Friday, August 7, 2009

Adventure Day 18 – A conversation on ‘The kid thing’ …

Yesterday I was privileged to meet with a new friend I have gotten to know through this blog – we had lunch a week or so ago with a mutual friend and through that decided to do ‘coffee’ together this week. We met at Tim’s around noon and didn’t leave for nearly three hours! Needless to say we found a lot to talk about and were able to share many similar experiences we’ve had in one subject in particular. What’s that you ask? What I affectionately refer to as ‘The kid thing’.

In my second or third post I did describe in a little bit of detail mine and Wally’s experiences regarding ‘The kid thing’. If I knew how to link I would do that, but since I still have to learn I’ll put you on a scavenger hunt and hint that it’s one of the two I mentioned.

‘The kid thing’… from talking with my new friend yesterday (as well as the couple from the other night) I’ve learned that childless couples have a few things in common:
1) People pester, pester, pester you about ‘the kid thing’ even if you have already hinted HEAVILY that you are doing your part
2) If you haven’t hinted heavily expect the pestering to be 10 times worse
3) You can come out and say clearly that you do indeed want to have children but it just doesn’t seem to be happening and you are ‘ok’ and they think you are being selfish for choosing to enjoy the time you have together rather than pine endlessly for what others have
4) The only people that really seem to get compassion (and I’m not saying pity, because I don’t want pity, but compassion would be nice), are the ones that have gone through every test under heaven, chosen to do so and are absolutely visibly, emotionally, mentally distraught over it, and are drawn to others who are these things.
5) People expect that if you can’t have kids, and do love them, that you should automatically go out and start the fertility OR adoption process to resolve the ‘situation’
6) People often think that if you work through your pain over the issue at hand you obviously didn’t want children that bad and aren’t that heart broken so you don’t need their understanding or encouragement about it. (For the record – it’s always nice to be understood and encouraged)

Now I know there are a few other things I’ve noticed too, but those are the main few that I’ve noticed recently (as well as from others Wally and I have talked to).

I am by no means here to bash couples that have chosen to do fertility treatments, go through adoption (which is where my heart has always been very deeply pulled towards), or that have shared their grief that in turn has truly helped people in this situation. What I want to do though, is try and give those of us in the childlessness position (who did or do want children) permission to feel free to finish grieving over this issue and move on to other great possibilities that life has to offer.

As my new friend and I spoke yesterday about this very present issue in both of our lives she said one thing that struck me. She said ‘You are the first person whom I’ve ever talked to about this issue that is ok’ (with not having kids). (Now, I know she’s reading so though this is quoted it is my very liberal gist of what she was saying – hopefully she’ll correct me if I’m wrong). Knowing some of the blogs she has read, some of the people she’s identified with who have dealt with this, I knew what she meant but I was still shocked!! I have not encountered anyone else (until recently) either who has ever become ‘ok’ with out being able to have their children after building their lives around them. (When I told Wally last night of my new friend’s reaction he reminded me that it took me a few years to work through that disappointment and pain, it didn’t happen over night).

It’s easy for others to look at our lives now and think that we just didn’t want children enough. I’ll tell you how much I wanted them: enough to buy a house that would be perfect for our 4 children, at the perfect time to prepare for them, to pick out a dining room table (that was a wedding gift) that would fit 4 children around it, enough to keep 3 single beds and an extra double bed for when they ‘came along’, enough for us to buy the right amount of life insurance at the right time to provide for them, enough to stick with a job long enough just to get maternity leave (that would happen ‘any day now’), enough to stop dreaming of other possibilities because soon we would have our dream family - soon.

8 ½ years later I am no longer waiting, instead I have discovered the greatest secret known to man. If you are not content within yourself with your life right now, you never will be. No husband (for the singles out there pursuing with just as great of intensity for a mate), no amount of children, no house, no job, no anything will give you the contentment you are yearning for if you are not able to find that peace and joy where you are, with who you are. That’s a big secret that no one seems to know about. Does that mean we cannot find a sort of fulfillment by finding these things? I’m not saying that at all – all of these things add a new dimension to our lives in different ways, but what I am saying is that you cannot think that by not having these things you will be any less happy and joyful than someone who does. This principle applies to everything – in my opinion.

