madeline ~ it sounds really, really tough. i geniunely, down deep hope hope hope for you, that if the flame doesn't get put out you do find peace. like, "hey there's the flame of baby-wishing and child-hope. hello, flame. goodbye, flame. see you next month." you are totally not alone. there are tons of us out there. thousands and thousands and thousands.
i don't know how to extinguish hope any more than you do.all i know is how to find *other* hopes in addition to that flame. if i wrapped up 100% of everything in that flame -- and for a while, i very nearly did -- i would have to kill myself. there's much more to life than that one flame and that one piece of emptiness. there has to be. otherwise why would we be alive? HOW would we still be alive? we must be finding meaning in other ways...
the feeling of the dream slowly dying. ... i still have that, too, even though i have decided, in the wake of medical and husband issues, not to allow myself that dream. it still creeps up on me. but it scares me that women often, by their own admission, have babies because, as you put it, what they really crave is "a real, close and nurturing relationship with another." this may sound harsh, but i've seen moms whose only connection to life was their children. and that is not fair to children. in therapy as an adult, i learned lots of stuff about how moms who rely on their children to fill that emotional gap in their lives often raise kids with boundary issues. kids like me. it's too much for a child to shoulder.
we live in a time when if we are brave and determined, many of us can use resources, go to therapy, find out why we are unable to form close bonds with others. do the nasty hard work of dealing with our own childhood issues, learning to communicate better with our partners, being active in jobs, communities, volunteer work (yeah, not necessarily working with children, but doing something to feel like you might be making the world a slightly more tolerable place). trying medications that help balance problems in our bodies and minds. depression actually changes how our brains work: that is not our fault, and if taking an antidepressant helps recalibrate those chemicals in our brains, why not? what do we have to lose besides emptiness and hopelessness?
for me, it's creative work & workshops & the incredibly close friendships i am lucky to have. that's where meaning ends up lying. that and nature. and cats! i may become a certifiably nutty Cat Lady, but i won't ask an infant to fix my impressive array of psychological problems... for you it might be bonding with people at your church, and loving your dog.
sometimes i'm empty and grieving for a long time. the grief is not *me*, though. it's just something i *experience.* after the grief, i have to fill the emptiness myself, with healthy relationships and interests. that can't be my baby's responsibility... even a nonexistent baby.
OK, i'll stop ranting now. i hope the healing comes for you. for all of us.