Redefining Yourself (and Friendships)

Our latest guest post comes from Barbie. Longtime readers will remember her as a central player in a previous post from Coming2Terms. Her sister-in-law wrote about how she and her husband were trying to help those in Barbie’s life comprehend the long-standing difficulties associated with infertility. Here’s more from Barbie herself as she takes steps to redefine herself and her friendships. The quote she includes on her Facebook page comes from Joseph Campbell: “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

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What an unexpected journey life has turned out to be. So much for first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage…

While I am in the beginning phase of moving toward the new path of a child-free life, society has made it hard to do. It doesn’t know what to do with those of us who don’t fit the formula … Those who don’t want kids. Those don’t want marriage. Those who can’t have kids. Those who haven’t found the right partner, etc….

In dealing with infertility I tried to remain an optimist. I am one by nature. Most people would say I am always happy, that I am not an “asker” and that I try to deal with my own crap on my own (well, except for my husband who is not exempt from my unhappy moments). It has been a difficult 7+ years in my 30s living in the suburbs amid a veritable breeding ground of families with children. My friendships have been strained — not only because I’ve felt left behind, but because we don’t share the common bond of raising children. It’s been hard for them to understand that often I don’t want to participate in their kid-centric lives — that it can been so heartbreaking.

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Yet, I have found understanding on their part due mainly to the fact that my lovely brother and sister-in-law bought our closest friends the book, Silent Sorority. What was unbearable is now bearable in many ways. It used to be “look — this is what it’s all about” as they cradled their child in their arms or complained about the baby weight, or how hard life is now. I still get the occasional “it must be nice to sleep in,” or “it must be nice to travel all the time” — somehow making ME feel bad for such a “selfish” lifestyle

“HA,” I want say to them. The trade off sucks but while you all have gloated more than you realize I will kindly travel and sleep in and not feel bad.  I have to live my loss every day for the rest of my life. I won’t feel bad that you have to deal with tantrums, no sleep, canceled plans, etc. While I am not saying it’s easy, yours are passing moments — they are what you signed up for. Ultimately, those bad days go.

I am now redefining my place on earth. As part of that I say: if having your kids makes you happy then you cannot fault me for what I do to survive, for doing what makes me happy. We both must find a middle ground between the haves and have nots.

If having kids is one of life’s greatest achievements then mine must be getting through this life without them.

I believe somehow we all go on our own journey and whatever it is should be respected.

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If you would like to submit a guest post, please email me at ptsigdinos (@) yahoo dot com.