I never used to care.

When Husband and I got married, we realized we were content with our lives the way they were. We didn’t need children; look at how much stuff we were free to accomplish by not having them! I was able to finish my college education and pay back my student loans by getting a job, we were able to take up hobbies together, we were able to get work done around the house. I was able to pursue a mini-career as an author and later a songwriter, and he was able to pursue his interests in marksmanship and medieval martial arts. We had the world in front of us, just the two of us, and it was good. Sometimes I did wonder what I was missing by not being a mother, but I was so afraid of motherhood that I shrugged it off. Some women are not meant to have children, and that was okay. I had a very full and fulfilling life as it was. What did I need a kid for?

Then last Autumn we found out I was pregnant. And every last bit of it changed.

I never knew you could love someone you’ve never met so much. I never knew the dreams and the hopes you could build around the idea of a family. I never knew how one little event could redefine your entire identity so thoroughly, or restructure your entire existence so completely, without even lifting a finger…

And I never knew how crushed you could be when it all comes apart at the seams in the final hour.

In a lot of ways, life is no longer fulfilling. It’s no longer complete. I am no longer satisfied with the status quo. I don’t want this to be all there is. And I keep coming around to the fact that if I didn’t care so much, this would all be so much easier to deal with. Not easy, mind you, but easier.

Oh Yes, I am unsatisfied. I am back to being afraid of the very thing I want the most, and I would go back to being my former ambivalent self in a heartbeat, except that I can’t. I am left with a myriad of questions as to how to pick up the pieces of the life I thought I had, and no answers. People talk at me all day long about how I should feel (thankful) and how I should act (humbled by God’s will). There are a million instructions and bits of advice to be had, but I admit I’m a poor student. Because none of them have been here.

I have.

And for all of my wishes for an emotional on/off switch, I cannot turn myself off. I care. I can’t help it. I can’t help crying when I see another article in the paper about all the women who choose abortion, I can’t help the heart squeeze when I see a happy young family in the grocery store, and I can’t help the pang of terror I feel when I hear someone else has gone into labor, or the hot rise of jealousy as I learn of their healthy little arrival.

I am a tender, wounded soul. Spin the wheel, see how it goes; where it stops, nobody knows…

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6 thoughts on “Caring about children

  1. We were content like that, too. A lot of times, that makes it seem more cruel. I know that I’ve looked at our lives before Doria and had some wild prayer conversations, usually “Hey, we were doing tons of ministry, putting everyone first, doing exactly what You had for us to do. Then we accepted this change, and You took it away. What was up with that?” That’s the friendly version.
    Thanks for your heart in this. That was really powerful.

    1. It really does, doesn’t it? (seem more cruel, I mean.) I would imagine you and I have probably had very similar prayer conversations. Because you keep your head down and you keep your feet on the Path and then you get handed this nice hot mess of a “gift” for your efforts… And it’s not fair and it challenges everything you’ve been taught about God and faith.

      1. Most of us have that prayer conversation. It just isn’t the happiest time in life, and we thought God was going to do it differently.
        You use some nice euphamisms there, to, with “hot mess” and “challenges.” đŸ™‚

  2. About 2 weeks after my daughter passed away, I received word that my cousin who was my best friend growing up, had taken her son to the ER for an infection and his blood work came back positive for Meth and marijuana. He and her older kids were taken from her, and the baby had to stay in the hospital for a bit. My cousin was sent to rehab. I was so angry with her. I didn’t understand how selfish she could be. I’d had bleeding from 16 weeks until about 24 weeks off and on and was on bed rest, protecting my child the best I could and there she was shooting up and harming her child. In the end, her child lived and mine passed away and she even got custody back. I couldn’t even speak to her for the longest time. My anger has faded (it’s been almost 3 years) and I’ve forgiven her.

    After going through a loss like this, it is hard not to be angry with others for things like that. It is also impossible to feel safe during pregnancy after a loss. I used to think there was a safe point (around 13 weeks or so) and that it was rare to lose a baby after that. I was almost 30 weeks when my baby girl passed away. I now know that it can happen anytime and there is no safe point. I long for that innocent, care free pregnant me to return. Instead, I just have to pray and have hope that things will turn out positively.

    I don’t have much advice to offer except to try to be patient with yourself. The emotional roller coaster will eventually slow down and the well meaning, sometimes down right annoying advice will slow down as well.

    1. “I now know that it can happen anytime and there is no safe point. I long for that innocent, care free pregnant me to return.”

      That’s exactly right, Janis. Had Michael lived… I would have SO been on board for more children. I loved being pregnant! But now… I’m just petrified of the thought, even though it’s what I want the most.

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