Dayna Winter
Feb 15, 2017 · 5 min read
Baby me, 1979

My ship is sailing.

On that ship is my impending motherhood, my would-be fetuses, my last remaining baby-making and baby-having faculties. I’m standing on the pier now, and I am watching it go. Calmly. When it succumbs to rough water, I will not go down with the ship.

It seems only fitting to wrap up the saga that is my fertility journey with this final post. It makes for an epic trilogy. A nautical disaster trilogy, I guess, because I’m apparently sticking with that metaphor. I’ve had too much wine.

This one has closure but not an ending. I hope you like cliffhangers! And I hope that if you make a film about my life, it will co-star a circa-1996 Keanu Reeves and that you will let Mark Wahlberg down easy.

I am writing this post for another reason, though.

I’m writing it for you: you who found yourself here after Googling the girl you met at that party of that mutual friend last night, or the girl you’ve been text-storming after matching on Bumble. You, charmed by my witty repartee, are here because you’re doing your due-diligence. Fact-checking. It’s cool — I am Googling you, too.

So you found the candid retelling of my fertility and miscarriage misadventures? I know, I know, you’re spooked by courting a girl who has only recently recovered from baby fever. You’re worried that maybe I haven’t.

Let me put your mind at ease: Do I have hidden motives? No. Am I sizing you up for baby-daddy worthiness? I am not.

I won’t do that again.

There’s an amazing (and handy) connection between your brain and your body. A safeguard. Like that little plastic childproof latch that separates babies from poisons. If you can ignore your emotions and brain signals, say in the case of staying in a bad relationship, your body kicks in with back up.

“Girl, looks like you’re not gonna listen to reason.”

Then, bam, chronic migraines.

In my case, repressed feelings of doubt and anxiety and emotional pain manifested as gastrointestinal warfare (don’t worry, I have a TMI draft on this subject in the wings, poop emojis galore). And, so I’d like to believe, my body—or the universe, if that sits better with you—intervened, blocking my eggs in protest.

(I realize that PCOS is a more scientifically sound reason for my pregnancy drought. But still: isn’t it just too convenient?)

I left my partner last year, my partner of more than two years with whom I had spent the bulk of that time in “trying” phase. Before I could leave, and make a move that seemed so obvious to my practical brain — the side that weighs pros and cons, the side that protects my physical and emotional well-being—I needed to let go of this one little thing: the obsessive pursuit of motherhood.

It was a force that made me stay in a toxic relationship too long. It was a desire that trumped my own need to be safe and healthy. Motherhood became more important to me than, well, me. Is that the message I wanted to send to my would-be daughter/future Prime Minister? It wasn’t.

I am single again, almost 9 months in, “it’s complicated” period notwithstanding. I’m pretty happy with it, actually.

We decided that dying alone was preferable to Tinder

OK, so I’m in an infinite loop of installing Tinder, then deleting it “forever”, then installing it again. There are the occasional bouts of loneliness and the impending dying-alone-with-cats dread, but putting those feelings to rest relies on letting go. And if this was a death, I’d be in the acceptance phase of grief now.

Before I’ve fully nestled into blissful spinsterdom, though, filling a baby-sized hole with an 10-year-old terrier, I have one unfinished piece of business:

*ahem* Goodbye for now, uterus.

You, my reproductive system, have sadly passed at the age of 37. You have shed roughly 300 uterine linings, 300 biological disappointments. In the past two years, I gave you over to science and a parade of faceless white coats poking, prodding, penetrating, stabbing, and drugging you into submission. And I am sorry. You fought a good fight. You will be missed.

*plays slideshow of empty ultrasounds*

So, how did I get here?

Simple: I put faith in my capacity for love. I fall in love really, really easily. Like stupid easy. On a second date, maybe even a first. I’ve instantly loved strangers’ dogs, my friends’ children, animals at a petting zoo, a photo of a baby, a really excellent bottle of hot sauce (marry me, habanero). I’ve done it easily, many times.

I’ve had a conscious shift in thinking, and I’m the proud owner of a new less defined vision for my future as a mother: I don’t need to be biologically tied to a child to be capable of loving it. I don’t need to physically push a human out of my vagina.

Though for some masochistic/primal reason I wanted that version badly, I know now that I don’t need it. There are so many other versions of motherhood that don’t involve annihiliating my body, or reliving fertility hell. And those versions don’t have expiry dates. Or blood.

(Aside: I am not diminishing the struggle that is the adoption process, or any other “alternative” means of procuring a baby. It’s hard. All of it is hard. It has to be, because parenthood is really fucking hard, and you need a primer.)

Maybe it’s too soon. Maybe I’m delivering this eulogy at the side of a hospital bed. Maybe my uterus will rally, grab my hand and squeeze, see the light and turn back, and go on to have another few good years. Maybe we will all be pleasantly surprised.

But maybes are getting in my way. Maybes lead to poor life choices.

(I would like to flex my writer muscle right now and somehow circle back to that nautical metaphor, tie it up real nice, but can we not?)

To my many hypothetical suitors, to those who passed the squeamish test and made it to the end of this post: we can just date, OK? And I will take The Pill religiously and we can see where it goes.

To my fellow single women of advancing age: Tinder/the world brands us as baby-fevered. Sorry. It might be harder for us out there, but don’t let the struggle make you settle. Put you first, not your fertility.

And, girl, don’t try to make a baby with a dickhead—a turkey baster makes a much better father.

Ask Me About My Uterus

Essays, interviews, and research about reproduction health, menstruation, endometriosis, PCOS, PMDD, menopause, miscarriage, identity, infertility and more.

Dayna Winter

Written by

Writer, spinster, dog mom. @Shopify bankrolls my burrito habit. “I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel.”

Ask Me About My Uterus

Essays, interviews, and research about reproduction health, menstruation, endometriosis, PCOS, PMDD, menopause, miscarriage, identity, infertility and more.

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