FOUR years ago this month, I threw away my birth control pills for good. Why not? I was nine months from graduation at Long Beach State and I wanted nothing more than to receive my degree in psychology moments before I stepped into the world of motherhood.
It was all planned perfectly. I would have my degree, my sign to the world that I accomplished something great for myself, and then become a mother, my sign to myself that I hadn’t forgotten the true measure of my creation.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was embarking on another kind of education… a second Bachelor’s of sorts. Unlike my psychology degree, this course of study would test me physically, emotionally, and spiritually in a way public education never could.
There were many things to learn and skills to acquire. Some of my minor degrees have been:
Anatomy (I could map the human reproductive system blindfolded)
Pharmacology (expert on Clomid vs. Gonal-f)
Human relations (inventive answers to the unintentionally insensitive questions I’m asked)
Performing arts (acting like the aforementioned questions don’t bother me)
Accounting (creative ways to scrape together fertility treatment money)
Psychology (talking myself into functioning normally when all I want to do is climb in to bed, pull the covers over my head, and disappear)
I have also worked to improve my patience, optimism, hopefulness, and compassion. I haven’t always received an “A” in these subjects, but I continue to try.
It’s been a struggle. Sometimes I would be flooded with understanding and confidence and other times I would feel like a shell of a person, completely empty inside. One minute I would feel a great appreciation for my many blessings and the next minute, for the first time in my life, I would be angry at God.
So, I have my Bachelor’s Degree, now what? Well, my education is not over. The question is where will it lead me from here? Is it time to specialize in aggressive reproductive technologies? At which point do I cut my losses, switch majors, and study adoption? When do I give up the dream of wearing my own version of the cap and gown: cruising through the baby department rather than avoiding it, picking out nursery colors, fantasizing about holding little “Jack” or “Katelyn”?
My feelings are much different now than when I obtained my psychology degree. There is not as much pride or sense of accomplishment with this milestone. Mostly, it’s just sadness. Sadness for myself, sadness for time lost, just sadness. But, even so, it is a milestone in this journey we call life and as such, I feel it deserves acknowledgement, as painful as that may be.