I had a baby dream last night.
It wasn’t the first, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but for some reason this one left me with a feeling that was hard to shake.
In this dream, I had had a baby but then had been sent home with my husband because I wasn’t able to keep him yet. I went back to my normal routine and nearly forgot about having had him at all, until one day the memories all came rushing back to me and I insisted on going back to the hospital to find him. We gathered up bags filled with binders upon binders of our medical records and carried them, staggering under the weight, into the room where we had last seen our baby. He was no longer there, and we felt completely hopeless. We sat down in that room and didn’t know what to do until, eventually, someone pointed us to a distant room down a long, dimly lit hallway. We wanted to leave the bags of records behind, but had to pick them up again and take them with us down the hall, where we found our baby lying in an incubator. I dropped the bags and rushed over to him, reaching out so he could grasp my finger. We had found him. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to pick him up and take him home with us, but I suddenly knew that it was not possible. My baby was there, real and alive and warm, but I could not have him.
When I woke up, it took me a moment to realize that this had not actually happened. It had all felt so vivid and tangible, and it was almost a shock that I didn’t have a baby lying in a hospital somewhere.
The dream hung over me like a cloud. Despite the fact that I have never had a physical baby to mourn, the feelings – the hopelessness and confusion and devastation – were still very much real. The fact that our journey of trying having a baby has been fraught with uncertainty and dead-ends and piles of intimidating medical records is real, and the fact that taking a break makes me worried that I will forget how badly I want this is also real. Above all else, the fact that I wish more than anything that I could leave the shadows of infertility behind us and hold that baby in my arms is absolutely real.