My nephew TJ has always been enrolled in Medicaid for medical coverage. Teej's new case manager (who I had not yet met face-to-face) sent an unnecessary stack of paperwork for me to complete for his annual coverage review. I was sure that she sent the paperwork in error, thinking that I was seeking coverage for both TJ and for myself. I didn't want to risk TJ losing his coverage because of a clerical misunderstanding; my phone calls hadn't been returned, so yesterday I thought it was best to see the case manager in person to get things straightened out. That's how I ended up in the waiting room of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) for over an hour, surrounded by pregnancy 360o.

 At one point there were eight pregnant "women" in the office (yes, I counted), and not one of them looked old enough to have graduated high school.

Number Nine entered with Boyfriend, and sandwiched between them toddled two girls who appeared to be around 2 and 4 years old. Number Nine was the size of a toothpick everywhere except her protruding belly, around which stretched a too-tight, too-small Baby Phat t-shirt. I overheard her say to the receptionist at the sign-in window that the reason for her visit was to find out why she received less in food stamps this month. I also overheard her tell a friend who she obviously hadn't seen in a while (also pregnant) that she had celebrated her nineteenth birthday last week and that she was finally having a baby girl. Hey, Nineteen.

Hello, claustrophobia. I pulled out my laptop and forced myself to focus intently on tweaking a PowerPoint I have to present to the faculty during Monday's staff development day.

I have been pregnant three times for myself and have four children.
I've been pregnant a fourth time and delivered one surrobaby. So why, why did I feel myself sink a little lower into my plastic hardcoat chair each time another rounded midsection entered the office?

I'm here, having "crossed over to the other side," as some like to say. My four passports make it possible for me to be here, but the familiar, uncomfortable feelings were like a well-worn path through an overgrown thatch of weeded grass.

Just get over it, part of me says.

Screw "get over it," says another part. It's too entertwined into who you are to "just" get over it.

I'm my own one-woman freakshow.

11 thoughts on “Hardwired”

  1. I felt the same way the other day at the DMV. There are so many levels to the discomfort, right? It’s so much more than how can everyone here be pregnant . . . so many other things going on in situations like that. I could write paragraphs about what I saw the other day.

  2. I haven’t crossed over to the other side ~yet~, (and I sure hope I do soon), but I get a feeling that a part of us never crosses over! I can only imagine that I will probably react the same way for the rest of my life, even if I have children after all this.
    Yup – hardwired!

  3. I don’t think you have to get over anything. You feel what you feel. It’s complicated. So after all that waiting and discomfort, did you get things sorted out?

  4. It’s funny (well, not really) but I’ve been there for the last week. Surrounded by pregnant women, women who’ve just delivered. I’ve been pregnant myself 4 times to get to my one son. And despite the wonder that my son is and my readiness to move on in other arenas, all I’ve felt this last week is sadness that I’m not among the pregnant and that I will never be again. No matter how much I want it.

  5. It’s the children. It’s the children that suffer. And that is what bothers me the most. There are many families that come to mind, but one in particular that I’m thinking of at my school. There are five different children, from five different fathers. Beautiful children, mind you. Sweet, sweet, girls. Living on welfare, and often not dressed appropriately for the weather, sent to school sick, without luch money, etc.
    And mom comes in for a conference last year, and I about fell off my chair because her boobs were practically uncovered. And she didn’t care-didn’t give a damn what I had to say about her little girl who is struggling to read and just get by. She barely looked me in the eye and just wanted to sign the report card and leave. So incredibly sad…
    I really loved her girl and doted on her as much as one can who also has 20 other kids to care for. She still comes by every morning for a hug on her way to class. I hope she is one of the resilient children who make it in life, despite being behind in the game from the start. Hope, hope, hope…

  6. Ooi, the fact is that being infertile never leaves us – yes I believe we cross over to the other side but the unfairness of life sometimes hits us for a 6…
    Man alive – how does that seem fair when there are many of us who would “kill” to be there?

  7. Ohhhh how this post hits home. We struggled for 9 years to conceive. I can remember how seeing such a young preggers would be embedded in my brain for the rest of the month.
    I agree with a previous poster … don’t feel like you have get over it. It is what it is and we are who we are and we’re allowed to ‘feel’. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great blog! Thanks for stopping by mine on Friday when it was featured on SITS. I just got back in town and getting back to everyone’s neck of the blog world. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope to see you again.

  8. Hardwired…very accurate. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am beginning to realize that perhaps the experiences we’ve been through won’t leave us, and we’ll continue to feel the pangs and pains…just like the wound that may heal but occasionally flare up again.
    I’m glad I’m not alone though. ๐Ÿ™‚

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