I have stressed many times that I am not bitter. I may breakdown upon seeing a pregnancy announcement and I may take a tiny bit longer to congratulate a friend, but I do my best to avoid feeling hatred towards them. After all, a baby is something to be celebrated and I would never wish what I am going through upon anyone else. However, I admit that sometimes I wish people knew just how difficult it is for me to stay neutral.
I’ve had my moments were I was sure I was going to become that bitter person that distanced themselves from everyone that had children or was expecting. I’ve cried angry tears as more of my friends have gone on to have children and left me behind in that step to motherhood that I so desperately wanted to take with them. It’s hard to not be angry when I have been preparing my body and my mind for so long for something that doesn’t seem to want to happen. It’s even harder to not become resentful when you are left behind to watch your friends turn into mothers.
I am trapped somewhere in between the worlds of the childless and parenthood. It’s a place that a few of us are left. I am stuck ready to take that step into the land of diapers, play-dates, and sticky fingers, but by no choice of my own I am left watching from a distance. I can’t completely assimilate into the culture of parenthood because of the obvious – I don’t have children. As much as I would like to, I can’t plan play-dates when I have no children of my own. I can’t relate to the new mom who is having trouble breastfeeding, nor can I empathize with the parents who are exhausted from a child’s new sleeping schedule. I can sit there and listen, but I can’t add my experience in, which leads me to just feeling deeply depressed over the whole situation. Perhaps it is for this reason that when people ask if I have children and I answer that I don’t, that I don’t typically receive an invitation to meet-up. Don’t get me wrong though, I have been blessed with several friends who have done their best to include me despite it all. I am so incredibly grateful that they don’t see me as a childless intruder, trying to butt in where I don’t belong, but sometimes that is just how I feel. It’s not their fault, but sometimes I am just overwhelmed by the world of parenthood and I need to retreat.
Which leads me to the world of the childless…. it’s not a place I am happy. You would think I would be happy around others who have no kids but that is literally where our similarities stop. Most of the women I have met in this group are still living life to the craziest – which don’t get me wrong can be fun, but it’s not something I want to do enough to spend much time with them. It’s also very hard to enjoy being around these people when you are yearning for admittance into parenthood. I have a few friends located in this world and I do mean few… very few. The one’s I do have help me live. They know what I want, but they also know how to keep me grounded. They can’t quite drag me into as much craziness as they may like but they pull enough of me out so that I can go feeling somewhat normal.
That somewhat normal brings me back to my real place in these worlds. The in-between, the place no one wants to be stuck in. Having nowhere to really say you belong isn’t the best feeling, but for now it is where I have to learn to be okay. I have to keep myself whole in a place that feels unwelcome and at times is very scary. So the next time you think of judging someone for not saying congratulations fast enough or you find yourself saying those infamous words, “It’s not my fault she can’t have kids”, please know it isn’t that we blame you really. We are just trying our best to hold it together in this place where we are poked, prodded, cut open, and all sorts of horrible things just so we can one day gain our own admittance into motherhood. It’s a difficult time for those of us left behind and we can’t always be there for you, because sometimes it is all we can do to be there for ourselves.