Disclaimer: I am of the group who don’t have kids; and just because I don’t have kids, doesn’t mean I resent the ones who do have them. But being in this journey for so long, I couldn’t help but notice certain traits of people from both the groups. Yes, I am shameless in talking about a group I don’t belong to or about something I have never experienced, but that doesn’t stop me from speaking about something that’s common sense to plain sight and that defies logic. I hope you agree with me and I will try to be as neutral as I can. Forgive me and move on if you don’t agree with me or find this to be brutally honest, because it’s my personal blog; I write what I please and I do not have to have you agree with me. Happy Reading!
The fun thing about what I am going to write today is it encompasses all people. Either you are from the former group or the latter, and while so many people will read this, not many are going to agree to all the things I write here. If you are still interested in reading, let me tell you a story.
Jim and Mary got married, and at the time, children were the last thing on their minds even though the prospect of becoming parents eventually was a very welcome idea for the both of them. They were too wound up with the idea of marriage and of the selfless sacrifices and understanding it required. They wanted to take it easy for a couple of months while they came to know each other better. Little did they know, as the months passed and as they got more comfortable with each other, they would start getting asked some strange questions, questions they weren’t so keen on answering because they were so, well, invasive. Some more time passed and they still didn’t have a positive answer to these questions. At first they took it easy, but the strain of those questions started interfering with their personal life. The questions were mostly directed at Mary and so, she felt sad and guilty. Jim was definitely affected because he was unhappy to see his wife unhappy. Every doctor they went to told her not to take stress. She was clueless. It was like they both were stuck in a vicious cycle because there was no end to the questions and according to the doctors, stress caused a havoc in her body.
Enter Mark and Kim. Mark and Kim were very much in love when they got married. Mark loved how independent and driven Kim was, how she put her all in everything she did and how brilliantly capable she was. Kim loved the way Mark supported her in each and everything she did or wanted to do. They were both trying to find a better life for them before they could start a family; if they decided to have one. Much to their surprise, rather shock, they immediately found out they were going to be parents. Kim was scared at first, but seeing how ecstatic Mark was, she started feeling happy about it too. They told their family and friends about the awesome news and while the family was elated, some friends started remarking on how crazy the whole idea of unplanned parenthood was. Mark and Kim were not happy with these remarks.
When I write about these two couples, do they sound familiar? I am sure we have such people in every circle because these two instances are so common to see. And as “more experienced” in such and such matters, don’t we just love to pass remarks or give advice according to what we feel how things should be? Well, W-R-O-N-G. I will spell out some ground facts here.
It is NOT okay to ask a couple when they plan on having kids. It’s not okay even if you are family, or really close friends or claim how you mean only well for them. If you see them struggling and still pose such invasive questions, well I doubt how well you mean for them. You do not know everything about their life. You do not know the circumstances in which they are not having kids. May be they are not ready yet, may be they need to reconsider their finances, or may be their body isn’t cooperating much with them in this regard.
If you are someone who was easily blessed, you cannot imagine the amount of emotions that it took for that couple to muster up hope. You do not know the crushing disappointment that hits them each time a hope dies. But yes, I remember, you meant well so you asked them to see a doctor. But what you don’t know is how they spent countless evenings in a doctor’s waiting room, the countless scans, the countless blood draws, the needles here and the needles there, the poking down there, yes, down there! You do not the way hormone pills has messed her up, the way she has gained weight, the bloating that is so uncomfortable at times, the crazy mood swings she tries so hard to control. Her hair is falling off, you sometimes laugh at her bald spots, but you do not know about the losses, the miscarriages, the bleeding that won’t stop that caused it to begin with.
She would give anything to be innocent again, to not know how her cycles work because it has made baby making so scientific and factual for her, which is something meant to be fun and easy in general. Do you know about your fertile window? About how many times to have sex? About positions that make conception easy? Can you count all your main reproduction hormones on your fingers and tell which one does what? Can you tell me what ovulation is? How many tubes you have? The number of days it takes for a potential baby to make its way down the uterus? Can you tell me the different number of conditions you can have that can hamper a possible pregnancy before it even begins? No. You cannot. Because God didn’t let you come that far and He made something so intricate as this to be a piece of cake for you. Thank Him for His blessing rather than basking in glory by thinking this is something you managed to do on your own. Conception, pregnancy and the birth of a healthy child is pure miracle which God shows us every day. Do not be blind to see His Glory by foolishly thinking it is your own. Do not for a moment think that you have the right to question anyone’s decision about children just because they are silent about it.
