November 28, 2009

A Woman in Waiting

Posted in Family, fertility, Infertility, Parent, waiting tagged at 4:40 am by Gina Messina

Celebrating Thanksgiving yesterday made it more evident to me than ever that I am in a constant state of waiting.  While of course I am waiting to finish my PhD and I am waiting for my career to officially begin, what I am truly waiting for is family.  Holidays are a time for family and being so far away from home has left me feeling a little lost.  This Thanksgiving my dad flew in to spend the week with me and my husband and we spent the holiday in a restaurant with my brother and his wife.  Our family time consisted of two hours together over a meal someone prepared while missing their own family.  I found it terribly depressing and longed for the days when I was a child and Thanksgiving was a time where nothing else could interrupt the family bond.

I remember as a child waking up on Thanksgiving morning and watching the parade on television with my brother and sister while my mom baked her famous cheesecake and pumpkin pie.  She would always give us each a slice right out of the oven…although they were meant to be chilled desserts to this day there is nothing quite like the taste of my mom’s warm pumpkin pie.  Then we would spend the day at my grandparents with aunts, uncles, and cousins…often with our own football game being played in the front yard.

Today, my mom is no longer with us.  I miss her dearly and cannot remember what the last holiday we spent together was like.  I keep waiting for my grief to end, for my every move to not focus on what it would be like if mom were here.  I wonder if having children will allow me to carry on family tradition in my own way and heal some of the wound I feel so deeply in my heart.  However, dealing with infertility has left me waiting for a child.  I have waited for round after round of fertility treatments to work, I wait month after month hoping for a miracle and wonder if there is any end in sight of this cycle that has left me in limbo. 

Of course I truly appreciate that I spent this holiday with my dad, my brother, sister in law, and my wonderful husband.  I just feel like something is missing from my life and my sense of family.  There really is not anything like the mother child bond and I desperately need to have that in my life.  And so I am waiting, waiting for my grief to lessen, waiting for a child to love and teach the value of family, and waiting for a sense of family that nurtures my soul the way it did when I was a child.

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October 29, 2009

The Kids Shaped Spleen Hole Inside Me

Posted in Family, fertility, kids, Mother, mothering, Parent, sexuality tagged , , , , , at 9:52 am by Eostre

ella and me

Me holding my wonderful niece when she was just over a month old

There are few things in my life that I am absolutely sure of right now. One of them is that I don’t want kids. This is a fairly new thing. For most of my life I thought I wanted kids, not because I really did, but because I didn’t know it was okay to not want them. During this past year, when I finally figured this out, it was a major revelation for me. I think I can look to that discovery as a turning point in my recent life, a shift from the person I was to the person I am becoming. I don’t know why this realization has taken on such importance for me, but in my mind I have tied the me who wanted kids to the me who was stuck trying to fulfill what I thought a Good Christian Girl was supposed to be. Sure, I wanted a career too, but I definitely (even if I didn’t admit it) wanted a husband and family too. It was what I was supposed to want, and it was what I was taught I had to have to be valuable.

Like so many things from my Evangelical past, the idea that I should want kids (and a husband) has been kind of hard to shake. Even now, when I know that that is something I don’t want, I still feel guilt over those feelings. So many people think that not wanting kids is unnatural, somehow, for a woman. I mean, it’s not that I am not maternal, and I do really like kids (at least for a set period of time), and I am, usually, a very loving person who likes to take care of people. I have a 13-year-old nephew and a 7-month-old niece both of whom I love to distraction, but I am content being an aunt and not a mother.

I refuse to be defined by my past and where I come from. Yes, I am still dragging a huge net full of baggage behind me, but I am shedding it, piece by piece. And realizing that I don’t want kids was a huge step. I do not want to live the life that someone else thinks I should, I have tried that and it doesn’t work. I am figuring out who I am and what that means, and realizing that I don’t want kids was like finding a part of myself and fitting it inside me, like a missing spleen; one more piece to fill up the new me after I have emptied out the old. I’m not sure of much right now, but every new thing I figure out is a treasure, and knowing that I don’t want kids puts me one step closer to knowing who I am, and what I do want, and that is invaluable to me.

