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By Kaira Boston
At the playground watching my daughter, Delaney, run from the slide to the swings a fellow parent popped the question, “when are you going to give Delaney a sibling?”
I would politely say “we’re trying” and move on to another topic because no one wants to know the truth.
So, I don’t give them the gory details.
I don’t tell them about the two miscarriages I had before Delaney was born.
I don’t tell them that I only have a 25 percent chance of having a viable pregnancy. You see, I have a chromosome issue that is undetectable when just looking at me. But when tested it revealed itself as an issue that may be blocking a viable pregnancy. Balanced translocation is the name of the chromosome issue. which means two pairs of chromosomes are mismatched. My seven and 10 swapped partners just like you might do when you have two mismatched socks.
I don’t tell them my dream is to be a mother of three and because my body won’t get on board, I feel broken, like damaged goods.
I’m a woman. Isn’t it my job to reproduce and populate the earth?
Though the odds were stacked against us, my husband and I kept trying and trying.
As the miscarriages mounted (I was on number five post successful birth, so seven in total), I examined what else I could possibly do and what I would do to make this dream of a family of five a reality while the cycle of pregnant/not pregnant was taking its emotional toll. Not only was I trying to fulfill my dream but also the societal norm of having at least two children.
Thankfully the insurance we had at the time provided the option of in vitro fertilization. That was its own hero’s journey. Getting my husband on board with his part, even more blood draws, the shots, the egg retrieval, and transportation to the different clinics based on the day because this process is very time sensitive. I would get in the car and speak to my little one that I was making every effort to bring into this world to let them know how many miles I had traveled for them, that’s how much I loved them already.
There are journeys we prepare for and do all the things we should do and still come up short. The in vitro fertilization produced six embryos—unfortunately none viable with life. I had beaten the odds with my healthy daughter, and it was time to accept that a single child family was our truth.
Though I felt I had done as much as I could, outsiders still had their opinions and advice that we should be more than our family of three.
Eventually, I realized I needed to drown them out with my own voice. Not the voice of the inner critic who told me I had failed as a woman, but my true voice. The one who encouraged me to heal my mental illness, run a marathon, earn my master’s degree, begin an art business, and work abroad as a woman in technology.
With that voice, I began to share my story with other women battling infertility.
While society, especially that of the South, expects women to reproduce and tends to think it’s as easy as getting married and having 2.3 children, that was not my experience. The pressure to produce those 2.3 children and feeling alone in doing so— combined with not being able to talk about it— took just as much toll as the multiple miscarriages and unsuccessful in vitro fertilization cycle.
Only once I started answering ‘When are you going to give Delaney a sibling?’ with the truth of what happened did the healing process begin. I finally started to believe what my doctor told me. I did nothing wrong; nothing is wrong with me; and the process of conceiving is not promised or easy. Sharing with other women also helped my healing and allowed them to see they were not alone as they traveled their path to motherhood.
A Virginia-based program manager by day and a creative at all other times, Kaira Boston turns to mixed media painting and writing to process life. Through her Creative Self-Discovery program, she helps others define and live their life from the inside out. Learn more about Kaira at studiokaira.com.