I finally have the strength to post this. This is long but ooooooh so needed. ((I went back and read this….it gets angrier as I go…ha ha…)) It is my therapy….I am not losing it or having a breakdown…this post is actually the first step to me accepting it, recovering and moving on. I don’t need comments and I damn sure don’t need your pity.
I am childless (not childfree bc it wasn’t a choice). I was never able to have children. We tried for over thirteen years and it just didn’t work. But…I realized TODAY that many of my close friends and family don’t know about the struggle. They obviously know there are no kids around here but I have been so ashamed to talk about it that I’ve never brought it up or danced around it.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED/LEARNING:
- I’ve blamed myself for my inability to get pregnant. Did I do something wrong when I was younger? Am I being punished for something I did? What is wrong with me?
- There is a lot of shame associated with childlessness (this is the biggest revelation). If babies are a blessing (which they are) and I couldn’t have any….what does that mean? My mom has only one grandchild (we lost my nephew Tanner a few years ago) because I couldn’t give her any more. My brother will never be an uncle to my kids because I couldn’t have any.
- Holidays/events can be a freaking nightmare. For Christmas or birthdays, everyone else has a child sitting in their lap unwrapping presents. And I am getting snacks. Everyone else is fixing plates for their kids…and I am standing there, lone plate. Feeling like there is a spotlight on my obvious failure as a woman. Mother’s Day is getting better but I still refuse to go out of my house. Some waiter at a restaurant who was told to only give the flowers to mothers will dangle a flower until I answer “yes” or “no”. GIVE ME THE DAMN CARNATION and just don’t ask me.
- People make friends through their kids – school parents, Cub Scout parents, baseball parents. If I don’t have kids in those activities then I don’t have a relationship.
- Yes. I used to get upset/pissed when I would see a high school kid get pregnant. Again and again and again. I have the love, the financial means, the maturity and the desire for a child….but a kid in high school (who’s mom still has to wash her clothes) is chosen to have a baby. WTH.
- I don’t need your helpful suggestions or questions. “You need to try a different doctor” “My friend got pregnant using ABC medicine…try that”. “Are you doing it enough”? “You just need to relax” “You need to see this nun.” “Just when you stop trying it’ll happen” “You need to adopt” “Have you googled surrogacy?” “What is wrong with you?” “Why don’t you adopt an older child” “Why didn’t that medicine work?” “Are you going to try the procedure again?” “You just need to pray. God answers prayers” “Why can’t you get pregnant?” <== which by the way, I still don’t know…which makes the guilt and shame 100% harder because I can’t pinpoint a medical reason…so it is obviously ‘something I am being punished for’ kinda thing….
- Don’t tell me that I can have one of your kids or ask me if I “really want to give up your quiet life for THIS!?”. I’d like the middle child with the brown hair and green eyes. AWESOME. Tell him I’ll be by later to pick him up. And you are right. My life is quieter than yours. And I’d give up every piece of it to have a kid roaming around here.
- Group sessions/therapy – meh. I gathered up enough will to go to a session years ago. The person who was running it had recently “experienced the miracle” and pics of the baby were everywhere….as if that wasn’t enough, the formerly childless woman next to me wanted to come to group to tell us that her agony was over. She was pregnant. And……SCENE. I picked up my bat and ball and went home.
- Church is VERY hard. It should be a place for peace…but the place is full of families with children and a constant reminder of my failure. Parents are holding kids, sneaking them Cheerios while the priest isn’t looking, baptisms, families walking to communion together, etc. A few years ago I tried a new church and the mothers were asked to stand to be recognized for something. O.M.G. Can’t even get a break here…
- My family tree stops with me – Everyone else has branches underneath them. Nope. Not me. As generations look back I will be dropped off the trees because there are no children to trace to me. There will be no proof that I ever existed on this planet.
- Childlessness NEVER ends. As I move into each phase in my life it means I am learning a whole new set of experiences that didn’t expect. The younger ones are easier to identify….being pregnant, giving birth, raising a toddler, teaching a teenager to drive, etc. But back then I was so focused on missing out on those parts of life that I wasn’t thinking my future life. i.e. Being a grandma, etc.
Thank God for Erica and Brandt. They have been a huge portion of my life/my life for 20 years. I couldn’t ask for any better. NONE of this is meant to take away my strong relationship with them. They are my E-ness and my Dude. But at the end, I am not their mom. (They have an amazing one BTW). Now that I am getting older I worry about what will happen when I am 80. I know Craig talks to them about that fear…and I know that they will love me and take care of me until I die…and reassure me all the time 🙂 but it is still there. (Actually, if Craig dies first I want to move in with Donna (their mom). First, it would be logistically easier for the kids…but damn! We’d have a good time!
I’ve said “I” throughout this post. It has been a “we” journey with Craig. He has gone through this too…and been at my side the entire time. He has watched me cry, scream, threaten, breakdown in public, mourn, wail, retreat, bargain with God, yell at God, cry, cry and cry. I have loved him through this, hated him and everything in between. But when I’d open my eyes from my breakdown….he’d be right there. Every time.
*Phew*. So why this post now?? I am not sure. One evening a few weeks ago Craig watched me curl into a ball in my bathtub and wail. It was one of my lowest points. The next morning I received an email from him with a link to resources on “childlessness”. Huh? I had always searched for help on infertility but not this. I ordered a book (more on that later) that focuses on life after childlessness. And I feel like I am finally on a path toward peace.