Monday, October 05, 2015

Two Separate Paths

Time and time again I've felt stumped when people say to me that they'll pray for us to have children or that they hope that we'll get a miracle pregnancy. Even when I've told them that I've considered our family complete, they'd insist, "But you WILL be happy if you get pregnant". I know they mean well, but they just don't understand that this path we've been walking on for the past few years is a separate path than the still-hoping path. There's only one person so far that I've talked to that understands that they're two very separate paths and how getting pregnant means a total redirection of life and the birth of (pun intended) mixed feelings.

You see, even though technically speaking I can still get pregnant as I'm still young enough (though I  never did get pregnant when we were seriously trying), this path we've been walking on is more similar to the path of those people who've had enough kids and the kids are already in Junior High/High School, so their focus in life is totally different. Will they be happy if the wife suddenly gets (miraculously) pregnant? I'm not saying she wouldn't, but it's not going to be the same as when the couple were seriously trying to get pregnant when they were younger (when they felt that their family wasn't complete yet). That's where we are at - well, minus the kids.

We're content. We no longer feel like we're missing something. And believe me, it's not easy to get to this stage when the world won't let us forget how rewarding and fulfilling parenthood can be and how those who are non-parents just don't get it. Just look at how people have judged the non-parents who are in politics, even writers***. I remember years back a famous female writer died and in the comment section of an article on her death and books, some people argued that she wasn't such a good writer because she wasn't a mother. This was one of the things that made me feel that I was seriously lacking something as a woman back then when I was still dying to join the Motherhood Club. The battle with the questions "Am I less than a woman because I'm not a mother? Don't I know what true/conditional love is because I'm not a mother?" was harsh.

In the letter I wrote to my mom almost two years ago when she suddenly started sending me messages about praying for us to have children, I explained to her that those kinds of prayers weren't helpful at all. In fact, it only made me feel like our family wasn't complete and that we were still missing something. Her prayers also made me feel like she was pitying us and it wasn't helpful, either. After all the time and effort it took us to finally reach this point when we're at peace with what we don't have and after all the time and grief work it took us to finally feel whole again as human beings, well-meaning (hopeful) words about a miracle pregnancy don't do us any good.  

What's funny about dealing with people who still insist on praying for us to have children is that they can be defensive when I ask them to pray for something else instead. In my mind, what's the use of praying for something when the person himself/herself isn't even trying to get it and the person himself/herself doesn't even put any efforts to get it? Isn't it absurd? Why is it with people that they keep trying to fix someone else's (assumed) problem when the other party doesn't even feel it is a problem (anymore)? 

Yes, we both have a hole in our hearts due to infertility and childlessness, but other people's prayers/hope for a miracle pregnancy only make us feel as though they were pointing to our hearts and say, "But look, there's a hole in your hearts! I want you to have children so that the hole in your hearts can be filled." What they don't realize is that we don't consider the hole to be something that has to be filled anymore. The hole has shaped us in unique ways and taught us important lessons in life, just like parenthood has shaped and taught parents in different ways. The hole doesn't feel like a curse anymore. In fact, we are now able to be thankful for the lessons given by the hole, and for that, I think other people should be glad for us.

I'm going to end this post with Brene Brown's animation on Empathy. 

*** P.S. I'm well-aware that even parents judge other parents. I suppose as long as there are humans on earth, people (sadly) won't stop judging other people no matter what, but from where I'm standing, sometimes it does feel like parents hold a trump card whenever I read comments like that. After all, how many times have you heard/read people start a sentence with "as a parent" or "as a mom"?


  1. That's a very harsh comment people made about the writer. Being a mum is an experience in life but there are so many other adventures and lessons, it's ridiculous to judge someone's writing ability because they are not a mum! It's even wound me up thinking about it. And yes I can imagine how you must feel about people saying they are praying for you. I guess they mean well but they should stop to think how their words effect you. Of course people and couples can be complete without children. It can sound insulting to say otherwise. I have so much admiration and respect for how you deal with these situations and how you've dealt with everything that has been thrown at you. X

    1. Thanks for your empathy and kind words, Nikki. Yes, it is ridiculous, but unfortunately it does happen and before I found that article, it never occurred to me that people would/could judge others in that area.