July 15, 1991
Every now and then, a columnist pleads for the indulgence of readers on a
personal matter. I am asking for that indulgence now. For the next month, I will be taking maternity leave. Human gestation still takes nine months. But until now I have not been able say when we would become parents, because I am not the one who is pregnant (at least, not in the biological sense). My husband and I will be adopting our baby - and so his or her exact arrival time has been a tantalizing mystery.
FOR US, ADOPTION represents the sun peeking out after a prolonged eclipse. Infertility is an emotionally, physically and financially devastating condition. I have been physically gouged during laparoscopic surgery, financially gouged by fertility specialists and emotionally gouged by the well meaning but insensitive comments of friends and relatives. Like a serious illness, infertility pierces the illusion we all enjoy of invulnerability. It shatters our sense that we are in control of our lives. The most careful timing of ovulation, the most painstaking scientific investigation of the process of conception, avail us nothing. There is nothing we can learn, nothing we can do to help ourselves. After a while, when infertility begins to feel permanent, it robs the couple of the sense that they are full participants in life. The roundness of being born, growing up, getting married, having children, then grandchildren, seems to get warped. One feels thwarted, stunted and sometimes ...