#support

It's Not Me, It's You

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It’s time for some real talk.

You and your baby have NOTHING to do with me and my lack of baby. So don’t, just don’t, make your pregnancy, birth, baby all about you having a baby and I don’t.

I can’t even begin to describe how often this happens and it is always by well meaning, if somewhat misguided, friends. At least that’s what I tell myself and that’s what my psychologist tells me to tell myself.

I know that being a parent isn’t an easy job. I know that babies are hard work. I am your friend and I am here to support you. Not go Single White Female on your a** and steal your baby because you aren’t happy. Nor do I go home and cry after I see you pregnant or cuddling your newborn or chasing your toddler around. Because our fertility issues really have nothing to do with you.

For example, people who are afraid to tell us they are expecting. I appreciate that they are trying to be sensitive to our feelings but it makes us feel bad. Are we that unpredictable or consumed in our own world (grief) that you don’t think we can be genuinely happy for you? Ouch. Trust me, every time it happens we take a long look in the mirror because we don’t want our friends (and family) to feel as though we can’t be happy for them.

Here’s the truth though. We will be sad. After all, it is a reminder of what we won’t have and things we will never experience. But we can be happy for you and sad for us. And that’s our problem, not yours.

But you treating me differently because you are pregnant/have a new baby isn’t sparing my feelings - it is rubbing it in. You need to trust that we will tell you if we can’t do it. You need to know that saying things like “oh I shouldn’t be telling you this because I know how desperately you want a baby of your own” hurts. Salt in the wound when I just want to be your friend and suddenly it has become an awkward “you vs me” thing.

If you don’t know what to say, ask. And if your infertile friend isn’t honest with you either, call them out on that BS. If they want you to treat them as a friend, they need to be transparent with you.

~

Guess I did it again… another controversial post. You didn’t expect rainbows and unicorns did you? This isn’t the blog for that. I am here to push out awkward and uncomfortable things and I expect you to push back. I am working on getting the site email set up and when I do, I will let you know so you can send me your thoughts. Heck, it might even lead to a guest post or a follow up on my part. In the meantime, you can direct message me on Instagram (@notamommy)

Rabbit Holes

I took a break. A long one.

December sucked for many reasons but the largest one was the passing of my grandmother. Her passing and the affect on the family was very sad and no matter how much it may be time, no one is ever prepared for it when it comes.

Gram had six children and the majority of them spoke at the funeral. Siting there, listening to the stories, it hit me. BOOM. A psychological punch to the face. When my time is up and let’s face it - we have a 100% chance of death - no one will stand up and talk about their mom. If I am lucky someone might talk about me as a wife, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a colleague or a friend. But never as a mom. When I go, all that is me goes with me.

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Holy F**k, that’s dark isn’t it?! And that, internet friends, is why I had to take a break. That was one hell of a long, dark rabbit hole.

So why now? Why can I come back now and talk about it? Two reasons. 1) Time, the great equalizer of all things shitty and 2) a good friend who can look me right in the eye over a cup of coffee and a piece of quiche and remind me with a single look (and possibly an arched eyebrow), that I am being ridiculously dramatic. Thank all that is good in the world for friends like that.

I am sure I am not alone in these thoughts. As humans we have psychological desire to contribute to the next generation and most of us accomplish that through having children. Read more about generativity here

So when you don’t have children, how do you fulfill that deep desire to make your life count? (and no, this isn’t me saying you need to have children to make your life count - read the article) I think that’s the biggest challenge that we face as people who are child free but not by choice. Even for those who have decided to be child free, the same psychological needs are there. This sense of meaning, of purpose, is still one I am struggling with more than six months after our decision to stop. Perhaps we can figure it out together.

And yes, in the calm light of day I understand that having children so they can speak at your funeral and look after you when you are old is not what having children is all about but brains can be very irrational at times : )

Stopping

This is the time of year when people start to talk about hope and inspiration and miracles. It’s a lot of “Don’t give up/lose hope/stop trying/lose faith” or “Your rainbow baby will come” or “I didn’t give up because I knew we would be parents”.

Bah humbug.

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The reality is it is ok to stop.  It doesn’t mean you lost hope or faith or that you aren’t meant to be a parent and it doesn’t mean that you “gave up” and all the negative connotations that come with those words.

It means that you made a decision that was right for you. A very wise friend once told me “you will know when it is time to stop” and while those words seem simple, she is right.  You, and only you, will know when it is time.

There is so much guilt surrounding the decision to stop trying.  The self-doubt (should I have done more? Treatments/weight loss/clean eating/meditation/whatever), the shame (I failed. We failed) and the isolation (where do we fit in the world now?!)

But when you push all of those feelings aside, you will know.  My husband got there faster than I did, but when I really looked inside my heart and shut out all the noise that comes with abandoning a lifelong dream of being a mother, I knew. It was time.

Making the decision to stop does not make the guilt or the grief any easier but it does give you back something you haven’t had for a while – control.  You regain control over your life, your path (and your sex life!)

We hear so many miracle stories and we don’t hear our story.  The story of trying and stopping and learning to move on. Because nobody wants a bad news story. Especially not during the holidays.

But it does get easier. Day by day. I promise.