January 6, 2010
By , Trophy Club, TX
My name is Annie Bradford and I cannot have children.
I never started my period. It's not like I was late or I was super skinny, it was that by the time I was done growing at fifteen I still hadn't started. Doctors were worried. Momma was anxious. I still dreamed my dream and every night I massaged my mid-drift, dreaming about the little spark in my eye that was far off but very close to my heart. Oh, I could just picture their beautiful faces and their laughter. I never gave up hope.
Then I turned fifteen. Still hadn't started. Doctors took a look and told me the truth. Everything to hold and make the baby was there... except the eggs. The doctors had a hay-day with me; they've only heard of cases like mine. Nobody really cared that I was in pain. No baby. My condition reminded me of myself actually. I would have been the best mother in the world. Providing the sturdy father, the food, the caring, and all the love a mother's heart could give... but no baby. No baby. No baby.
I didn't believe it at first. It was when I got in bed that I started crying. Crying. No that's not the right word. Sobbing. Hysterical. Anguish. No baby. No child. I was barren. That was something you only heard about in the Bible yet here I was. Living proof. Wrong word again... dead proof.
I was miserable. So miserable my friends actually thought I was pregnant. Jennifer came up to me and asked that and I just cried. Sobbed. Anguish. "No... Baby..." I made out. "Not now... Not ever..." I only told a handful of people about my... condition. Do you know how it feels now? When a woman tells you she can't have children, you act as if it's not a big deal. Like maybe she can't go on long trips. Or can't go out on water. Or is allergic to milk. Don't you understand? A woman is defined a woman by her ability to reproduce. So what am I now? An it? A thing? You can't just go on and expecting a woman to come out of this with no battle scars. I don't think you understand: I AM INFERTILE. Barren. Empty... Oh, so very empty... I feel like I'm spiralling toward no end.
Everyone tried to comfort me. I mean, I appreciate it but it only helps a little. "You lucky duck; you'll never have periods." "You can always adopt." "I'm so sorry." "You can have sex and not get pregnant." My friends would drop by the house with cookie dough, ice cream and movies to watch. I'd get "Feel better" cards in the mail. All that supported me, but didn't really comfort me. At night I would still dream my dream. The only difference is now that dream can never come true.
Then came the What ifs. What if I can't marry? No man who wants a family wants a empty wife. What if I do marry and he finds out later and leaves me? What if I marry and he loves me despite it but then finds that an empty wife and an empty nest doesn't satisfy him? What if, what if, what if. Then the doubts. No man would ever love me. I can't have a normal life now. Everyone will judge me. If not, I'll be their pity case. On and on and on.
I go to the best acting studio I can ever dream of. It's my second home. My acting coach is fabulous, but he gets personal when it comes to 'getting the moment right'. Little Women scene. The Bumgardner sisters were up. Emma was Beth, who just had a baby die in her hands. Scarlet fever. They still weren't getting the moment right.
"Annie, you okay?" Mr. Shane asked.
Tears swelling, I just murmured as bravely as I could muster "I'm feeling the moment really strong." I had told Laura Bumgardner. Her eyes grew moons. Mr. Shane didn't understand. He thought that I would be able to do the scene. He wanted to see what I could do with that moment. Suddenly I was Beth.
"Now," Mr. Shane said. "Get in the moment. Annie, you can't have children." Tears were coming fast. "Go on, say it." Poor Mr. Shane. Trying to pull on imaginary circumstances for me. But my reality was my imaginary, or at least that's what he thought. "I cannot have children." My words slipped through my lips like soap.
"What was that? You gotta speak up, honey."
"I cannot have children."
"I CANNOT HAVE CHILDREN!" My scream echoed off the stage. That was when he understood that my this wasn't acting. This was anguish. I collapsed to the floor, beating my stomach, anger tearing at my veins. I didn't care. I just punched and beat. Something was pulling at me, pulling me down. "Why are you empty?" I feebly pleaded. Mr. Shane sent everyone out, but Laura stayed and rocked me like I was her baby. I cried harder. Sobbed. Anguish.
He called my mom. I was picked up as a breathing body. Limp. Weak. I stayed in bed a whole week. Then my mom made me go to school.
Everyone at school already knew something happened. I heard all the rumors. Had an abortion. Mother died. Brother went to war. Boyfriend dumped me. Juvy. Drugs. None of the gossip centered on my emptiness. Nobody guessed. I told only a few. Everyone was worried about me. I was usually happy-go-lucky. Optimistic. Little Miss Sunshine. Smiley Annie. Smiley, Smiley, Smiley. Who do you know that laughs the most? Annie. Always the one to cheer people up. Always the social butterfly. Then the doctors. The absence. No baby. Anguish.
I stayed at the studio. Without a doubt I stayed there. Momma got so mad, but I told her that my life would be worse without the steady income of true friendship and the stage. Then church. Always the flow of God. The only thing that kept me going was knowing for some crazy reason that He designed this.
All you women, please, feel immensely blessed you can carry and nurse your own child. Your own baby. Because some of us out there cannot.
Well, I haven't lost all hope. It's impossible for Joyful Annie to be completely lost in depression. A flicker of hope in a sea of anguish. What my friends said was true: Adoption is a beautiful thing.
Now you know my story. My story is The Dream. The Truth. The Anguish. Then, as small as a baby's heartbeat, Hope.

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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

LilyC said...
Jan. 29, 2010 at 8:00 pm
This is amazing writing! Is is cathartic for you to write? I write for cathartic release because I have suffered a lot, and it helps. Sometimes it helps me to think that my problems are a blessing that God has given me- a chance to prove that I am an amazing, strong, capable woman. Hugs!
Undiscovered replied...
Feb. 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm
Actually, this story is fictional. Not completely, but it is fiction.
It is cathartic for me to write. If i feel like a tornado is building inside of me, I sit down and dump it on a page and end up with stories like this.
Thank you for the compliment!
LilyC replied...
Feb. 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm
Well even if it is fictional, there are definitely people out there who feel this way and you have portrayed it amazingly!
Undiscovered replied...
Feb. 11, 2010 at 8:11 am
Thank you so much! It also doubles as a monologue.
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