J here for my quarterly post. As T said, we’ve been spending lots of time with her family (our family really), especially her sister and new baby. I must admit that I’ve been having lots of feelings I don’t quite know what to do with regarding her situation. I love sis and new baby, but it’s really, really hard sometimes too–seeing T hold a baby with such ease like its the most natural thing in the world; holding her myself and thinking “yes, this is what it should be like” only to realize this is not my baby and who knows when I’ll get to do this myself. Blah, blah, blah. Yes, I feel sorry for myself and a bit jealous sometimes too. However, I’m learning to deal with those feelings and to enjoy being an aunt.
Still, there’s this hollowness that permeates my soul, this space carved out for our baby and no little one there to fill it. We’re childless mothers, and boy does it hurt to the core of my being. T has been so good about it, though I know she feels that emptiness in her as well. We talk a lot about being mothers and what kind of mothers we want to be. There’s a friend of a friend of ours we recently saw on a visit to our old hometown. She has several children, and she yells at them–a lot. Neither of us is fond of yelling at children, but any time we have been around this woman in the past, we have kept our mouths shut about it. We know that parents don’t like advice or criticism from others about their parenting. In fact, it seems uniquely American to defend one’s parenting skills while requiring no help from anyone, not family, friends, or experts. But what Americans really hate is anyone offering advice who is not or has never been a parent. HOW DARE WE!
I guess then what happened the other night shouldn’t have come as any surprise. Not long after we discussed this experience with these people on our trip, T’s step dad made an off-handed comment that pierced a very sore spot. He was doing this weird thing with the baby where he would put her pacifier in her mouth, and as soon as she would start to calm down and fall asleep, he’d pull it out, and sure enough, the baby would start howling. He did this several times even though the baby was fussy and cranky. Then he turned to us and said, “See, this is where non-parents like you would accuse me of being abusive.”
The only thing I could think to say was “I don’t think you should refer to us as “non parents.” But before I could even get that lame statement out of my mouth, T was off the couch and running out of the room in tears.
Non parents. Wow. That’s what we are to those in the parenting club. Not “aspiring parents” or “parents-to-be”, but non-parents, non-entities who have no right to even talk about child rearing. God, that sucked.
So, I went after T, and we had a good cry. Her mom came in the room and she cried too because she was reminded in all of her bliss over being a grandma that there was one of her children who was miserable and needed some understanding. The step dad apologized, though I’m not sure he understood why his statement was so hurtful. We went to bed that night and cried for a good hour. You know, that kind of crying that has no bottom and doesn’t make you feel good afterwards? Yeah, sometimes even the people you love the most just don’t get it.
We are not “non” anythings. We’re childless mothers walking around with big fucking holes in our lives–gaping empty vortices that ache and throb every second of every day. I ended the night with a plea: “Please God, give us our baby.”