I’m finally uploading today’s entry. I should clarify from my last post that I’ll now be posting every evening (M-F). I wanted to get this entry posted earlier today, but as often happens, life comes in and changes your plans. The following piece was also the most difficult I’ve ever done on an experience that is still fresh.
Last night I had an idea spring to mind and have since been trying to decide whether or not this is the right time to write on this. Living with anxiety sometimes brings with it certain life choices that are very personal, yet I feel this specific choice is important enough to open up dialogue with a broader audience.
Throughout history of our society, we are taught that we are to grow up, get married and have children. This has been the definition of family. But what if this cookie cutter definition doesn’t fit everybody? Before we married, my now husband and I talked extensively about children. If we’d have any, how many, ect… We came to the conclusion that we’d adopt, but never had a definite timeline or deadline.
When we became engaged, my engagement ring was too big for my hand, so a spacer was put on it. Life happened and we were never able to get it properly sized. We had plans to pass it down to our oldest child if they so chose to marry one day. Every time I looked at it I pictured our future child, down on one knee, with this ring, shining from a velvety box.
After several years of marriage, the topic of children kept creeping into our lives. Older siblings and close friends began having children, and we started discussions about expanding our family. We both love children, –I actually work in childcare–and loved the idea of providing a stable home for a child that needed one. One issue we talked about at length was how my anxiety and our collective low energy levels would affect us as parents.
Throughout those years, a funny thing happened. Those close to us with children began telling us how difficult it was, physically and mentally, and we began to see that first hand. Christmas with kids is a fun, albeit tiresome experience, even if you aren’t a parent. We also began praying about what the Lord wanted us to do in terms of expanding our family. Which leads us to Christmas 2014.
With 3 kids in the house, all under 6, Christmas at my parent’s house was filled with lots of noise and movements only equal to that of the Energizer Bunny. On steroids. After 3 days of dizzying activity, my husband and I had a long discussion, a time of prayer, and reached a conclusion. We would remain childless.
We drove back from my parents in a daze. It’s a bit disorienting when you think your life is moving in one direction, then the Lord comes in and says, “Nope. I want you to go here”. Even though we knew we were making the right decision, in a way it sucked. Big time. But you move forward, taking one day at a time. You mourn the life you thought you’d have. And you think of what your life will become.
A few months have passed since our lives path changed. On Sunday we went to the jewelry store and picked up my engagement ring. Freshly sized to fit perfectly. I wear it now with my wedding band. Now when I look at my sparkly ring, I am reminded of our commitment to those children already in our lives. To influence them to grow into awesome adults and responsible citizens. And pump them full of sugar when they visit, and give them back to their parents. 😉
Here is what I’ve learned in this experience that I want others to know: NEVER feel like you are less of a person because you choose a path that includes marriage but not children. This does NOT make you less of a person if parenting is not in the cards. If you feel overwhelmed and feel parenting might not be for you, that’s OK!
As always know that you are not alone! I’ll see you tomorrow.