Many people will argue that I shouldn’t compare children to houses – and in some ways I shouldn’t, but here’s the parallel: if you are pining so very deeply over a something you do not have and this goes on for a significant amount of time and your life is solely based around this possibility, that may never be, you are losing life, you are losing time, you are wasting a gift you have been given to live. We all do it to an extent, so by no means am I any different or more perfect in my reaction – this simply isn’t true. I just want to share my experience of a realization of the fact that we aren’t here on this earth to pursue the things we desire – even if those things are godly, wonderful, amazing miracles. We are here to grow, learn, LOVE, and live a life glorifying to God, to enjoy the moments we are given.

I’m not sure how exactly we are to do this. For me I had to go through a grieving process. More for the life I thought would be than a child that wasn’t. I have no idea right now whether Wally and I will ever be parents in whatever capacity and to be honest in this moment I’m not too worried about it. I do say to him sometimes that ‘I wish we just knew what to do next and when’ (in regards to adoption and such). It would be so much easier if we did have that ‘sneak peak’ but then again how fun would that be? Instead, for now we are going to focus on enjoying every minute of where we are at, the friends that we have, the people that we’ve been able to ‘connect’ with through this experience and most of all … enjoy our sleep!

I don’t believe there is any other experience like being a parent. I do believe it is something God intended everyone to go through … originally. However we live in a fallen world of imperfections and disappointments, where the ideal is less than prevalent, where our hearts get broken and then seemingly trampled on at times. But one thing I’ve learned through difficult times in my life is that God is for real and truly will take the dreams you had and (IF you let Him) will reveal to you dreams you didn’t know you had and give you greater joy and fulfillment than you ever thought possible.

So, if you are one of those women (or couples) that are not sure how to respond to your childlessness – with grief or with joy. I say grieve the loss of that dream, let God heal your heart, ignore stupid people (they are everywhere), allow yourself to skip that Mother’s Day service if it pains too much but if you think you can stand it and you are ready to heal I dare you to go and feel a secret joy of knowing that God has something very different and very special just for you!

You don’t need anyone’s permission to feel joy – that’s what God’s wants and when you feel a pang of sadness once in a while, which will happen when you see that perfect little life someone else is holding in their arms – remember that God feels your heart aches and is holding you always.

In the mean time …

Bask in your glorious uninterrupted sleep patterns!


Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say.

I read your post a few hours ago, and I laughed and cried several times as I read it. Then I got my husband to read it, and I cried again (I don't think he did, but he said you're a good writer:)

Thanks for pointing out that it's not that we want kids any less. I know what you mean about basing every decision on "WHEN" we have kids, and the sadness we feel when it becomes "IF" we have kids, although so many decisions are still based on that "IF".

Thanks for pointing out that it's okay to be happy without kids. I don't want to be just okay, I want to be radiantly, exuberantly, ecstatically happy, without or without kids. I don't want to spend my time waiting for something that may never happen. Sometimes I feel like I'm not allowed to be happy, and that others will judge me if I am, but I WANT to be.

The paragraph about daring to be happy (on Mother's Day) and KNOWING that God has something else for me (not better for everyone else, but better for me) really touched me. I've reread this post at least 5 times, and know I will many more times.

Your understanding and encouragement, your thoughts and words have been a blessing to me.

Thanks you my friend,


PS- Your quote of me was pretty accurate, although I'm sure I sounded much more eloquent and intelligent in real life ;)

Anonymous said...

So glad the two of you had such a good time - what a blessing to have someone who is "walking the same road" - you both rock!! =)

Eva said...


I'm honoured to speak words that are heard (or read)