October 21, 2009

Hello, I am a Hairy Red Demon (Or, I don’t want kids.)

Posted in fertility, kids, mothering tagged , , at 4:10 am by Lakshmi (LaChelle)

This may be the one area where I fit the image of what people reductively think is feminist. I am 28 (or 29 on Friday) and I’ve just never wanted them. Among my core group of women friends, for the first time in my life, I don’t want to back down and offer the required add-on: “But maybe I’ll want them later on in life” because the ratio of 3:4 of no-babies to yes-plz. is pretty good. But I still walk the streets of dating and strangers with a mild level of trepidation and guilt.

The assumptions are the following:

1. I don’t know what I’m talking about, and some day I will change my mind.

2. I am a mean, selfish, scary poophead.

3. I am a delusional feminist who just hates men and keeps her uterus all to herself. (Once my at the time bf said, “Just give me your uterus: that’s all I want” in discussing what he needed to get back together with me.)

4. I hate kids.

5. I’m trying to make a point.

6. I will be lonely as I get older and I won’t have many people to love.

Many guys begin to date me, and I always feel the duty, when I see those sparkly luvbunnies hoping around in their eyes, to inform (warn?) them of my position on the matter. And the response, after initial shock/weeping, is a knowing smile. Gently they say, “That’s okay. Kids aren’t all that important to me”, only to follow that statement up with a cute story: “You know, my good friend [name] didn’t want kids for the longest time, but. . . .”

But I love kids. I would much rather play with them during holidays than have boring conversations sitting with the adults. Granted, I have an irrational fear of holding (and dropping) babies (they are slippery, okay?). But I just have never had the desire to have any of my own. I haven’t really put too much thought into it. Much like I’ve never put too much thought into becoming a firefighter. I mean, I respect firefighters, and I am sure glad they are around, and if a calendar of sexy men in uniform should happen my way, I will look, but the thought of becoming one barely crossed my mind. It’s kind of the same with birthing children.

I guess I AM selfish though. I have all these things I want to do, experience, give, take care of, mother, love. . . and choosing those things for me, means selfishly not choosing others. But that is a part of life. In the mothering category,  I am good at listening. I’m good at telling people that they are truly beautiful (I never lie), consoling a friend, helping those I love figure out tough decisions, and just generally being around when someone feels sad or wants to celebrate something they feel good about. And for me, that is a way I mother, even in my selfishness.

I hope that I won’t be lonely. I want to get married to my best friend and romantic love I can lust and laugh with. I want to continue to be more in love with my girlfriends and family each day, showing me how to love by their own love. I want to have a house full of people I take care of, maybe single mothers who need a helping hand, a community college student abandoned by her family, my friends if they lose their job, and of course a man I commit my life too, party guests, other couples, maybe (MAYBE) animals (my roommate shall not believe this). =) For me, it seems a little paranoid to have children because I won’t be lonely, because I’ll have someone to take care of me. If I would have kids, I would hope there would be some other reason. For me, I can’t personally think of any.

I love when people have babies or want them. I’m so happy when I hear of my friends having babies they want, and my heart absolutely breaks when I hear of my friends not able to have the children they want just yet (but they will get them, I know). Pregnant women are incredibly beautiful. And little babies are cute. I love the differences among our group, and we can celebrate each other even when our lives desire different things.

So, I don’t think I’m not wanting kids for a particular reason. I’m the most un-feminist feminist that could possibly exist if your idea of a feminist is what it is in most people’s minds. My tendencies, personality, etc. really has nothing to do with anyone, but me. I can’t explain it. It’s like the way I like peppermint and chocolate ice cream or I like being on stage, or I like to spend most of my life in school. It’s just who I am and what I do. I don’t think more growing up/falling in love, etc. is really going to make this hairy red monster adore orange sherbet or firefighting. It doesn’t really happen that way.