Home > All Your Perfects(8)

All Your Perfects(8)
Author: Colleen Hoover

Eleanor’s face reddens and I’m immediately embarrassed by my reply, which means my mother is probably mortified. I don’t look at her to validate my assumption, though. I can see Ava taking a swig of her water, trying to hide her laughter.

“Oh,” Eleanor says. “That’s . . . I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” my mother interjects. “There’s a reason for everything we go through, right? Even the struggles.”

Eleanor nods. “Oh, I believe that wholeheartedly,” she says. “God works in mysterious ways.”

I laugh quietly. Her comment is reminiscent of the many comments my mother has said to me in the past. I know she doesn’t mean to be, but Avril Donnelly is the most insensitive of anyone.

Graham and I decided to start trying for a baby after only one year into our marriage. I was so naïve, thinking it would happen right away. After the first few unsuccessful months, I started to worry. I brought it up to Ava . . . and my mother, of all people. I told them my concerns before I even brought them up to Graham. My mother actually had the nerve to say that maybe God didn’t think I was ready for a child yet.

If God doesn’t give babies to people who aren’t ready for them, He’s got a lot of explaining to do. Because some of the mothers He chose to be fertile are very questionable. My own mother being one of them.

Graham has been supportive throughout the entire ordeal, but sometimes I wonder if he gets as frustrated as I do with all the questions. They get harder to answer over and over. Sometimes when we’re together and people ask why we haven’t had children yet, Graham blames it on himself. “I’m sterile,” he’ll say.

He’s far from sterile, though. He had his sperm count tested in the beginning and it was fine. Actually, it was more than fine. The doctor used the word lavish. “You have a lavish amount of sperm, Mr. Wells.”

Graham and I joked about that forever. But even though we tried to turn it into a joke, it meant the issue was all me. No matter how lavish his sperm count was, they weren’t any good to my uterus. We had sex on a strict ovulation schedule. I took my temperature regularly. I ate and drank all the right foods. Still nothing. We pinched every penny we had and tried IUI and then IVF and were met with unsuccessful results.

We’ve discussed surrogacy, but it’s just as expensive as IVF, and according to our doctor, due to the endometriosis I was diagnosed with at twenty-five, my eggs just aren’t very reliable.

Nothing has been successful and we can’t afford to keep repeating things we’ve already attempted, or even trying new techniques. I’m starting to realize it might never happen.

This past year has been the absolute hardest of all the years. I’m losing faith. Losing interest. Losing hope.

Losing, losing, losing.

“Are you interested in adoption?” Eleanor asks.

My eyes swing to hers and I do my best to hide my exasperation. I open my mouth to answer her, but my mother leans in. “Her husband isn’t interested in adoption,” she says.

“Mother,” Ava hisses.

She dismisses Ava with a flip of her hand. “It’s not like I’m telling the whole world. Eleanor and I are practically best friends.”

“You haven’t seen each other in almost a decade,” I say.

My mother squeezes Eleanor’s hand. “Well, it certainly doesn’t feel like that long. How is Peter?”

Eleanor laughs, welcoming the change of subject as much as I do. She starts telling my mother about his new car and his midlife crisis, which technically can’t be a midlife crisis because he’s well into his sixties, but I don’t correct them. I excuse myself and head to the restroom in an attempt to run away from the constant reminder of my infertility.

I should have corrected her when my mother said Graham isn’t interested in adoption. It’s not that he’s not interested, we just haven’t had any luck in getting approved with an agency due to Graham’s past. I don’t understand how an adoption agency won’t take into consideration that outside of that devastating conviction when he was a teenager, he’s never so much as had a parking ticket. But, when you’re only one of thousands of couples applying to adopt, even one strike against you can rule you out.

My mother is wrong. Neither of us is opposed to the idea, but we just can’t get approved and we can no longer afford to keep trying. The treatments drained our bank account and now that we have a second mortgage on our home, we wouldn’t even know how to afford the process if we were approved.

There are so many factors, and even though people think we haven’t considered all of our options, we’ve considered them many times.

Hell, Ava even bought us a fertility doll when she went to Mexico three years ago. But nothing—not even superstition—has worked in our favor. Graham and I decided early last year to leave it up to chance, hoping it will happen naturally. It hasn’t. And to be honest, I’m tired of swimming upstream.

The only thing holding me back from giving up completely is Graham. I know deep down if I let go of the dream of children, I will be letting go of Graham. I don’t want to take the possibility of becoming a father away from him.

I’m the infertile one. Not Graham. Should he be punished by my infertility, too? He says kids don’t matter to him as much as I matter to him, but I know he says that because he doesn’t want to hurt me. And because he still has hope. But ten or twenty years from now, he’ll resent me. He’s human.

I feel selfish when I have these thoughts. I feel selfish every time Graham and I have sex because I know I’m clinging to a hope that isn’t there, dragging him along in a marriage that will eventually become too dull for either of us. Which is why I spend hours every day online, searching for something that might give me an answer. Anything. I’m in support groups, I read all the message boards, the stories of “miracle conceptions,” the private adoption groups. I’m even in several parenting groups just in case I do eventually have a child. I’ll be well prepared.

The one thing I don’t participate in online is social media. I deleted all my accounts last year. I just couldn’t take the insensitive people on my timeline. April Fools’ Day was the worst. I lost track of how many of my friends think it’s funny to announce a fake pregnancy.

They have absolutely no compassion for people in my situation. If they knew how many women have spent years dreaming of a positive result, they’d never even think to make light of it.

And don’t get me started on the number of my friends who complain about their children on their timeline. “Evie was up all night crying! Ugh! When will she sleep through the freaking night?” or “I can’t wait for school to start back! These boys are driving me insane!”

If those mothers only knew.

If I were a mother, I wouldn’t take a single moment of my child’s life for granted. I’d be grateful for every second they whined or cried or got sick or talked back to me. I’d cherish every second they were home during the summer and I’d miss them every second they were away at school.

That’s why I deleted social media. Because with every status I saw, I became more and more bitter. I know those mothers love their children. I know they don’t take them for granted. But they don’t understand what it’s like not to be able to experience the things that bring them stress. And rather than despise every person I’m friends with online, I decided to delete my accounts in hopes it would bring me a small semblance of peace. But it hasn’t.

Even without social media, not a single day goes by without being reminded that I might never be a mother. Every time I see a child. Every time I see a pregnant woman. Every time I run into people like Eleanor. Almost every movie I watch, every book I read, every song I hear.

And lately . . . every time my husband touches me.

Chapter Five

* * *

Then

I’ve never brought a guy to my apartment who wasn’t Ethan. In fact, Ethan rarely came here, either. His apartment is nicer and much larger, so we always stayed there. But here I am, about to have rebound sex with a complete stranger just hours after I caught my fiancé having an affair.

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