The Answer and My List……

Tonight I watched a birth vlog of a Youtuber that I follow. And I’m not gonna lie. I had a twinge of jealousy.

Jealousy over the fact that I’ll never know what it is like to stare into the eyes of someone who has Chad’s and my DNA.

Jealous that Chad and I won’t have little “us’s” running around.

And then I remembered that, unlike many infertile couples for whom adoption isn’t an option, we have been given a gift.

A few months ago God spoke to us and actually told us why He chose us to remain childless.

We were given an answer.

And even to this day I cherish that. But I am not sure how to feel about it because I know SO many couples and women who long to become parents to humans, and for whatever reason it never happens.

And they never discover the why.

And so I was torn about whether or not I should even write this. Because the last thing I want to do is rub salt on other’s wounds that we have an answer and they don’t.

But in the spirit of encouraging others that there is light after the darkness of childlessness, I am sharing our story of getting an answer.

Our answer was two-fold.

Firstly, the Lord laid it upon our hearts to release our time, finances, and other resources to bless those around us who need help. To ease their burdens.

And finally He asked me to make a list of parents, specifically those who are single. Every day I am to go over each name and pray for them. Recognizing that spiritual support is an integral part of parenting and the more prayer a parent can get the better.

So that is the story of our answer. And I hope our story gave you hope and encouragement.

Cheers!

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When The Cheerleader Has Lost Her Pep…….

First things first: You know those weird people that can’t wait until after Thanksgiving and decorate for Christmas in early November? Yeah. As of this year I am one of those people. I literally needed some peace on Earth after the election. I may also be rocking out to Christmas music already. I recommend this one: https://sidewalk-prophets.myshopify.com/products/merry-christmas-to-you-cd

I even brought these festive pajama pants out of hibernation.

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I also spent some time with a good friend of mine. We were both election weary, so we met together for lunch and then wanted to watch a no thinking, fluff movie to get our minds off of things.

We chose Ocean’s 11. A movie that is about a power hungry casino owner who’ll stop at nothing to go after anyone that steals from him…….

Yeah. We didn’t quite think that one through. 😛

Now let’s get on to the topic of the day……


Next month on December 25th, it will be 2 years since Chad and I began our childless journey (merry freakin’ Christmas 😛 ). And it hasn’t always been easy. But we’ve been able to move on with our lives and find hope and purpose.

And I’ve been able to encourage others in our childless community who are just beginning their journeys and are grieving and raw. I remember being there.

I was there again last week.

Sunday morning began for us completely normal. We went to church and I volunteered in the nursery. I really enjoy it. I get my baby fix while helping parents enjoy the church service.

But by the end of service last Sunday I was near tears. It had randomly hit me again that I’d never experience the joy of seeing my child run to me when I picked them up from the nursery.

I was so devastated that I was unable to hold my niece later that afternoon.

And I’ve never been able to not hold a baby. 😦

A couple days later I burst into tears during a diaper commercial. (Sidenote: Dear Hulu, bringing back the “swap ad” feature would eliminate this trigger. 😉 )

So to sum up, I had a “bad baby week.” It was the worst one I had experienced in years and  caught me completely off guard.

And even this morning I was watching a video on YouTube of a baby baptism and I couldn’t finish it.

GAH! I guess it was shortsighted of me to think that I’d be completely OK 2 years later.

This whole childlessness thing is weird. You can be fine 99.9% of the time, but that .1% hits you without notice and it hits HARD. I wonder if this will get worse with age? Oh boy!

I’ve always been a “glass half full”gal. Always looking on the bright side, especially with being childless, but lately I’ve realized lots of people around my age are having kids and therefore having experiences that I can’t relate to. And I feel behind.

But then I’m reminded that adopting a kid because all your friends have one is a terrible reason to adopt.

It’s very strange to be in this position, as I’ve been a positive voice in my local community of childless couples, encouraging all of them that you can still have hope and a purpose while living childless.

But now I am in need of encouragement myself. And it’s a weird position to be in. I most likely took my positive attitude for granted. And now that it’s gone, I don’t know what to do.

I have an ache in my soul and I don’t know what to do next.

And this just plain sucks. And I have no idea how long this funk will last.

Dear reader, if you are also struggling with childlessness, however long your journey has been, you are not alone and I am praying for you.

You have a purpose. You matter. You are loved.

Rebuttal to Little Things Sarah Delgado: On the Definition of Parenting

A couple housekeeping items today before we get into it:

1. Yes, I realize today is Friday and I normally do a funny/stress free post about something completely stupid…..I promise the stupid is coming tomorrow or Sunday. 😀 😛 LOL!!

This piece crammed itself into my already full brain and I had to get it out to relieve some of the pressure. It’s also on a topic that I am passionate about and want to change the way we view childlessness……with that said…..

2. This post is a rebuttal to an article I read on the Little Things web page. The original piece can be found here.


Dear Sarah, first of all I want to offer my empathy. You seem pretty stressed out and overwhelmed. But you are in luck! Although I don’t have human children, I DO work in childcare. And I can come over anytime you need a date night or just a nap. 😉

I wanted to address some of your 15 claims that somehow prove having a human child is better or vastly different than having a furbaby.

