Columns Archive, Promises for You

3 Weeks and 2 Days Late

I’d like to say, “Good Morning,”
but is it good?
It came.
Crept in, burst through in the obscurity of night.
A red, heavy, forceful rupture.

1 week: inconsequential.
2 weeks: a spark of maybe, hushed tones of probably not, but fingers crossed.
3 weeks: the joy of what if seeping in. Imagining your hands caressing a growing belly, the way you’ll tell your son, your husband.
3 weeks and 1 day: a smile, guard coming down, believing maybe. Maybe, it really did happen.
3 weeks and 2 days: a rupture.

How does one explain an experience both sanguine and dubious?
Every month, every week, 
listening for clues, hints, inklings, gut checks.
Any implication the body may deliver—
sore breasts, backaches, headaches, a heightened sense of smell.
Is that nausea, fatigue— what does it mean? 
Even spotting keeps reality at bay. 
What color is it, could it be implantation—who am I kidding?
Body remind me,
what gave you away 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
9 years ago now when I first knew it was more than just me that grew?

How does one explain the barrage of so much well-intentioned advice?
Usually starts with sex.
Have lots,
or have it in certain time slots.
What about
herbal medicine,
did you drink the teas?
Have you tried Clomid or Letrozole?
If you stop trying it will just happen.
Don’t stop trying. A friend of a friend said this doctor is the best.
2nd opinion, then a 3rd and a 4th.
Legs in so many stirrups,
Track days, temperature, food—
are you wearing socks on your feet?
More romance less science, more science less romance.
If it is in God’s will.
Have you thought about adoption?

How does one explain the absence of clarity?
Is it him, the cancer,
Mysterious piece of my womanhood
The name is even without fanfare simply,
secondary infertility and
we don’t exactly know why, but
have you both been tested?

How does one explain the unseen,
the unheard, but never unrelenting?
Pain that reminds,
that questions,
that throbs through
your knees to your fingertips, in the edges of your eyes, and meets the depths of your soul.
Pain that reverberates 
in the mundane,
in the hair brushing, dinner making, bedtime snuggling, laundry folding,
in the walking, the eating, the driving, the coffee pouring, the breathing.
Pain that accuses
at every rounded bump you spot,
at every pink and blue announcement,
at the showers, the sprinkles, the gender reveals, the meal train emails.
Pain that exposes 
the missing,
the knowing,
no, the feeling of

How does one explain the duality of being?
The desire to forgo, to reject all hope.
Let me live on an island of apathy and I don’t care.
Let me inhabit a place of knowing, not anticipating.
Let me hide in my barren cave.
Let me reside indifferent, emptied, accepting what will never be.
And yet, no matter how loud I scream or how hard I push,

How does one explain this bittersweet dance?
The difference a day makes,
a morning not good.
3 weeks and 2 days arrive.

How does one explain grieving without ceremony?
The death of
a world,
a wish,
a dream
and birthing hope for another.

Promises for You is a column that gives voice and space to those who have experienced infertility, miscarriage, and child loss at any age. We need open conversations on a continuous basis to dispel shame, give room to grief, and nurture understanding.

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Filed under: Columns Archive, Promises for You


Elizabeth Quintal is a writer and creative from Houston, Texas. A Mexican-American Latina creating, writing, and living in Spain. She’s the co-founder of a web design & visual creative agency based in Madrid. She believes deeply in the power of storytelling, and capturing the magic in the every day. Not afraid to shy away from the messy, the complicated, or dreaming big she uses the lens and the pen to tell her story. She has been published in Luna Magazine, Alegria Magazine Latinx Poetry Project, and exhibited at the Border In Crisis Art Exhibit.