I want to write about something intensely personal. (And isn’t the interwebs the perfect place to do that? Haha, not.) I struggled within for quite some time considering the wisdom of this post until I realized: there may be others who may be feeling this way and they may be searching for others.
I want to write on behalf of those who struggle with conceiving children. Oh yes, I know, there are so many words that have been written on this topic. However, I also know – deeply know – how much inspiration can be found in someone else’s courage in trying to stammer out how they’re feeling and how they’ve eeked a resolution out of what they’re facing. In other words, I’ve found comfort in what others have said and hope to be a comfort to others in return.
It’s not that we, my husband and I, cannot conceive. It’s that my body doesn’t know what to do with the state of being pregnant. So, my body chooses to release (which is a polite way of saying: annihilate) any pregnancy or anything that looks like a pregnancy. It’s a tricky thing to determine, medically, and the causes are not always known. There are a lot of other ‘fun’ little symptoms and states that go with this condition, but I won’t get into those here. Suffice to say: it’s a challenge.
Babies, babies, everywhere… it seems my world is filled with wee ones right now. I know so many who have small humans in their lives and homes. They complain about the results of the presence of a child, yes, but for the most part, they rejoice and love and give their all. I respect and admire all my dearests in their parental pursuits – those who have wee ones and those who are growing them as we speak. All friends, wee and grown, are a delight to me. And all examples of love fill me with a great contentment that the world is not going awry as some may persist in proclaiming. I will admit to pangs of jealousy and sadness as I see and hold and interact with these tiny miracles. But there is another feeling there – one that eats at me and my peace and my feelings of contented observance.
This feeling is: relief.
And then a whole bunch of guilt and shame.
You see, as someone who is “trying” to have children, relief at not having children or even self-doubt over my future abilities as a mother aren’t an option. One who is trying to have children must be absolutely certain that they are cut out for parenthood and absolutely, resolutely certain that they want wee ones about. One who is trying for a family must not ever reflect on the means and ways in which childlessness may be a blessing. One who deeply wants children must not ever acknowledge the reality that they, too, struggle with the same doubts that other, more capable “family builders” also have.
I have been told by well-meaning folk that this whole “baby thing” is in my head, or it’s about whether or not I really want a child, or it’s just “not the right time”. Worse, I sometimes hear “Well, you clearly haven’t made time in your life for a baby.” I choose to hear their intentions. The words they mean to use are actually: “Of course you doubt, and of course you grieve. This is an odd experience and you never planned it this way. You never thought it would be you going through this. And you’re handling it in the way that’s appropriate for you – well done.”
I know the Moms in my sphere are continually questioning and asking and wondering if having children is the right course, was the right course, or will be the right course. They question themselves and their abilities. They question how their children will turn out. And so, I have realized, my unrealistic expectation that I should be constantly and freakishly sure of my desire for and ability to raise children is absurd. It’s OK to have moments of “Are we sure we want this?” or even “Phew, glad we won’t have to deal with diapers for a little while…” That, in fact, the doubts that plague those who have babies will also plague those of us who do not or cannot… And to go a step further – those who choose to not have babies at this time or ever.
So, I look at the beautiful photos and read the funny stories and watch and hug the wee ones in my life and I feel what I feel – sad, jealous, happy, relieved, hopeful… and I think “For whatever reason, not right now.” And then I hope and despair and rejoice. And the cheesiest part of me starts to hum a song I know all too well. And I hear the lyrics and take yet another deep breath. And the lyrics are:
Let it be.