The hardest part about my life right now is not having children. It’s not that I just long to have children. It’s that I long to be in the same position that my friends and ward members are in- already have one kid and are planning or about to have another. I forget that I am younger than most of my friends (at least the people that we hung out with in MO were all Alann’s friends first.) But what makes it even harder and more heart-breaking is the fact that most church people seem to forget about the women in my situation. Whenever there is a talk about women in general, the speaker lists several categories of women in our church- the young single women, the older single women, the newly married, the new moms, mothers in general, the grandmas, the moms with many children, and more often now, the divorced single mother. They always seem to forget the women who have been married a while and do not have kids for whatever reason (by choice or not). There seems to be no value placed in these women. (And no, I don’t classify myself in the newly married section. We have been married 3 years now.) The expectation seems to be that you will have children shortly after your marriage. That doesn’t always work out.
Even well meaning people don’t know the hurt that is caused by their comments. This post mostly stems from last Sunday, but I notice the same things everywhere. I try not to take offense, but after a while, it really hurts. For Girl’s Camp, we were discussing having a panel of “wonder women” (our theme is superheroes) come and talk with the girls. The ladies I work with listed several “kinds” of women that they wanted to come talk: specifically, unmarried college girls, new moms, and “old” moms. When I mentioned married women with no children, it was pushed away as unimportant. How could we possibly have anything to contribute?
This Sunday during our sacrament meeting, this feeling of uselessness really gripped me, to the point that I just wanted to bawl, right there and when I got home. I left feeling unimportant, to the ward in general and to the mothers in the ward in particular, and I had almost convinced myself to quit church all-together, before I got a hold of my emotions. What could possibly have set me off this way? It was a comment not even directed to me (and that will not be repeated) but that, to my already fragile mind, was very hurtful. (Of course it didn’t help that Alann then proceeded to compare me to the speaker, who is also a convert. When you are already feeling very unspecial, being compared to someone else doesn’t help a whole lot. I know he meant differently than I was interpreting, but it still didn’t help.)
All I want is to be needed and to have friends. But not having kids puts us in a different category than most of the people in our ward, especially the ones that are closest to our age. Those with kids are friends, and those without kids are friends, and while certain mixes do occur, it seems rare. It’s a lot like when you get married, and suddenly it is hard to stay friends with the single people you used to know. Life is just different, and it is hard to understand the other side. I get that. I know I don’t know the joys and frustrations of being a mother, especially a stay-at-home mom. (I hope someday that I will.) I also know that it has been our choice to put off having children. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been the hardest decision of my life, or that I don’t constantly wish it were different. But it has made sense for us, considering our lives up until this point. I know the Lord knows the righteous desires of my heart, and that He understands. But it seems that so few other people do.
I think most of my current feelings boil down to being lonely. My job is very lonely. Most of the day, I sit here by myself. I don’t even get to have lunch with people most of the time. So when my job is lonely, I tend to lean more on the people outside my job, but there are depressingly few around me right now that I have to lean on. I know Alann thinks that it's easy to make friends, because for him, it is. I wish it were for me. Well, that's enough of the pity party for one day.