You Did Everything Right

The Next Family

By: Carrie Friedman

You gave up all the things you’d heard can decrease your chances: sushi,
caffeine, glutens, dairy, alcohol, joy – and changed them out for all the things people told you could increase your chances: acupuncture, acupressure, ear candling, wheatgrass, colonics, standing on your head.

You made a point of drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, switching over from power yoga to gentler yoga.

You got tested for allergies, antigens, antibodies.

You took every pill and shot you were eventually told to take, at the time they told you to take them. You endured every side effect, even the ones that made you want to commit a homicide.

You did it all. You didn’t even ask questions. You wanted it that much.

And yet, you find yourself here at the end of every month, staring at one line in the window of a test. One lonely single line where there should be two.

You try to see hope in everything: the perfect rose that has somehow sprouted in your yard’s dead soil – the same soil the previous homeowner had said needed to be scooped out and replaced, could never sustain life. Then how could he explain this stunning, robust rose?

You’re not used to consistent failure. You grew up understanding that if you applied yourself and worked really hard, eventually you would see results. You’re all about persevering and facing challenges head-on. But this just seems like a cruel joke.

It’s been years now and it’s still not happening.

People tell you it’s a matter of luck, so you desperately try to work off any potential karmic debts: you hold the door for strangers at the coffee shop, you compliment photos of acquaintances’ babies on Facebook, you help an elderly man with his groceries, you donate to the Goodwill annually.

You did everything right. You followed all the rules. Yet all the monthly
disappointments have given you frown lines now. You think they make you look like a marionette doll. (They don’t.)

You’re reminded of your dilemma every time you water the rose growing in spite of the dead soil. The rose, which has now blossomed into a full-fledged rosebush.

As you face another month of this, you find yourself wishing for things you never would ordinarily: to gain lots of weight, to have nausea, to feel generally miserable –as these are signs it finally worked.

Meanwhile, everyone around you is expecting. Teen pregnancy is at an all-time high. Hell, there have been two pregnant MEN already. Your best friend cried when she found out she was pregnant after no months of trying because she knew telling you would kill you. And it did.

People ask you about it all the time. Some are being nosy, some are genuinely concerned, some are both. People tell you their own success or horror stories. They tell you to be patient. They tell you to give up. They tell you to believe that it will happen, that anything is possible. Sometimes you appreciate the advice. Other times you want to kick these people in the head. It’s hard to believe in something you’ve never experienced before. You technically have no reason to believe that this, or anything, is possible, that miracles can happen.

Every month there’s a little less hope, even though you try to pump yourself up, convince yourself that this will be it, this is the time.

You know you can’t predict or control the future (or even the present, at present).

But at the end of every month, you find enough faith to try it all again, and water your beautiful rose garden.


Carrie Friedman is the author of the book Pregnant Pause: My Journey Through Obnoxious Questions, Baby Lust, Meddling Relatives, and Pre-Partum Depression. She has been published in numerous anthologies and publications, including Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The Sun magazine. Her website is



[Photo Credit: slayerphoto]

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