The other day, looking at Facebook videos, I came across a bit from an old sitcom where the husband and wife walk in with their newly adopted son. The family weeps with joy. Finally their dreams have come true.
Then the new mother quotes the old line about how sometimes after people adopt, they get pregnant with a baby of their own. Well, guess what?
She nods, tears streaming down her face. “I am.”
More crying, more hugs, more joy. End of scene.
I’m sobbing. Again. My afternoon is trashed. After all these years. My husband will never look at me that way. My parents will never be overjoyed to become grandparents to my kids. I will never be able to appoint a friend or sibling as godmother. I will never hold my own baby in my arms. (And yes, I will not have to wake up five times a night when she’s crying.)
I’m not telling you this so you can feel sorry for me. I watched a movie, ate dinner, and got over it until the next time. This is not about me. I want you to consider how you react.
The tears I shed every time someone has a baby on TV or in real life are not planned. They are a visceral reaction that shows me how important it was and is to me that I never had children. It’s a loss, just like the people in my life who have died. I can say anything I want: Oh, I never had time for them anyway, my man was worth the sacrifice, my life is good, I’ve got my dog, kids can break your heart . . . . I can tell myself and everyone else that it’s cool, I’m okay with it. My sudden tears on an otherwise happy Sunday afternoon tell a different story. It’s worth paying attention.
Some of you are still trying to decide whether to stay with a partner who is unable or unwilling to have children with you. Now, when you can still do something about it, is the time to pay attention not just to the words, but to your gut. All the pros and cons in the world will not give you the true answer. No one else can figure this out for you.
When someone announces a pregnancy or shows off their baby, how do you feel? Are you sad for the rest of the day? Or angry, banging doors and pots and growling at the people around you? Can you calmly say, “Congratulations” and go on with your day unscathed?
There’s your answer.
If you need to change your situation, change it. Or at least reconsider while you have time: Can I give up children to spend the rest of my life with this person? If the answer is no, fight for what you need, whether it’s adoption, fertility treatments, or a different partner. Or get used to weeping over TV babies.
That’s my tough-love advice.
I welcome your comments, even if you want to yell at me.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com