My answer to the piece in today’s Huffington Post Parents, “20 Ways Motherhood Changes Your Perspective”
I try to be the better human, I really do. Today was no different as my eyes passed over the Huffington Post Parents article, “20 Ways Motherhood Changes Your Perspective.”
I fought the temptation. “Don’t read it, S. You’ve got things to do”. My (supposed) higher minded approach to rebuilding my new life I didn’t chose is to focus on myself, not on what’s going on around me.
Apparently, that goes better on some days than on others. And to be honest, my raw material in this department is pretty shabby. So I succumbed, gambling that this might be an opportunity to vent some justly earned smugness.
One part amusing, one part mildly irritating, it so did not disappoint. Considering the author was writing about what is all too often lauded as the toughest job on the planet, the only job that can make you know “real love” (haven’t you HEARD??), I found its trite fluffiness rather amusing. I’m like, “That’s all ya got? That’s as deep as you can go on the supposed epiphanies of motherhood?” The author may as well have put ME down for a nap.
As I acknowledged she has just as much of a right as anyone to blatantly appeal to
the asses the masses, I also noticed some of the “changed perspectives” she listed could come from many other life situations besides parenthood. That no doubt provoked a few justifiable eye rolls. After all, it’s not as if parents have a monopoly on “true multitasking” or on seeing the world through the eyes of a child. It seemed as though this was implied, albeit unintentionally.
In trying to exercise my one drop of maturity for the day, I made an attempt to pinpoint where (in me) my irritation was coming from. The escape of “Yeah, I’ll give you a list!!” multiple times from my lips while reading hinted it was time for a little self investigation.
Was I bothered that I could not connect? In reading about how motherhood changes a person I may as well have been reading Arabic. Was it that my own list of changes is so drastically different from those of the cultural norm of motherhood? Was it that I needed a list at all? Do I have a genetic disorder that leads me to be irked by generic simplicity through no fault of my own? Probably all of the above.
Is there anything I can do about it? As with most conundrums and debacles that ripple from the disease of infertility and involuntary childlessness, the answer was mostly “No”. Shocking, I know. I could however, make my own list, a list that my mind already seemed to be composing with the fury of a raging panther.
I piggy backed on the original list whenever I could, which you’ll notice is practically never.
So here it is folks,
24 Ways Losing My Children to Infertility Has Changed My Perspective
1) Life isn’t fair. Lend a hand whenever you can, to yourself first if life was unfair to you.
2) Grief is a necessity, not a choice.
3) There are a multitude of other ways to contribute to the world besides raising a child, none better than the other.
4) Being a Mom unequivocally does NOT make someone a more compassionate person. Awareness does.
5) Connection with one’s most visceral of selves is something not everyone has had life force upon them, but it makes you more alive.
6) I’m stronger than I ever knew.
7) Pain is undeniably human. My emotions don’t get the better of me, they are the better of me.
8) We live in an emotionally averse, and thus grief averse culture.
9) I still drink coffee, but I need wine. Lots and lots of wine.
10) Abidance, validation and a non – judgmental ear are the three best things you can provide a person in crisis. “Fixing” always strikes out.
10a) The above are easy to preach and complex to practice.
11) A lot of shit happens. What surrounds a person in their life is not necessarily a reflection of them.
12) Silence can be deafening, it takes a present person to shoulder a quiet home.
13) Grieving the loss of one’s children while adapting to a child free not by choice life in this pro-natalist world could very well be one of the toughest jobs on the planet.
14) Grieving the loss of the future you wanted and thought you would have is a real thing. I live mostly in the present, knowing full well no one is promised anything – this moment is all we really have.
15) People “meaning well” does not give them a free pass to say hurtful, minimizing things in response to the loss of one’s children. Or in any other life crisis for that matter.
16) The world needs a whole new paradigm when it comes to perceiving and talking about human reproduction.
17) The world needs a whole new paradigm when it comes to valuing women outside of motherhood.
18) Evolvement, sleeping in, traveling, freedom and a tsunami of personal transformation are just nifty but are no replacement for the children I lost and they never will be.
19) What doesn’t kill you can break you.
20) What doesn’t kill you or break you can still really really suck.
21) I don’t have to justify my life to anyone. (But if you ask, I will answer you. With the utmost directness, regardless of any discomfort that may cause).
22) In spite of everything I’ve gone through, I amazingly haven’t forgotten how to see the world through the eyes of a child.
23) If your parents stood by and unconditionally supported you through your infertility and childlessness, as all good parents should do, you gain a new and deep appreciation for your parents. Not all parents do this, however.
24) Having come through four years of trying to conceive, one surgery, ten failed fertility treatments and grieving and mourning the loss of our children with both myself and my marriage intact, I know my capacity to love is as vast and deep as anyone’s.