This post was originally published on April 20, 2012.
In responding to the April 4th Whiny Wednesday post, a few of us commented on the frustrations of having to deal with the inevitable, “Have you considered … adoption, fostering, egg donation, or surrogates?” It is annoying. Why do other people think (a) they have the answers and (b) that we haven’t considered whatever “solution” they are proffering?
The worst is the suggestion followed by the “miracle story.”
I was extremely surprised when I got such a story from a friend. She is a new mom who suffered several miscarriages on her way to mommy-hood. I am happy for her, and still consider her a sister-in-arms, even though she’s crossed over.
I was sitting in her living room broken-hearted over recent news of a pregnancy in the family, when the conversation turned to the financial barriers of adoption. She launched into this story of a friend who was an obstetrics nurse who managed to adopt a baby from one of those “I didn’t know I was pregnant” patients that you hear about on TV, but never quite believe they exist. The total price tag was around $6,000. What an incredible stroke of luck.
I honestly did not know what to do with that information. What was I supposed to take from it? I am supposed to camp out in emergency rooms waiting for a mom who might not want her baby? Seriously, I love my friend, but this was not a helpful story.
I think that Americans are groomed to expect a happy ending. I personally blame the entertainment industry for this. All problems are resolved in Hollywood. No problem is insurmountable. It is so pervasive that when people encounter real life scenarios that can’t be fixed, they are confounded, and that’s when the suggestions and the stories start a-flyin’.
What these well-intentioned people don’t understand is their stories usually have the opposite effect than what was intended. Instead of feeling inspired, we feel deflated. Why someone else and not us? What are we doing wrong? Have we not tried hard enough? Are we unworthy?
I do believe in God and the power of faith and prayer, but with that comes surrendering to the fact that our destiny may not look the way we envisioned it. God is not a cosmic ATM. If we all got the miracles we prayed for, everyone would be a lottery winner, right?
We all have different paths, and they are beautiful in their own way. Part of our struggle with childlessness is embracing it for what it is worth and finding the beauty in ourselves and our lives with or without baby. It is not an easy path, and, unfortunately, there is no easy way for us to make others realize that.
Luckily, we do have an amazing community here. One that reminds us we are not alone, and that in itself is something I consider a small miracle.
Quasi-Momma, whose real name is Susan, is not quite a mom, but really wants to be. In her blog, Quasimomma, she explores her struggles with pregnancy loss and facing childlessness while grappling with the ups and downs of step family life.
I can totally relate to this story. That is why I never go to baby showers any more. I can’t stand to hear about the miracle stories and the suggestions about what I should try, or politley take phone numbers of doctors, accupunturists, faith healers, prayer groups, etc. Give it up people and leave me alone! Not everyone has a happy ending but I’m ok with that. You be ok with it too.
What a great post thank you. Spot on. Relates to the fact that no one knows quite what to say so relates a ‘happy ever after’ story to fill the silence. As soon as we break the taboo that life without kids is not ok, we’ll all be better off.
Brilliant. I think your are right about the Hollywood syndrome. I find this a lot in many things in life. I am chronically single and always hearing stories of people miraculously meeting a soul mate after years alone. One friend tells me the same story every bloody time I meet him.Thankfully as I am getting old and wizened people are starting to shut up and are also not bothering me with the baby crap either. Life is hard sometimes and we just gotta bite the bullet. Thanks for writing this.
I am single after a brief marriage in my 40’s. I have heard people say, “why don’t you go to church, lots of people meet there”. The always popular “You could meet someone at the grocery store”. Or “You are such a nice person, I don’t understand why you don’t have somebody”. Folks, I am alone because I don’t want to settle for some loser. There are worse things than being alone and being in a bad relationship is one of them. Leave me alone and sprinkle your fairy dust on someone else.
Spot on quasi momma! Generally people have good intentions but actually no words are necessary- I don’t even want my situation talked about. I’ve put on a dress, have plastered a smile on my face and have showed up at your baby’s birthday party- pls leave me alone.