A Different Path to Parenting
I was thinking I'd return to regular blogging immediately but with the outpouring of support on the last post, I want to thank you all for your comments. I might not be able to answer you individually but hopefully as time goes on, I will explore my thoughts on some of the questions and comments. One thing I can assure you is this: it's certainly not the end. Owning the infertile label does not mean loss of hope or lack of faith, it simply means acceptance so I can fully embrace options open to me in this place and time, and to an honest and loving life with my partner for life.
As a couple in our thirties, there are not a lot of our friends and people around us who do not have children. Some weeks ago, we went out to a picnic with friends and colleagues from Atala's work and we had a nice time. There was food, games and football. Since it was a family picnic, most people came with their kids, there were a few pregnant women, a couple of babies, toddlers, and several older kids. I couldn't help thinking that if we had got pregnant right off, one of the cuter children may have been ours.
When we came back, I asked Atala how he felt, and his answer was food for thought for me. He said that he of course noticed all the children, but surprising for him, there was not too much hurt attached to enjoying time spent with everyone around. For the first time since we had to face our infertility, he told me how painful it had been for him in the early months to see pregnant women, or men with small kids in a father/child setting.
As he spoke, something in me felt like some air leaving a balloon and I recognized it as a further acceptance of our infertility. There was also a lot of love and admiration of this man I had married.
I have since ruminated further on that conversation, and how being childless has affected our life and relationship.
One thought that keeps coming back is that life isn't fair. But it's not like I just knew that today. I've been a kind of underdog in a lot of scenarios - I am female, I am on the small side, and growing up, both together was sometimes enough for bullies to pick on you. I am also the unfashionable girl, the nerdy-no-time-for-small-talk woman, and in most circles that will certainly make you no friends.
So I've had a lot of opportunities to think about the unfairness of life and work on the only thing I have control over. And that is yourself, and your attitude. You may not be able to chose the situations life throws at you, but you can chose how you react to it. Attitude I have realized, is sometimes 100% of how you experience life. You can actually choose to be happy or you can choose to be sad. Someone may get a 50k job and depress herself with thoughts of her friends with six figure salaries. You can either see a glass as half-full or you see it as half-empty. I can even chose to see it as full. And I do.
Some people may have a different opinion and they're entitled to it, I guess. I am living my life regardless.
After much consideration when I was in university, I handed my life over to God, and decided to be a Christian. Yes, I am born again and profess Christ as my savior. Part of that profession is living the life of promise. His word is in my heart, I live my life as a light to the world, and I have peace, joy and contentment. I have not encountered anything since to rob me of these. And even living with infertility, I thank God.
I won't say we don't want children, we do. But we also accept that they may be adopted, they may be conceived through ART or they may be born to us naturally when we're older. Yes, we believe it is not over till it is over. Whatever the case, we are at peace that our path may be different from others.