Saturday, 29 June 2013

We do know a mother's love

I'm sitting in Aqaba, Jordan, looking out my hotel window at the Red Sea.  The classic "childless couple travelling the world" thing.  I know one thing - we wouldn't be doing this if either of our babies had survived, or if either of our IVFs had worked.  But we are doing it, and even though it is 46 degrees C outside (yes, that's about 115 F), it is extraordinary.

But we had some hours to relax and rewind, and so I came online.  I found a link to this post by Em.  She expresses her feelings about parenting post-infertility, and how infertility defines how she feels, and how the hardships of parenthood are similar to those of infertility.  I take issue with, but understand (sighing)  her comment about "those who aren't parents YET" and her desire to "fill our empty arms" which in itself doesn't  acknowledge the realities that for some women, their infertility outcome will be living with no kids.  (But we all know how taboo it is to mention a "childless" outcome in the IF community.)  However, that was a minor irritant in a very interesting, honest, and heartfelt post.  I have never felt that those who parent after infertility need to apologise for it, and hope very much that she didn't write her post out of survivor's guilt.  I have always just hoped that women who parent after infertility recognise the journey they have been through, and recognise the journeys of others.  And she does this. 

I particularly loved this paragraph, and wanted to reproduce it here:
"When my love for my daughter literally steals my breath and makes my heart feel like it's going to explode, when the fear of something happening to her rises to the level of spiritual warfare ... I remind myself that my infertile friends do know that love and that fear.  Many of their worst fears have been realized.  They love their miscarried and stillborn babies every day of their lives.  Many others know the agonizingly ambiguous loss of their dreams.  They love the children in their imaginations.  It is a real, powerful, mama bear love that should never be dismissed or minimized."
I love her for those last two sentences, and those last few words.  She is the first person who I feel has ever said what is in my heart.  And I thank her wholeheartedly for that.

10 comments:

  1. I haven't read Em's post, but I think where she's coming from is a viewpoint of parenting while still struggling with infertility. It's not that she's actively disputing that couples who are not parenting after infertility don't know a mother's love, she's just not exploring it.

    There's two articles that have been circulating that get at this issue. The first is a powerful one by Mary Coustas (http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-children-ive-never-known-20130617-2ocz6.html) about the love she has for the children she'll never know. I can't imagine anyone would claim she doesn't understand what it means to love after reading the article.

    The second is titled "What not to say to a childless woman" by Wendy Squires (http://m.essentialbaby.com.au/conception/fertility/what-not-to-say-to-a-childless-woman-20130504-2j0nt.html), which nicely compliments what you're saying here.

    Hope Jordan continues to be wonderful and that the rest of your trip is as amazing as the first part.

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    1. Cristy, thanks for your comment, but I think you might have misunderstood me. I didn't say she's disputing that couples who are not parenting after infertility don't know a mother's love. Quite the opposite - she said they do! And that's why I was so grateful - as she's the first mother I've ever read who has said that, and it means a lot to me. Because there are still women who could read Mary's story, or Loribeth's blog, or listen to me talk about my unborn children, and say unequivocally that we still don't know love like they do.

      I'd also read Wendy's article before, and liked it (it echoes a lot of what I - and other No Kidding bloggers - have often said) - but thanks for the link because some of my readers may not have seen it.

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  2. Oh my goodness!!! I literally CHOKED when I read those words...to read the validation in words...it's just amazing! THANKS for sharing!

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    1. I know - wonderful, isn't it?!

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  3. I read that today, and I had to mull on that- realized she is right. I never had held my baby in my arms, but that doesn't mean I never got to love him. Thanks you for the heartfelt post, as Amel said it..very validating.

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  4. Thanks so much for taking the time to consider my post and write a response to it. It really feels like an honor to hear your sincere thoughts - both the positive ones and the critiques. Thanks especially for pointing out the fact that I could have been more inclusive. You are absolutely right and I'm glad you mentioned it. I want you to know that it wasn't intentional and it wasn't because I felt it would be awkward or taboo to mention childless/childfree living. I was writing this post with about five or six very specific faces in my head - faces of women online and in my "real life" social circles who are currently pursuing IF treatments and not yet considering childfree living at this point. So I think that's why my focus was narrower than it should have been. I just want you (and all of the other women and men out there who are resolving their infertility without children) to know that my prayer for you is different. I would never wish something for you that you are moving on from. And I'm sorry if that part of my post stung a bit. Again, thanks so much for sharing my post and for doing it in such a thoughtful, real way. Looking forward to following your journey from here on out.

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    1. Em, as I said, it was a minor irritant, in a post which overall I loved. I totally understand why you expressed it the way you did. But you see from my comments, and those of the others who read this (and your post), we are very grateful for your acknowledgement that regardless of the outcome, we knew this love.

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  5. Oh! I also forgot to mention that my heart is with you in Jordan! I have actually never been to Jordan but I just love that part of the world. I've been to Israel twice and also to Turkey. If I could hop on a plane this instant and go anywhere in the world, I know exactly where I'd go - Jerusalem. Enjoy every single second of your trip.

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    1. You would LOVE Jordan. If you're interested, check out my trip blog - link is in the About Me section top right. I have at least one more post about Jordan coming.

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  6. We have 3 little ones we lost. They would now be 7, 5-1/2, and 4. I've friends with children 7 and 4 and watch them grow on FB and sometimes in person, i just can't seem to help it. We were with cousins this weekend. The one cousin married the week after we did and their son was born 3 months before our Kaylee was due. It rather takes my breath away to see him. They live in Texas, so we rarely see them. The son has gotten so tall! And i sigh, and keep my mouth shut, but can't help but wonder about life if our girl was there with all the cousins.

    I often feel like i've imaginary children, like i had imaginary playmates when i was young.

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