From Fear to Love: A friend’s quest

08/Jul/2008

It’s no secret we’re done having children. In fact, we’re a little gun-shy in the whole “boink-a-boink-a” department because of it. In the words of Mr. Flinger, “I am a potent man!”

Now, it’s not so much a good thing.

However, I have friends who want, crave, try to have children. Who may not get the opportunity. Who undergo treatments, stress, financial burden all to obtain the thing I take for granted on a daily basis: Motherhood.

It’s a little bit astonishing to me how much I don’t appreciate my own gift of birthing to healthy babies. Some days I look at our children in marvel and wonder and think I may explode from the sheer love of having these people in my life. Other days I wonder what-the-hell and when I can get back to me. Me. Not Mom, just Me.

There are people unable to get to the place in life where I’m at right now, sitting here with children needing and wanting me more than anything in the world. Children who squeal with delight when I walk in the door. Children who yell out, “Mommy! I was just missing you A WHOLE BUNCH!”

What kind of a rotten, horrible person am I for not loving every minute of it?

I’m normal.

I once asked Mr. Flinger if he thought I had a drinking problem. “No, I think you’re a mom” he replied. He’s right. With every second of joy and love there’s alternating seconds of frustration and irritation. Would I trade any of it? No. I wouldn’t. But I’ve been so vocal about the frustrating parts that I sometimes forget to share all the mushy wonder of my soft, lovely tiny humans that we created.

We created.

Some people can’t create. Or need help creating. Or adopt. Or suffer possible serious physical consequences stopping medication to create a home for a child in their body. And here I sit, sputtering, wishing I could take back ever negative thing I’ve said. While it’s real, true, it’s not fair.

It’s never fair.

So what do you say to a friend who can’t get to the place you are? The place you some days wish you weren’t? The place where children are so needy you cling to your sanity with threads and other days you snuggle to their soft breathing as their tiny chest rises and falls beneath your hand. The chest, the heart, the body you grew?

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Comments

  1. I’m not sure but I think maybe it’s more about listening?

    By Karen Sugarpants on 2008 07 08

  2. I was one of those women who had a horrible unimaginably terrible journey to become a mother. I thought for sure that I would LOVE every second of it, that I would never feel like running from the building screaming, but I do. Being a mom is hard. Harder than I imagined. Would I trade any of that hard hard journey getting here for those hard times now? HELL NO.
    How do you support those friends that are in that hell now? Listen. Love. Understand that the desire to have someone to LOVE as much as you LOVE LB, and O is what drives them to do what they do.
    They don’t have any hard feelings for you having a hard time with motherhood. They are just struggling because they can’t share the good and bad times with you. They feel alone, and like they will never be a part of that.

    By Momma's Tantrum on 2008 07 08

  3. Wow… thanks for this.  It is such a great post and totally made me teary-eyed at work.

    I don’t think anyone could fault you or anyone else for sometimes wishing for a break or a moment to yourself.  No one who is worth a penny would ever think there was something wrong with that or that it meant you loved your children less.

    As for your friend, I’d say all you can do is be there to listen and support.  Unfortunately, it is not one of those things you can help with or relate to for her sake, and so you just have to offer what you can… a friendly place to be, a listening ear…

    By Heather on 2008 07 08

  4. Having gone through the trying-to-conceive journey myself, and talking sometimes non-stop with other TTC-ers on numerous message boards, all I can say is: everyone is different.  There are some women who take offense any time ANY mother or pregnant woman complains.  Some don’t take other people’s experiences personally.  A lot of that is hormonal, and it’s such a roller coaster. 

    My advice would be: be sensitive, listen, be a good friend.  If she opens up to you about TTC stuff, ask gentle questions, but don’t ever be pushy.  Give hugs, and support.  “This must be so hard for you” is a good response if you’re lacking one.  DON’T EVER SAY: everything happens for a reason.  I know it sounds helpful, but if you’re struggling, especially after a miscarriage, it’s like a slap in the face.

    Don’t feel guilty for what you’re going through in your life compared to others, because no life is perfect.  Do take something positive from it.  Hug those babies extra tight, let it remind you to use gentle words.  Cherish their smiles a bit more, spend 5 extra minutes reading a book.  And on a particularly frustrating day, have an extra drink, girlfriend!

    By Andrea's Sweet Life on 2008 07 08

  5. You say, “I’m sorry. I’m here for anything you need.”

    And mean it.  Just be there. Don’t be afraid to talk to them, even if it is difficult and you feel bad that you have kids and they don’t.

    And listen…It is NORMAL to love your kids more than life itself and still want to throttle them simultaneously.

    Even when, in my case, you have lost a child and you VOW TO APPRECIATE EACH AND EVERY MOMENT FROM NOW UNTIL THE END OF TIME!!!!! It just isn’t possible.  While I DO in the overall picture, I just lost it at my kids this morning when I realized they basically crop-dusted my living room with Doritio dust.

