Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

In Consideration of Him December 27, 2012

grief togetherBy Quasi-momma

I once was blind, but now I see, to paraphrase an old hymn.   That pretty much sums up my perception of Hubs feelings about our inability to have a child of our own together.

I’m probably not the first woman to make the mistake of thinking her husband’s lack of visible and expressed emotion meant they were “doing just fine.”  Nor will I be the last.

Men react to loss differently than women. Men have the need to be strong. They don’t like to reflect.  Instead, they act.  I remember after our second pregnancy loss, my parents flew into town to help us through it. During the first few days, Hubs and Pop were just a whirlwind of household projects. It grated on my nerves.  We were supposed to be grieving, and yet there they were painting and replacing fixtures.  By day three I lost it on Hubs.  How dare he take our time of grief and use it as an excuse to take time off to do chores around the house?  What kind of unfeeling jerk was he?  Why wasn’t he as distraught and depressed as I was?

Earlier this year as I started on the path to accepting that “mommyhood” was not in the cards for me we fought again over my need to put some space between me and a pregnant relative.  I begged to be excused from family events.  In the face of his insistence, I lashed out at him in pain and anger.  “You don’t understand,” I hissed. “You’ve got children of your own.  You’ll never know what this feels like.”

I continued to see that way for some time.   But the fact is that he was and is hurting too.  We just hurt in different ways.  It hurts him to see me grieving the loss of a dream.  It hurts him that he can’t do anything to change our circumstance or make our pain go away.  I know he’d do anything to change things if he could. He even tried by helping me look into the only thing that our resources could afford – foster care – and we were both pained to discover that it was not the right option of us either.

I’m now starting to see how badly he wanted us to have children together.  Over time, chinks in his armor are beginning to show.  Sitting in church when the pastor makes reference to his soon to be born daughter, I can both hear and feel him groan inwardly.  At the mall while viewing Christmas trees decorated with pictures and wishes of foster children, I see him choke up just slightly.   When tiny footsteps announce that the children have returned from children’s worship, we exchange sad smiles with each other. And when the inevitable cute baby or “we’re pregnant” commercial graces our television set, I see out of the corner of my eye him slowly extend a middle finger towards the screen if only to make me laugh.

Now that I’ve opened my eyes to these small and different expressions of his sadness and grief, I feel less alone in this journey.  I also feel terrible that I had not seen this in him earlier.  Being at odds with your spouse during this struggle makes the pain deeper for both of you.  I share this in hopes that someone who has experienced the pain of this perceived gap might also see the ways in which their partner also hurts.  After all, you are in this together.

Quasi-Momma (aka: Susan) is living a childless, but not childfree, life as a stepmom.  Her blog, Quasi-Momma, is a collection of her reflections on pregnancy loss, childlessness not by choice, and not-so-blended family life, sprinkled with a little gratitude and lot of heart.  

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Guest Post: Miracle Stories August 30, 2012

This post was originally published on April 20, 2012.

By Quasi-Momma

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.

 

Guest Post: Miracle Stories April 20, 2012

By Quasi-Momma

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.