And just upfront, today was actually a pretty decent day.
I watched Julie & Julia tonight, mostly because I am reading Julia Child's autobiography right now and am absolutely in love with it. I wish I was in love with something as much as Julia Child was in love with cooking. But that is another blog post. As relevant to this, there was one scene that reminded me of moments that I have randomly, usually daily. Julia Child was at home with her husband when she got a letter from her sister saying that she was pregnant. Julia proceeded to cry, tears she claimed were for joy, but her husband new they were tears of devastation. Julia and Paul could not have children.
Many cancer fighters/ survivors deal with this same issue. We do. It's a constant, daily battle for me. It seems every day someone new announces they're pregnant and I yet again pour through the many thoughts and feelings that it pulls out me. Without explaining in detail our little pity party, here are the simple facts: both my husband and myself have had cancer, he as an infant and me as a young adult in my early twenties. He had chemo and can't have children naturally (we were told somewhere like a 1 in a million chance) and while I didn't have chemo I do have a hereditary cancer syndrome which I would have a 50:50 chance of passing on to a child (if my child had it he/she would have to begin receiving colonoscopies at age 7). Yes we could try in vitro treatments, but would it work? And the price! Yes we could adopt, but are we ready for such a long and emotional process? And the price! There are so many questions, and so many answers that we need to have before making any decisions.
But every day that I hear of someone being pregnant or I spend time with children I feel a slight sadness welling up inside me. I sometimes even get resentful that I am unable to easily have a child if I decided I wanted one. And I begin to feel myself shrinking away and avoiding kids altogether, which is a horrible outcome regardless of whatever feelings I might have. I have a niece and nephew whom I absolutely adore... they are sweet and hilarious (well not so much Bobby, he is still only 3 months old) and I should spend more time with them. I know one day I will regret it if I don't. But I am unsure of how to deal with the things I am feeling. How do I process it? The first time I babysat my niece she was around 6 months old and I only had her for 2 hours while her parents went to dinner. When they came home they found me holding a naked baby and crying my eyes out. Yes, I was a little overwhelmed because I had no clue what I was doing, but to this day they really have no idea why I was crying (and since they don't read this blog they still won't). Honestly, while I was there holding that baby and playing with her it hit me for the first time that I would never hold my own baby. My niece would never have a cousin from me and David, our parents would never have grandchildren from us, and we would never experience the things of life that everyone claims are the best moments that you will never forget. It hit me like a ton of bricks. And then my sister-in-law and brother-in-law walked in. I'm sure I looked a hot mess.
Does anyone else go through that? I know I can't be the only one... right??
Then there is the part that might seem quite schizophrenic after what I just wrote. I actually don't know if I'd want kids, even if I could have them. Does that make ANY sense at all??? Because usually I don't think so. How could I NOT want kids and then cry when I find out one of my friends is having a baby?? Utterly insane. But still, there it is. I am not sure I am built to be a mom. I have zero motherly instincts, kids drive me crazy, and I am simply too selfish to devote my life to raising a child who might just grow up to hate me, do drugs, or amount to be the very type of person I have spent my life trying to avoid. Plus... there are WAY too many things in this world I have not done yet. I am the type of person to want to drop everything to pick up and go somewhere exotic. Key word there is "want"... I have yet to do this. One more reason not to have kids.
On those glass half full kind of days I think that maybe God is keeping us from having kids so that we can enjoy our lives in a different way than other people get to. Maybe we can devote ourselves to some other kind of good, all the while living somewhere like New Zealand and sailing in our spare time.
It is a tough pill to swallow when you learn that your childhood dream of a family and choosing baby names will never come true, and there are serious emotions that you have to face a deal with. But maybe, just maybe, there are things out there that we will live and experience that we could never have dream of, things that exceeded even our child-like imaginations. That is the life that I am looking forward to. One of mystery, spontaneity, and laughter. Bon Appetit!