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Friday, September 30, 2011

All the missing pieces

Morning sickness.
Pregnancy tests.
Cravings.
Growing belly.
Sonograms.
Contractions.
First breath.
Midnight feedings.
Dirty diapers.
First steps.
First haircut.
Loosing teeth.
Santa clause.
Reading stories.
First day of school.
Learning to ride a 2-wheel bike.
Running through sprinklers on a hot day.
Packing lunches.
Forgotten book bags.
After school snacks.
Field trips.
School plays.
Flu season sick days.
Scraped knees.
Sports events.
Music, dance, gymnastics, sports practice.
First dance.
Curfew.
Learning to drive.
First date.
Homecoming.
Senior prom.
Graduation.
College applications.
Moving into the dorm.
Mother of the bride or groom.
Becoming a grandmother.
Someone left behind to whom stories and mementos can be passed along.

There are so many experiences I will never have because I don't have a child, nothing can or will ever be able to fill those holes in my life.

4 comments:

  1. How do you know these pieces you have missed due to not having children, friend? My parents missed many of these things. I think you may have idealized motherhood to such an extent it hurts more than it should.

    I mean, have you really thought about these things through? My mother went through absolutely awful morning sickness. She could not walk, nor eat without throwing up. Labor is awful, you can get tears, rips, and the doctor may use scissors to cut you wider. Oh yes. You may have been out cold due to a C-section for your baby's first breaths anyways. That is no guarantee. Midnight feedings are not as great as you think they are - you would have been exhausted. The average hour of sleep a new parents receives (as I have read somewhere, but don't remember where) is less than four hours. That is exhaustion. Do you know how many diapers a newborn needs to have changed in the first few months of life? About 12 to 17 a day. A day. How do you know you would have been there for the baby's first steps? My father was not present when my sister took her first steps. I was, the big sister. I also never had a Christmas with Santa either. My husband told his father to stop with Santa when he was barely 5. He found no amusement with it. I taught myself how to ride my two-wheel bike. My dad attempted to teach my sister - she still doesn't know how to ride a bike. I was in a school play (willingly I might add) - it wasn't that great. My husband's parents MADE him do the school plays which he absolutely despised and still make him cringe when the memories are brought up. Would you have been that kind of parent? Both my husband and I hated High School. I hated my first dance and stopped going after the first one. My husband had a similar experience. I refused to date, (I still don't believe in dating). My brother-in-law has never had a date and he graduated from High School this year. He never went to a dance, ever. So my husband's parents never experienced this "dating" and "dance" thing - even with two sons. How could you have guaranteed your child would have enjoyed these things, or would have participated in them? My husband, my brother-in-law, and I did not attend out senior prom. We thought it was stupid (again, hated High School). Our parents urged us to attend. We did not. The ONLY reason my husband, brother-in-law, and I attended our High School graduation was for our parents. I don't get it. I really don't. Why is this so important for parents (or aspiring parents)? IF (huge IF) my hubs and I have a child (miraculously) I would let them decide if they want to attend their graduation. College applications? I did them. What do parents have to do with that? How did that even make your list? o.0 I did it myself, just like almost everyone I know. How strange. Moving into the dorm? My husband and I got married right after High School. We never will live in a dorm. You expect such a linear timeline, with extreme societal expectation included... prom, graduation, college, marriage. Some kids will NEVER follow that path. My husband and I eloped. We later had a "wedding" for the sake of the parents (AGAIN).

    And finally, my friend, how do you know you would become a grandmother? What if your child chooses to never have children? Or decides to become a nun? Or it just never happens for them, due to medical reasons, or circumstances?

    These are fabricated holes that you have envisioned. There is no guarantee a child of yours would have gone through this, even MOST of this. Many of these holes may have never been filled even if you had a few children. Don't you see? Why break your heart by envisioning a PERFECT, IMMACULATE (by society's and your vision) childhood and parenthood.

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  2. There will always be someone left behind. There are nieces, nephews, the neighbor's kiddo, a little brother or sister (through blood, or even through the Big Brothers and Big Sister's Club), or through volunteering with a children's ministry, camp, or other ways. Become a mentor. This is how I feel the gap for children. I joined my church's "kidzkamp" for a week. I had my fill. I was exhausted. I was loved on, and loved back by these children. There are children (both babies and adults) needing someone to be THERE. Please don't cut yourself down, and think about the things you have missed. You don't know what you have missed anyways.

    Heck, you could have had a child with disabilities - mental and/or physical... life is unfair. But you still have some control over your situation. Life is unfair. Don't dwell on the holes. Dwell on your blessings. Dwell on what you can change.

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  3. somnambulist, certainly no one knows how things would have been had I, or any of us who long for a child of our own, had been blessed with one. There are no guarantees in this life. There are certainly other ways to try to fill the hole that childlessness leaves. But those alternatives are just that... alternatives. They are not replacements. Is parenthood perfect? Absolutely not. Are there trials, difficulties and disappointments? Of course! The same could be said for any path in life. I am painfully aware of the trials that parenthood can present... and to answer your question, yes I have thought about the money, how many diapers, and the possibility of disability. I'm not clueless, or delusional. But, at least speaking for myself, I would have gladly endured the pain, tears, rips, anesthesia, dirty diapers, screaming fits, and disappointments for just a chance to be a mom. The list above is not meant to describe all the certainties, but the possibilities. These are the things I have personally stood by on the sidelines and watched occur... they are not fabrications. Maybe many of those things would not ever have happened, but many would, or at least could, have. Please do not dismiss the feelings of a person who struggles with the loss of a dream as trivial. Your emotions are not any more or less valid. I'm sorry your life may not have been perfect and hope that you are able to get beyond your own personal hurt.

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  4. This is a really old post, but I wanted to say that I appreciate somnambulist's point, and don't think she was trying to trivialize your pain. My life did not turn out the way I had expected, either. And I sometimes catch myself comparing my reality to some idealized fantasy. When I look around me, though, I don't actually know anyone who hasn't had to grieve the loss of at least some of your listed events...so why do we still get the societal message that those are the exact linear steps through life? No one gets to have a perfect life...so why do we beat ourselves up so much? I'm so sorry for your losses, and for mine, too. Life is very unfair.

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