I had a moment last night when I was wrapping a baby present for my niece, her husband and their new baby girl.
My niece is great, someone who will be a fabulous mother and has had her share of issues along the baby journey, so I don’t begrudge her this new family.
But it struck me that if our own baby had lived (due two months ago), we would have been receiving baby gifts right around now too, celebrating our own miracle, dealing with the first few weeks at home after the birth, making this massive transition.
What really caught my attention was that the ache which took over was an ache, not a piercing, heart wrenching knife wound like all the times I’ve had my period, heard the news about someone else’s pregnancy, or received an invitation to a baby shower. Read about it here.
Is that what happens? Does the sharp pain related to a lost child, a lost family of our own, start to fade away but leave a lingering, dull ache?
I’m getting much better at accepting that our chance (less than 0.5%) for a baby has passed and that the future is not as I imagined it would be, with decorating a nursery, the baby and toddler years, school runs and bake sales, teenage tantrums and constant worrying about their mental and physical wellbeing. I’m turning 43 this month and Mr Luscious is 51, and we cannot afford any more IVF.
I have realised that families take all shapes and forms, but I’m trying to be positive about what I’ve got rather than what I thought I would have.
Mr Luscious has a teenage daughter who was alienated by her mother through a series of lies, so we never get to see her. We fought back for years but the damage was done and eventually we had to accept that she’d been poisoned and we’d have to wait things out. But I hold on to hope that one day his daughter will grow up, see things clearly and we’ll have her back in our life.
We’ve also got a “quasi-semi-adopted 27-year-old German son” as he is known. Hecame to Melbourne to work for Mr Luscious a few years ago, and we managed to secure a visa to bring him back when the initial visa ran out, and have the blessing of his real parents, back in Germany, to consider him ours. It’s pretty fabulous.
And if you count all our amazing friends and extended family, we’re doing really well. Perhaps my stepdaughter or our German son will have children one day and I will get the benefit of being a grandmother, moving straight to the fun side of children, and side stepping the sleepless nights and tantrums.
Putting things in perspective
I’m thrilled that four of my best girlfriends are coming to stay at Chez Luscious this weekend, whilst Mr Luscious is off to visit his sister and her husband (the new grandparents to the aforementioned baby).
The five of us been friends for many years now and I love our catchups, thrilled to hear everyone’s news, the freedom and safety that each of us has to share our stories, good and bad, when we meet for dinner every few weeks.
But getting everyone coordinated for a weekend away has been tricky. Out of the five of us, the three with children are all dealing with various illnesses and angst, and the other two of us have other concerns. One friend can only make it for part of the time because of separation issues with her 1-year-old, and another may not make it all now because her 4-yr-old has an ear infection.
I hear these stories and feel such sadness for my friends but also relief that I don’t have these problems every day. I can live on the sidelines and be there with glasses of champagne and ironed sheets in our guest rooms when they need to visit for a break. It’s not that I don’t have problems, but I don’t have these problems.
At one of our last group dinners, I was stunned when one of them told me “you are living the life I really want” which was both flattering and surprising considering I’d been bemoaning my lack of children and she had two of them.
I know she didn’t mean that she wanted to be childless, but I know that my stories of luscious living must be an eye-roll for people sometimes. I think she meant that she also wanted time to pursue her artistic side, to learn languages, to travel, and to write books, all of the things I am able to do because I am childless.
I fully appreciate that nothing compares to holding your own baby in your arms and watching them grow, but I’m trying to make the most of the life I am lucky to have, including:
- having a brilliant relationship with the wonderful Mr Luscious
- the Luscious blog, of course
- writing my books, and having time to read the work of great authors for inspiration
- being free to go out when and where I want
- giving our dog Mabel all my motherly attention
- sleeping in
- being able to eat and drink pretty much anything I want (ie. not pregnant or breastfeeding or needing to drive kids around)
- getting to play with my friends’ children but giving them back when they become grumpy
- being able to plan glamorous holidays
- attending French and Italian classes
- being free to live anywhere we want (ie. not near schools and child-friendly activities)
- playing tennis whenever I want
- having the ability to provide a comfortable home for our friends who desperately need some R&R.
Questions for you:
Feel free to leave a comment, below.
Whilst you will need to put in your email address to comment, this is just for me (ie. not public) and you can call yourself “Anonymous” if this gives you some freedom to say how you really feel on these or related topics:
- What do you think are the best things about being childless?
- How have you coped with wanting a baby but not being able to have one?
- Have you had children and sometimes wished you hadn’t/or regretted some of things you would have liked to have done?
Please, no “God will give you a baby if you really want one” or “You can just adopt!” type comments. They are well meaning but not something I can bear to hear today.