anger. I could not have withstood that.

What I finally found was support and love of a stronger and healthier kind with R. I never feel in danger with R.

But still, a little bit of me really believes that I have no right to have babies, when I could have done with D, and I chose not to . . . and he chose never to have them, if not with me.


  • Hi Vivien,

    I've just found your blog for the first time. It's a great blog, in that I can relate to almost everything single thing you've said. Of course, reading it made me cry, but at least I know I'm not the only one. Thanks for writing it.

    I know you know this, but don't forget to focus on the much bigger bit of you that knows that whatever happened with D does not have any impact on your ability to have a baby.

    Finally - it's a beautiful sunny evening in this bit of England, so I hope it is the same in your garden, and that your hens are pecking happily at the ground and you're enjoying all your home-grown veg, of which I'm mildly jealous.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:44 pm  

  • Oh, Viv. I'm so sorry you feel this way. I realize we just met and that I don't know the cause of your miscarriages, but I refuse to believe that they had anything to do with your break up. I like to believe there's a reason for everything, too, but sometimes, it may just be bad luck or our particular cross to bear. Please don't beat yourself up anymore.

    By Blogger Sue, at 5:41 am  

  • Oh Vivien, this post ripped my heart out reading the pain and sorrow dripping from your every word. How much you long for a child...but one you don't feel you deserve. This is your heart to the core and I can sense your ache. You are worn down and feel hopeless. Where is the drive to succeed when we feel all hope is lost? There is none. Vivien, I pray that you will sense Arms around you of love and acceptance that you aren't willling to give yourself. You do deserve more than you let yourself believe. You are worth more.

    By Blogger running wildly, at 10:17 am  

  • Vivien, the hormones are whipping you right now. Nothing you have done in your past is affecting your future ability to have a child.

    You are just kicking yourself while you are down, because it is easy and you are looking for something to blame. Try and be gentle with yourself.

    By Blogger Pamplemousse, at 12:14 pm  

  • Oh, Vivien. This post broke my heart. It is so difficult to see a friend in the midst of such overwhelming sadness. I agree with Pamplemousse that your hormones are raging right now, and that just makes for prime-time self loathing. I think Darla makes a good point--in your post I also read that you feel you don't deserve a child, and this is simply not so. You are a good person--a kind, loving and caring person. Even if you can't see the amazing person you are right now, we can--and we're here to help hold you during this difficult time. Sending love your way.

    By Anonymous Nikole, at 2:04 pm  

  • I'm so very sorry for your pain. Please don't blame yourself. As P. said, try to be gentle with yourself.

    By Blogger Beagle, at 4:44 pm  

  • Okay Vivien, after I have my say you can figure out how to block any future comments from me but....come along with me for the time being.
    1. Perhaps you could have had children with D (most likely the difference would have been in your age - you might have been able to have children with almost anyone back then (not that I am suggesting you should have).
    2. In your own words "he and I would have destroyed each other". Ah, so you would have had children and then imploded/ exploded.
    3. Your children would have had a father who "was simply far too intense, far too prone to misery and depression, even anger". I am not trying to slander D here but these are NOT good qualities in a father.
    4. Somehow a part of you (even if it's a small part) thinks that you are being punished or denied something because you were not immature and/ or idiotic enough to stay in a relationship that you knew would not be healthy (for the two of you or for any potential children).
    5. AHHHHHH! BUZZZZZ! (Sound of buzzer signaling that this outlook is not acceptable).
    I think we are always changing and that the people we surround ourselves with are responsible for a good portion of that change. If you had stayed with D you would not be who you are now -you would not have just walked away unscathed but with a child or two. You would be a substantially different person and perhaps much more hurt, angry and unhappy. Kind of boggles the mind when we are already somewhat hurt, angry and unhappy where we are but there were worse places to end up.
    Hum, I feel so strongly about this that I think you probably hit something pretty close to home for me. If nothing else, you have caused me to think about this (damn!)

    By Blogger DinosaurD, at 5:42 pm  

  • Vivien, I am so sorry that you are feeling that maybe you don't deserve to have children because of the choices you made in the past. I understand how easy it is to slip into blaming ourselves for our losses, especially when we can't find any reason for them, but I think that we need to resist those thoughts because they just aren't true.

    When I start going down the path of blaming myself, I try to remember that there's no big cosmic "test" for who deserves to be a mother and is allowed to have children and who doesn't. Clearly, there isn't such a test, or women who do crack or other drugs while they are pregnant would never be able to have babies, and women who abuse and neglect their children never would have been able to have them in the first place.

    Be kind and gentle to yourself right now. You have been through so much...and it's not your fault. Please don't blame yourself; you are a good, caring person who would be a wonderful mother.

    By Anonymous Jill, at 1:17 am  

  • This is it, isn't it? The search for the reason, the justification about why we are being put through hell. SOme of us turn to Gd, or against Gd, and some of us look inside and find the big mistake, the big cruelty, and figure out that we are being punished. I did the same thing. But sweetie, you know it's not true. That's the path not taken, and you can never know what might have happened with D. You weren't ready for that relationship, and so you took another path. One that's led you to R. And it's a good path in many ways. You've found your love.

    I'm sorry that you're feeling this way. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    By Blogger Thalia, at 3:51 pm  

  • Not fair, blaming you for his vasectomy. He sounds like a wonderful, if intense, person but maybe not the most ideal future father. Or maybe I'm just to sarcastic and cranky to find his behavior anything but manipulative.

    You don't deserve any of this.

    I'm sorry for your losses.

    By Blogger chris, at 8:43 pm  

  • Dear Vivien, I'm so sorry I'm only getting to this now. It's so deeply ingrained in us to look for a reason why something happens -- especially something so deeply painful as recurrent miscarriage. But as all the other wise ladies have said, there's nothing you did in the past that is causing any of this. It's rotten luck, in the most fundamental sense.

    By Anonymous Kath, at 2:33 pm  

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