Saturday I was shopping at Pottery Barn. As the cashier rang up my overpriced candles a young girl came to the counter, gift card in hand. She asked the cashier, "Can you see if there is a balance on this? I got it for my wedding and I can't remember if I spent it." The cashier checked and told her that she had $100 balance. "Can you use this card at Pottery Barn Kids too? It doesn't expire, right?" she asked. The cashier affirmed that she could and it wouldn't.
At this point the young girl turned to her friend and said, "I think I'll just wait and use this when I get pregnant."
I bristled inside. "When I get pregnant.... When I get pregnant... When I get pregnant..." The words rang in my ears all day. Part of me wanted to tell her, "Yeah right. It might not be that easy." But another part of me realized that for her it probably would be that easy. "When I get pregnant" is the world that most people live in. Most people can save their Pottery Barn gift cards received as wedding gifts and use them at Pottery Barn Kids a few years later.
I remember living in the world of "when". In that world I saved money for nursery furniture. In that world I prepared monthly budgets that included daycare, diapers, and formula. In that world I picked out baby names and worried about how I would feel when Tony was home with the baby on summer break while I went to work. I clung to "when" for a long time. Even after starting IVF I still spoke in "when" terms as if the force of my will could get me pregnant.
Eventually "when" slipped away and became "if". I couldn't plan a vacation that I might not enjoy if I got pregnant. I couldn't buy adult furniture for the "nursery" because where would I put it if I got pregnant? Changing from "when" to "if" was incredibly painful. Hope was slipping away.
Thinking of this yesterday made me wonder where I am today. I am a long way from "when" obviously. If "when" were a location on Earth it would be midnight there when it is noon here. But I also realized that I am moving away from "if" as well. I don't plan for "if I get pregnant" anymore. This is a good thing. I'm living my life. This is also a sad thing.
And I'm not quite sure what it means.