    It’s ok.  They know you love them.

    By Loralee on 2008 07 08

  6. Thank you. And I love you. That is all.

    By Mrs. Flinger on 2008 07 08

  7. I can’t say it better than Loralee. So I’ll just say “ditto” to what she said. smile

    By pgoodness on 2008 07 08

  8. I found where you posted on MomsJournal saying you were just like Erica.  Then I saw your really nifty domain, so I jumped right over to take a look (see if it was real!).  It is real, and I was tickled pink at that.

    Then I read this post, and I’m choosing not to wipe the tears from my cheeks.  Because I am one of those people who “shouldn’t” have children.  (I intend to try, anyway.  There’s no risk to my would-be baby; the risk is all to me.)  It has cost me the only man I have ever truly loved (he wants kids, and would rather take his chances finding someone with whom he can have them than stay with me knowing it may never happen).  But I hope to find someone else who is less cowardly.

    As a person watching from the sidelines, I can tell you that you needn’t feel guilty for not “loving every minute of it.”  Raising children is a challenging job.  There are times when you have to sit on your hands to keep from using them on your kids, or bite your tongue so you don’t blurt out horrible words at them.

    But as difficult as it can be, there are times that make it all worthwhile.  You obviously recognize this.  You’re doing what you should be doing, and feeling what you should be feeling.  And your friend knows that you appreciate your status as “mother”.  Honestly, you don’t have to say anything at all.  But if your friend ever does bring it up, listen.  Don’t try to unload about how horrible it all is, because she’ll see right through that.  She knows that there are moments when you are overwhelmed by how incredible it is that you made those children, and continue to shape them every day.  Just be honest with her.  But, most importantly, just be there.

    By Smarmoofus on 2008 07 09

  9. I totally know how you feel. I love my twins beyond reason and would kill anyone who ever tried to harm them…but…there are those days where Smarmoofus is right, you have to sit on your hands and bite your tounge. It is hard and its ok to fuss about the bad. Just remember to exalt the good, too. Heck, I’d even scream the good stuff from the rooftop because its what makes it all worthwhile.

    By Vicki on 2008 07 09

  10. Smarmoofus, darnit! Now I’m trying not to cry. Thank you. The whole “sitting on your hands and biting your tounge” thing is so real. But most of the time it’s not that at all. It’s the love/shaping minds/teaching/caring/providing thing. It’s easy to forget.

    I’m sorry you lost your love over a possibility of not bearing children. I hope you find someone who will try with you and support you.

    By Mrs. Flinger on 2008 07 09

  11. Loralee nailed it in her first sentence.

    I don’t have children.  I’ll never have children.  I can’t speak for others like me, but I can say that it doesn’t bother when those who have children vent about it.  Some days you feel like the hydrant, so I understand.

    By MariaV on 2008 07 09

  12. Beautiful new page design!  I swear I just did a mental “oooooooooh, ahhhhhhh”

    By skyzi on 2008 07 09

  13. I struggle with the guilt of not enjoying every single minute of motherhood. I should- it was a long and hard road to get here… but being a mom has surely been a harder road than I ever could have imagined, too.

    By Kate on 2008 07 09

  14. You don’t say anything at all. You are just there for them as a friend when they need you. And as with life, sometimes life is sweet and sometimes it is sour. Just because you are human and your kids drive you nuts doesn’t mean anything other than that. I think everyone gets stuck in the “grass is greener” Or “I remember when” phase. But then they go and do something so incredibly sweet and you forget it all, but what you have. You said it best.

    By Heidi on 2008 07 12

  15. Gorgeous post. You just so poignantly expressed what I’m feeling all of the time lately.

    (And I must tell you, awesome blog makeover. Love it.)

    By Kaza on 2008 07 12

  16. I know this is an older post, but I need to comment.  Because I am very much like you in this way.  I was NOT planning to get pregnant with my third.  I love and cherish and adore him now, but he was totally unexpected and when I found out, I was PISSED.  And I had a hard time talking to friends who couldn’t conceive about how I was “too fertile.”

    And even now, with a hormonal pre-teen girl and two very “boy” boys, I sometimes wonder who thought it was a good idea to give me three kids.  But I love it and wouldn’t trade any of it.  I love my kids and I love being a mom. 

    But when I am faced with explaining why I live in fear of ever getting pregnant again to a friend whose one and only desire is to get pregnant, it’s hard.  I finally was able to explain that as much as they were hoping and praying to get pregnant, that is how much *I* do NOT want to get pregnant.  Fortunately, my husband understood and got “fixed” before #3 was ever born.  Of course that whole “no sex until there is no sperm” edict did wonders in bringing him around to my POV.

    (sorry for hijacking your comments!)

    By buffi on 2008 07 15