Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Forgetting Our Dreams October 31, 2011

I love this post, Forty, Single, and Childless from Jody Day at Gateway Women. I applaud her for having the guts to look inside herself and really think about why she wanted children. How many of us really do that?

So much of what she wrote in her post resonated with me. She writes:

“What would things have been like for me if instead of neglecting my dreams, my passions, my friends, my work, my finances (and, quite often, my common sense) during that time I’d focused on creating a life without children, whilst still remaining open and excited about the possibility that one day I might become a mother? Why did I get stuck on this one outcome, mostly out of my control, rather than take a saner, broader view of things?”

Why indeed? I often think how much I changed over the five or so years I spent trying to conceive and the past three years since. I’m more introverted, less likely to be spontaneous, more likely to just stay home. I’m not as daring as I was, perhaps not quite so “devil-may-care” about my choices. But the former me is still in there and I’m working on dragging her back out again.

But what if I’d had a different attitude to motherhood and accepted is as something that might happen for me instead of something that had to happen, or else? I wonder, with the benefit of hindsight, if I could. It certainly would have made for a different story now.

We lament the loss of our dreams, especially when our dreams include motherhood, but I wonder how many other dreams we let fall by the wayside while we’re questing for that ideal life?

Jody ends her post with a quote:

“There’s nothing as attractive as someone who respects their dreams enough to follow them.  Children are indeed a blessing, but they are here to fulfill their dreams, not ours.”

How easy it is to forget that.

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6 Responses to “Forgetting Our Dreams”

  1. Elena Says:

    Wow i love this. And finally one for the singles :-)!! I specially loved the bit about female friend’s reactions. And the one about taming sloths :-).
    I just think that it doesn’t help to feel guilty about having focused on being a mother exclusively and after childlessness feeling lost about a plan B. It’s a thin line and i think this article deals with it very well, but I believe we have to watch out for it. It’s important to see that we need to have a dream or goal in our lives (or even several of those) and that waiting and wishing for a child is not the only possible one. and be aware of the fact that the lack of perspective might very well have hit us if we had had children, once they grow up. but feeling guilty about not being able to immediately come up with a plan B after infertility/childlessness hit, is not going to help, either.

  2. Iris D Says:

    I loved this, too. I think, though, that I am pretty introspective about why I want kids. I always assumed I’d have kids, but I always wanted other things, too. For a while there, when I watched a few friends going through infertility, one with several failed IVFs, I even told myself I wouldn’t want to put my body through that. I would prefer to adopt. I was in my early 30s at the time. For me a big part has been the biological clock, the “loss” of a few close friends to motherhood, the social pressure and I would argue isolation, the fears of a future without kids, and what the author argues her friend said, the feeling that you at least know you now have a strong purpose in life: looking after your child. I am now watching my sister-in-law reinvent herself. My niece has gone off to college, and though she is still in the same city, she is not living at home. My nephew moved away when he went off to college and has stayed away for a job. She is now pretty heavily into exercise, she’s an artist and she’s making illustrated books, they’ve bought season tickets to their daughter’s university’s football games. So, yeah… kids do grow up and they are out their to fulfill their own dreams. My problem now is that I’m not sure about what my own dreams and passions are… I’m just trying to figure that out. I think if/when I do, I’ll be in much better shape.

  3. Angela Says:

    What a great post and philosophy. We recently, in March, decided to quit trying after 5 years, and I’ve been searching all over for how to deal and what to do now. This is a great wake up call. I don’t really know what my passions are anymore, I haven’t been excited about really anything in a long time. I guess it will start to come back to me, I’m only 36 so hopfully I’m not too far gone!

    It’s funny though, since childhood I’ve been ambivalent about having kids, althought the infamous “biological clock” started when I was 30. My dream was to be a pilot, and I researched going to the Air Force Academy. You know who talked me out of that one, and how? My mom….ironically, she says, “You know, it will be difficult for you to do that and also have a family, you would be away from them alot.” I was pretty much derailed at the age of 13, and I can’t help but think bitterly that I could have done what I wanted the whole time because I CAN’T have kids!!! I could have a whole freakin’ flying career behind me by now!!! HAHAHA!!! Funny joke there, life.

    Flying is really all I ever wanted to do, but I took my mom’s words for gospel and instead I’ve been just floating around ever since, just taking whatever job opportunity came up so that I wouldn’t have “SOMETHING” to get in the way of my “family.” Nothing else interested me enough to pursue with a passion. I don’t have the money to take any flying lessons now, and won’t any time soon, besides the fact that I couldn’t make a career out of it at this point anyway. I do have a good job and a good salary, but I don’t love it, or even really enjoy it. I feel like my life is being drained away in a meaningless job that I don’t care about beyond making a paycheck. At least I don’t HATE it, I guess that’s something. But what kind of bullshit settling-for-second-rate attitude is that?? I need to figure something out, apparently I’m going to have to find a hobby because changing career paths right now is out of the question. I’m the main breadwinner right now. Thank you for this post, I don’t think I really even realized what I wasn’t doing. Apparently I’m not alone!

  4. Amel Says:

    I agree with Elena that once your “big” dream has shattered (or once you realize that it has shattered), it’ll take some time for us to build other dreams…or another big dream. I remember one friend who had built a dream about her future with her boyfriend (back when we were in uni) and then they broke up and only after that she realized that during the whole relationship, she had been following HIS dreams of their future together and then the dreams crumbled and she was left with the question of: what were her own dreams before he came into her life?

    One of the things I learnt through my infertility journey is to be kind to myself despite anything. I think even if we have lost some dreams and even if we have spent (too much?) time, energy, and money on a certain big dream (or dreams), as long as we still have breath, we still have time to think of new dreams.


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