Daphne Macklin
2 min readDec 18, 2016

This is what it is to be without hope.

It goes like this: after two surgeries and numerous other expensive, invasive, and vaguely humiliating medical procedures your doctor says it is highly unlikely that you will ever become pregnant.

You have been gut shot.

As a woman in this culture, where the term “mom” confers nobility and dignity, gravitas really, it doesn’t matter that you are a graduate of world renown institutions of higher learning, that you were identified as one of the most promising children of your generation, that your friends and family love you. What matters is that the fates, and most particularly the god biology, have dealt you a bad hand — one of the worst really.

This is not the hand that was dealt a pain-pill addicted waitress with a bad back and six kids; the pretty but plainly developmentally disabled girl whose parents have spent her life desperately presenting her as normal; or even the articulate self-aware schizophrenic. All of these women are biological mothers, multiple times actually. And I couldn’t have even one?

It is real easy to go very fast to a pretty bleak, ugly, angry, make that rageful, place upon learning that medically you are infertile. In two words ‘biologically useless’. Sure there are options, but you do not want or need to hear them. You are without hope.

I am not going any further down this road. I do hope that you, the reader, have had a chance to look through the slightly open door into bleakness, despair, sorrow that are the companions to hopelessness. I regret that some of you may have found yourselves unexpectedly thrown back into that space that you know from personal experience. It is possible to make your way back out of that room. But some part of you never ever leaves.

Being without hope is a deeply personal thing. Not being able to understand is not a license to rant hysterically against the person who has expressed this statement. Frankly it is a call to compassion, because the only thing that will move anyone from hopelessness is compassion for self and for others. Unfortunately compassion isn’t much of a political value these days. But then that’s something that can be changed.