But first let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a 36 year old married mother of 2……cats. Yes, that’s right. My kids have 4 legs and fur. My husband and I have been married for a little over 3 years, and are members of the Childless Not By Choice community.

And adoption and surrogacy are not possibilities for us.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to bring up something so personal to garner sympathy. I just want to bring to light a possible common thread the people you callously addressed in your article are more than likely facing.

And it sucks. You want a human child so badly but you come to the place where you realize you’ll have a new normal for your life and you work hard to accept it.

Then you read an article about how you really aren’t a parent because your kids don’t look like the traditional definition of a child. Even after the author of said article talks about the, “ever more fluid definition of family. Love has so many shapes and I love and honor all of them….”. Until apparently that love trickles down to a mammal with 4 legs and a tail.

Oof!

Now I do realize that you probably don’t realize how much pressure, stress and shame we are put under by society by not being able to reproduce or adopt, but it is very real. And we are all working extremely hard to change society’s mindset. It is getting better, but there is still a long way to go.

Now, about that list of 15 things…..

1. While it is true that dogs and cats age faster than human kids (I’m not even sure why you brought this up, but there it is), the flip side of the coin is that means we will lose our children in our lifetime. And if we keep adopting, this will happen multiple times.

Have you ever had to sit on the bathroom floor holding your cat while she’s having seizures and looking up at you terrified and you are helpless to stop what is happening and pray that you don’t have to put her down? But you do that night because there was nothing else you could have done.

The pain of losing a furbaby that way is something I don’t wish on anybody. And dammit if someone is gonna try to make me feel like less of a mom because the child I watched die in my arms had four legs instead of 2.

3. Hmmmm….So it’s frowned upon to drop your kid off somewhere to have them bathed. Have your kids ever spent the night at a babysitters house (who you paid) and had a bath in the process?? I hate to break it to you, but that my dear is pretty much the same thing. 😉

5. When my husband and I welcome a new furbaby into our house, it’s for keeps. And while in some rare cases re-homing is the only option, that is a last resort and those parents that you describe are in the minority.

6. Part of being Childless Not By Choice also means we’ll never become grandparents of tiny humans. Thanks for hammering that point home.

7. This is almost too horrifying to even respond to. But I’m going to anyway. Those fellow pet parents that I know take way greater care of their furbabies when traveling then simply chucking Fluffy into a bag and stowing him under the seat. If we have to fly, we’ll leave them at a trusted babysitters or drive if we need to bring them along.

8. Speaking of horrifying………There is a reason responsible pet parents have adopted the hashtag “Adopt Don’t Shop.”

9. Do you know how often we have to buy cat food and litter?? And heaven help you if your furbaby is allergic to either one. So you have to keep buying different ones until you find the one that works. That can add up fast. And have you seen how expensive flea treatments can run? Then there are the trips to the vet for vaccines to keep them healthy. Oh yes, our kids get vaccines just like yours. The cost of which can add up fast.

12. Some say you haven’t lived until your dog has tried to hump your leg……several times a day. Our newly adopted kitten is also still trying to breastfeed….and he has sharp teeth. Such is life when you are a pet parent. 😉

13. Try sleeping at night when you have just brought a new fur baby into your home and you are terrified of what he can get into in the course of a night because you are still grieving the sudden loss of your oldest cat. A death that you could not have been prevented and your mama heart can’t take another loss. Add to this your natural proclivity for anxiety and insomnia and you wonder how you ever sleep at all.

I think that about covers it. I do want to say that I wish nothing but the best for you. Enjoy your human child and be grateful you are able to have her and watch her grow up. But please never forget those of us in the trenches of grief. Who’s love of their fur babies in no way takes away from the love you have for your human kids.

No matter what we call them.

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Two of the three loves of my life. My boys. I captured this moment one night last week after Chad had gone to sleep and our Riley climbed onto the bed and curled up next to his daddy and fell asleep. In that moment my heart swelled with love so profound I couldn’t explain it…..I am truly blessed. ♥ 

A Mother’s Day Blessing….In the Middle of The Greeting Card Aisle…..

I had a pretty great weekend including two dinners out with Chad, amazing sangria (thanks Olive Garden!), and the best one hour nap I’ve ever taken.

Seriously, it was amazing.

But perhaps the best part of the weekend came when we were out getting mother’s day gifts (yeah, we’re last minut-ers. Don’t judge 😛 ). I was perusing the greeting card aisle when I saw them. Among the categories of “Birthday,” “Get Well Soon,” and “Happy Graduation” was a category I had never seen before and my heart skipped a beat.

“Mothers Day: From Cat/Dog”

Oh how my heart sang!

In a culture that touts mothering tiny humans as the ultimate goal, it definitely blessed me to finally see pet-parenting acknowledged by a big national chain store. For the mothers who don’t have tiny humans, but love and care for their cats and dogs in the same way as if they were human.

