Friday, May 9, 2014

Pregnant Pauses #2: Manicure Tips

Infertility offers unique struggles to all who endure it. Pregnant Pauses is a series of posts to help parents-in-waiting find comfort and hope in knowing others understand and endure, too.

The pregnancy test was negative. Again.  So I wiped away the tears and forced myself to apply lipstick and mascara.  The tune to “I am Woman” played in my head as I decided to reward myself for simply being a girl—no matter what my inability to conceive might communicate.  And what could be more of a feminine affirmation than getting a pedicure?
After years of having my life scheduled and charted for doctors’ perusal, I felt like a diva strolling to a salon without an appointment.  I walked into the shop to see rows of people in massage chairs.  Beautiful women with sleek hair and Asian eyes lounged beneath hazy lights, waiting for customers.
A lady approached me with unfettered friendliness. “Hi, I’m Kayla.”  She looked down at the vibrant polish in my hand. “Oh, you pick good culah.”  She escorted me to a chair where my back was massaged and my feet rested in warm, swirling pools of comfort. 
Relaxation started to close my eyes, but Kayla jarred me into reality. “Where you from? I from Tennessee.”
I raised an eyebrow.  “Really?”
She nodded so enthusiastically I worried she might get whiplash. “My whooooole life.”
“Um, yeah, I could tell the accent wasn’t from around here.”          
She smiled. “I from Nabil.”
“Naaabville.” And she mimed playing a guitar.
“Oh! Nashville,” I said, relieved she liked charades.
I nestled into my chair. The massage, the pedicure, the cheer was not so bad. The indulgence distracted me from that aching, hollow sensation trying to take hold of my being.
Then Kayla abruptly changed to an inevitable subject. “You got kids?”      
“No.” I swallowed hard, the tune of “I am woman” still playing in my head. “Not yet.”
She paused in her work.  “Why not you got kids?”
My mind screamed, “Because I’m barren and not a real woman!” Instead, I said, “It just hasn’t happened yet.”
When she looked up, my stomach tightened as it does when I sense someone’s pity.  I tried to sit a little taller so that she wouldn’t sense my depression. I shrugged and attempted what I hoped was a Hey-what-can-you-do? sort of grin.
Kayla nodded. “I got baby 6 weeks old. His daddy not lub him.” She squished her face and bounced her head from side to side.  “He cry. I think ‘cause he know.” She placed a fingernail file to her forehead and nods. “He know his daddy don’t lub him.” She shrugged. “I not want him at first eeder. I want ‘bortion. But I lub him now. It okay.”
My horror must have shown because she quickly patted my hand.  “You get baby.”  Her eyes lit up. “You try tricks?  There lots of tricks.”
“We’ve tried more tricks than the Kama Sutra. We even added a few doctors and a lot of money just for kicks.”
Her eyes widened. “You try tricks then.  Maybe it happen when you not expect it.”
She gathered her things and pointed to the massage chair.  “You no worry. Stay long as you like. No one bodder you here.”
Outside the window, a little girl with baby doll curls and chubby cheeks wailed, impressing me with her volume until it became annoying.  Her mother, looking miserable, alternately placated and scolded the child.  Gazing through the window was as close as the mom was getting to pampering any time soon.
Sighing, I clicked my chair remote for another session of massage and settled in. 

Mother's Day is a difficult time for infertile couples. This weekend, celebrate the beautiful gift of motherhood. However, please do not put someone on the spot and ask when she will be a mom or have another child.  She may be wondering the same thing.