Belated Day 16
Be forewarned, this is rather long, and not really at all uplifting! But the topic is “something difficult about your lot in life, and how you’re working to overcome it.”
This post has been in draft status for quite some time. Partly because I waiver about how much I want to put in writing out there on the internet, and partly because it is so difficult to accurately articulate how I feel.
A while back, I took the plunge, and posted something on FB about being Childless Not By Choice. It was hard to do, and I was uncertain what the response would be. I’m glad that I did it, as I received thoughtful and caring responses. Some of them totally resonated with me, others not so much. One concept that I don’t really buy into is the idea that this is how it was “meant to be”. or that “things happen or don’t happen for a reason.” Even in my staunch born again Christian days, I never felt that God caused bad things to happen to people so that people could learn things, or so that others could come to know God through the experiences of the “recipient” of aforementioned bad things. Rather I believed that the bad things happen due to the original “fall from Grace” and that God can use these things in our lives to teach us things, to strengthen us etc.
Now I tend to be more Buddhist in my view of things, believing that there is suffering in the world, as that is the way the world is. I can learn from things that come my way, and I can work to alleviate the suffering of other beings.
That being said, some of the things that people posted in response to my status made me feel like I have managed to utilize my energies and skills in ways that have benefited others. I do think that I have developed my gifts and talents more deeply than I would have if I had been able to have children. Although I am far from happy with the fact that I never had any children of my own, the experience has shaped me into the person I am today, and perhaps I have strengths that I might not have had if my life had taken a different path.
I also know that I do not have a bad life, I actually am very lucky, and have a good life. But it does not change the fact that I grieve every day for the children that I thought I would have. Ever since I can remember I had no doubt that I was going to have children, possibly lots, and probably some adopted. So I struggle with that, and how it has changed who I am, and how I perceive things. Years ago I would have described myself as a happy and optimistic person. Now I feel differently. I know that for the most part I still appear the same, as I think my behavior is such a part of my personality. But I feel sadness every day now, some days more pervasive than others.
Mother’s Day was this past weekend. That day is hands down the worst day of the year. Loribeth calls it Voldemort Day. Voldemort Day = The Day That Shall Not Be Named. That is EXACTLY how I feel about it!! I love my mother dearly, so I call her, text her a photo, and give her a gift. But other than that I prefer to forget it even exists. I stayed away from Facebook most of the day, but I did make the mistake of getting on and seeing someone post about her two children: “Without them I am nothing.” It just made me furious to read that. I know it is not directed at me, and if asked I am assuming that she would not say that women without children are nothing. But things like that, and the total obsession of our society with baby bumps and motherhood gives me twinges of pain most days.
I struggle with the fact that as much as I would like to go back and change the past, I can’t, so I am trying to find ways to rejoice in the life I have, and even to do things that I would not have been able to do if I had children. I participated in an online support group “class” to help find ways to mourn and move forward. I want to have some of the secondary gains (secondary gain: noun (Psychiatry)- any advantage, or release from unpleasant responsibilities, obtained as a result of having an illness) since I have to deal with the harsh fact of being childless not by choice. So early retirement and travel are at the top of my list!!