Last week we went out for an aperitivo (drink) with our landlords. I was looking forward to meeting them properly, and thought they might know some interesting places to go. Sabina mentioned in her email that they have a three-month old baby. I could tell from the gushing emails from Sabina that she was a head-over-heels-in-love-with-her-baby mother. She was so excited, she said, to introduce us to her baby.
I was less excited. I wasn't dreading it, by any means. I just hoped it wasn't going to be one of those awkward occasions. You know, the old "expect the worst" feelings we always seem to have around events like this. (More accurately, it should be "expect the worst, and makes yourself feel horrible in the process.") Anyway, I shouldn't have done that. Because anticipating the worst doesn't actually help. And besides, it was fine.
Our landlords were very nice, the baby was beautiful and happy and calm the entire time, and the only time it was mentioned that we didn't have children was when I volunteered the fact. It was in fact a very pleasant evening (despite the humidity and heat), and I almost found myself wishing I'd asked if I could hold the baby. Just for fun. Not to torture myself. Not to imagine what it would have been like to have had my own. No. Just for fun. That's how good it was.
And the only reason I write about it here, is to provide evidence that it does get easier. (Yes, I'm ten years on, and so I imagine a lot of people would roll their eyes and say "about time!" But that's another post.) I know it might often seem that it is easy for me to say it. But I think when we recount real life encounters where we feel fine afterwards, it counts as actual evidence. And so I hope it helps you too.
A small PS. Sabina and I communicated via email. She wasn't confident with her English, and I wasn't confident with my Italian. So I'd double-check what she was saying with Google Translate. The name of her baby - which is a beautiful name I think - always translated as "detrimental." I hope she never discovers that particular fact.