I want to tell Mary and other ladies going through this struggle, please be clear and vocal about setting boundaries pertaining to your personal life. You have the absolute right to define boundaries regarding your personal life and that which doesn’t involve others.
Do not make this struggle all about you because your partner is in it too. Just because he doesn’t say much doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel much. Be thankful for the other things God has given you. We can only thank God for the blessings and gifts He has given us, rather than demanding more. We do not know what is better for us in the grand scheme of things.
I hope that you find something you love to do; something that fills your heart with happiness and makes the ache a little duller. I hope you know it’s okay to break down and cry sometimes because you have been struggling for long and these tears and expressions of our feelings are what makes us human. I hope that while you do cry, you have someone loving by you who helps you get up and face another tomorrow.
I hope you know what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That every pill, needle or the physical hurt is only making you into someone you are meant to be. God is teaching you love and compassion by showing you what it means to be human. He humbles you before Himself because He loves you. There will be another day and one day it will be yours. Just hold on till the time is right.
I want to tell you the importance of staying positive. When everything is going wrong in this world, don’t forget that the absolute perfection lies with God and God alone. Expect only good from Him and He will show you goodness. Do not dwindle in your faith nor forget even for a second that the He loves us the best. Just wait for His answer.
At the same time Mary, I want you to keep trying. I want you to know so many people are rooting for you and the ones who love you the most are the ones who actually pray for you, rather than stressing you with questions. Mary, do not hesitate to seek help when it is required. Motherhood is never easy. Do not let the hormones and the needles intimidate you. Even a natural pregnancy and delivery are painful. You just have a tad bit more pain to endure but that is good in a way; it shows your miracle is going to be sweeter. God has a reward for every pain we see.
In all this, we forgot about Mark and Kim who had an unplanned pregnancy and got some “free advice”.
Dear Kim, I hope you realize this is your body and your life and no one gets to decide about it but you. I hope you remember you can have as many children as you want without anyone telling you anything about it. I hope you remember to cherish whatever God sends your way without taking to heart all the “well meant” suggestions.
No one can tell you how much gap you need, that you are going too fast or that you need to stop. God will keep expanding your heart with love as long as you are ready to receive it. Don’t let anyone make you doubt how much you should love. This is a miracle just for you and you have all the right to enjoy it.
But at the same time, I hope you do not undermine the struggles of friends who are struggling to have their miracle. Be compassionate and kind towards their feeling and try to be understanding when they do not seem too keen on your miracle. Your struggling friend is happy for you and there is no doubt about that, but at the same time, she is sad for herself for fear of being left behind. Your love and understanding will make her feel better and she will open up to you.
Kim, when you do have your baby, remember to always keep him or her before anything you want to do. Ambitions and being driven are very good qualities, but at the same time, do not forget that ambition and career are just a part of life. The real life is within the walls of your home and the people you call family. If it isn’t for them, then something will keep tugging at you as guilt. Remember Kim, if it makes you feel guilty, it needs to be reconsidered. Our heart has an in built mechanism of sending out a stress signal when something seems to violate these matters of the heart. Use your head and heart wisely and you will be just fine.
Parenting will be tough, there is no doubt about that, but remember the sacrifices your parents made for you. If it weren’t for their sacrifices and their dream to see you in a better position than they ever were, you probably wouldn’t have been where you are right now. Know that the real investments in life are what you invest in your children, like your time, your love and your continuous efforts.
In this life we see all kinds of people and all kinds of situations they are in. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, that either you are from the first group of people, i.e. you have kids, or the latter one that do not have. We see things from our own perspective depending upon which group we belong to. Don’t let your strength make you proud and don’t let your loss make you bitter. Respect other people’s sense of boundary regarding their personal life.
Having or not having kids is something you never chose for yourself. The decision is made by God alone. Honor God by being thankful whatever you get in life.