My "meaningless" child-less life



I haven't posted much lately. Maybe it's because I have been conducting research with 100 seventh graders and am spent at the end of the day. Maybe it's because I am working out some things in my own mind. Maybe it's because I've gotten back on the gym wagon I fell off. Most likely, it is because my latest treatment cycle has once again failed and I'm still "Not the Momma."

Once upon a time, before I really looped my blog readers in on my treatment cycles, I wondered what I would do when I had to break bad news via my blog. You know, how much would I share. What details would they want. Now I know. I stay away from the blog. It's probably better for everyone that way.

So, I invested my heart and hopes into my first injectable IUI cycle. Everyone on Team Baby Wilson could feel the optimism. But, the plethora of good follicles did not yield a pregnancy. So, I'm on a month of birth control pills to alleviate all of the cysts from the "great" follicles. Then, back to insanity-- you know, doing the same thing again and hoping for a different result.  If the next attempt doesn't work, we have some decisions to make. IVF? Adoption? Foster adoption? Living childless? But pondering those decisions is for another post... probably several other posts.

Today I was prompted to write because of something a dear friend said, something she, as a woman facing infertility, had to deal with today. It's something I hear far too often.

"I never knew the meaning of life until my child was born."

I understand the sentiment behind the statement, even if I can't relate. Your life, as a parent, shifted in a fundamental way when you first knew the new love of being a parent to the child you call yours . You love your child more than you could ever imagine loving something. The love you are capable of grew exponentially when you became a parent. There are new depths and meanings of love that you did not know before and that you understand now.

But, in truth, I hope your life had meaning before you were a parent.

Sure, you have NEW meaning in your life with a child. But, before you were a parent, you were a sister, child, aunt, friend, spouse, teacher, nurse, lawyer, counselor, dancer, singer, reader, jogger, dog-lover, cat-lover, and/or piano-player. You were a person with a life, a job, with hopes, dreams and ambitions. You were a multifaceted person who derived meaning from many things in your world. You weren't just one thing and you weren't defined by only one characteristic or part of your existence.

In short, you've always been someone worth knowing and led a life worth living. I've always been someone worth knowing and led a life worth living.

No, I don't know what it's like to be a mom. I really want to know and to understand that feeling. In some ways, I probably want to know this feeling more than many women who actually get pregnant.

But, I know that no matter what happens, I will always have meaning in my life. I won't let infertility determine whether or not my life is meaningful. Conversely, you don't get to tell me that infertility makes my life meaningless as well.

You see, no matter how dark my path is, no matter how much I may believe that I will always be childless, I have never thought for a minute that there is no point in my existence. My parents did a better job raising me than that.

The many hats I wear are mine alone. No one else is Aunt Chicka for the two little chicks. No one would be the Big Sis to Jen. No one else is my dad's oldest daughter. No one else would ever be able to be Jeremy's debate team college sweetheart. No one else could be Fred's Dog Momma. There is no one else who is the same nutty incarnation of Mrs. Wilson, the English teacher. No one else could be this OneToughEgg if my voice were gone. I am the only me that will ever exist, and though I may be infertile, and presently childless, my life still has so much meaning.

I always love the posts from mothers that talk about the way their heart grows from the love of a child. Those analogies are wonderful. It says, to me, that being a parent means you have more of yourself to give to your child. Your love grows in order to show a child what it means to love and be loved. As a parent, you allow yourself to open up and put on the parent hat, all the while knowing that while being a parent is important, it is not all that you are.

So, I know some of you will scoff at this post and laugh to yourself thinking I have no idea what I am talking about. You will talk in your circles about how meaningless the life of those without children must be. You will feel sorry for me because my life has no real meaning because no one calls me mommy.

But, in truth, if you really think my life has no meaning simply because I am childless, it is you I feel sorry for. You see, if I become a mother, it won't be up to my child to give my life meaning.

I have that covered all on my own.

Instead I will take a cue from my mom, my grandmother, my mother-in-law and the other remarkable friends and relatives I have seen as mothers before me. Much like the Grinch in the beloved Christmas story, being a mother will hopefully cause my heart to grow. I'll put on another hat, one that I know will trump some of the others and will redirect most of my energies. It will be a hat that I don with love and affection, one that will consume so much of my time and energy. It will be an incredibly important hat, but with that hat will come the responsibility of teaching my child about the art of balancing all of those hats that each of us wears in life. .

So, my child will not be responsible for fulfilling my life and giving it meaning. That's an awfully big task to ask of someone so little. Since I'll be the mommy, I think I'll let my baby be responsible only for giving his or her own life meaning. But, I'll let him or her learn to eat solids first.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for writing this. It's something I hear so often, and I think most people don't realize how hurtful it can be for those who are childless, by choice or not. I like to believe that my life has meaning. I have a sense of purpose, in fact I feel I have several. I don't want to be defined by my ability to reproduce or parent. That's just one small part of who I am. We are all multi-dimensional individuals and our purpose should not be defined by one aspect of our lives.

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