Thanks CVS Pharmacy for including all mothers in the celebration this year.

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image appears courtesy of: www.bigkittydesigns.com

Blessed Are The Nurturers……

Blogger’s Note: To the woman who is sad on Mother’s Day because she has empty arms, you are loved, you have worth and you matter to the world.


Blessed are the nurturers,
Those who teach our children,
Who drive the buses to and from school,
Who make sure our tiny humans cross the street safely.

Blessed are the nurturers,
Who had the dream of human children,
But live with empty arms.

Blessed are the nurturers,
Who stay up all night,
Tending to a sick dog or cat.
Who worry about their fur-babies crossing over to The Rainbow Bridge too soon.

Blessed are the nurturers,
The nannies, the after-school sitters, the kind souls that step in
When a parent has to work long hours or just needs a break.

Blessed are the nurturers, remembered and celebrated on this day.
May we always appreciate all the do.

Amen!

 

Viewing Childlessness as a Blessing……And Decreasing World Suck

A caveat: I tend to try hard to look at the bright side of any situation. This has also been true while my husband and I have been on this childless journey for over a year. Yes, we’ve mourned and there have been hard moments, but overall, I’ve tried hard to figure out a way to live positively and ask the Lord how I can use my childlessness for good. Now I also understand that some of these things are not feasible for some couples. If you aren’t able to do some of these things, don’t sweat it. I just wanted to use this post as an encouragement to those that are in the pit at the moment. To encourage you that you can have a fulfilling life after the pain of childlessness.

Look around and find those in your community that need help. Whether financially or otherwise. Maybe there is a single mama who you know who hasn’t had a night out in a long time. Offer to babysit so she can have a night out, or just a much needed nap or bubble bath.

If you’d like to help out others financially, set aside a certain amount each month in a discretionary fund to do good things in the world.

If it’s difficult to be around kids, volunteer with an animal shelter. Or volunteer to foster dogs and cats that need loving homes. You can find more information about fostering a furbaby at your local Humane Society or by contacting rescue groups in your area. A tip on working with rescues, make sure they are a legitimate 501(c)3 and not a place that is pretending. There are places out there that say they are legit, but are only interested in hoarding animals for profit. One note on fostering: while you are fostering either dogs or cats, the rescue group or shelter will provide you with food while they are in your care.

Give to charities that you are passionate about. Whether it is your time or money.

Volunteer with your local nursing home, reading to residents or just visiting with those who don’t get any visitors.

Life after childlessness is tough. But there are ways you can regain a life of joy and hope.

Remember, you are never alone!!

Cheers!

What a Difference a Year Makes and New Years Resolutions…

During our Christmas vacation, I shared the following photo on Facebook:

christmas 2015

The caption was as follows: “What a difference a year makes! Praising the Lord for his mercy and grace!”

Of all the 32 likes, I’m wondering if anyone thought about what this picture represented to me, beyond the length of my hair.  In contrast, here is a picture taken last year around the same time:

christmas 2014

Besides the shorter length of my hair is something that you can’t see; how broken I felt inside. See we had just come to the conclusion that we’d not have children.

I’ve blogged about this several times. My first entry can be found here. The rest can be found at the bottom of that same page under “related.”

At this time last year I was wondering what my purpose in life was. If I wasn’t supposed to be a mother, what could I do to fulfill myself? Would I ever be happy not being a mom? Would my marriage crumble under this stress?

It’s been an unexpected year so far. A year filled with joy and hope. I actually did give birth in February; to my blog. A place for me to give people hope and a purpose. And to remind them that they are never alone in their struggles.

I also learned more about the new community I was a part of: the awesome community of people who are Childless Not By Choice. A community that I am grateful for. The community is a place I can go when I’m feeling down or frustrated. And they are always encouraging, always supportive.

Through this community I’ve realized that each CNBC story is as diverse as the snowflakes that have yet to fall outside my window. Although each is unique, they are all valid and meaningful. There is a sacredness to each narrative.

I don’t know why my story has so far been hopeful. Yes, I’ve had days when I’ve felt a loss, but I’ve also had more days filled with promise. My marriage is as strong as ever. And I think I’ve found my purpose; as a blogger to help others understand the plight of the CNBC, and as a child-care provider. I’ve also realized the important role I play in the lives of my nieces and nephews (My newest niece will come into the world next week and I couldn’t be more excited. 😉 ).

So this year ends with hope. And excitement. I actually have a new years resolution that I think will stick. It’s a goal really (is there a difference? ). But I think I’ll leave it at that till I reach 200 blog entries. Don’t worry, I’m actually almost there. I have a few things to flesh out before I make the official announcement anyway. Till then, always remember you are never alone….especially as this year ends and another begins! Oh, and Jesus loves you 😉

Cheers!

Here is a song I can’t get out of my head and I think it’s a great one to start a new year. While my situation is different, I think the lyrics still apply….living this year with anxiety and childlessness, I feel like the lyrics, “I’m gonna do all the things that you said I never could” still apply to me and the “you” in the song is anxiety and doubt.