The excellent Emma recently wrote about struggling with living with longing for children. It was a post that resonated with lots of my friends for different reasons, whether married and struggling to conceive or single and struggling with the realisation that having kids won’t be part of their future. I loved the post because of this, and because I was grateful for someone expressing the emotions I feel at the moment when it comes to the whole baby issue.
I’m worried though, I’ve been in this place before, a place of banding together because we all feel the same about this one particular pain in our lives. I’m cautious about talking about these kinds of things with too many people in the same situation because I fear the weirdness that results when for some crazy reason we are given what we most long for in this life. Three years ago I was given something I’d battled with wanting for about 15 years. I was given a relationship and fairly soon after a husband. I’d spent lots of those previous 15 years learning how to live with being single. Lots of my friends were in the same situation and although some got into relationships there were still a core who were in the same boat. During that time I battled for rejoicing with those who got married and I got honest about living with the pain of wanting something I didn’t have.
When I got into a relationship I discovered the strangeness from the other side of the fence. Suddenly friendships changed. I felt weird about this new thing that had happened in my life. We were no longer on the same journey. We now found ourselves sharing stories from different adventures. I found that achingly hard. I’m not all that great with change at the best of times and change in the area that made up the most important part of my life was painful and confusing. I’m sure it was similar, at times, for those who saw me head off on this adventure. Thankfully friendship is an evolving thing and although it’s weird I’m grateful for the lessons of being on different adventures. Grateful that the fight to really share in the very different worlds of my friends is one worth fighting. The importance of working through the weirdness to a new kind of friendship has come home to me in the last two years since I got married.
All this leads me to hope it could be the same if I suddenly find myself pregnant, or if friends who are on this longing for a baby journey find themselves pregnant. I know it will be a strange adjustment and I know that it won’t be easy. We fairly naturally look to each others lives longing for the thing they have that we don’t, or glad that we have what they don’t have. I think there is a better way for friendship. I long for us to have the eyes to see a life that is wholly different but to know that we can seek understanding of the joys and sorrows of their own particular walk in life. It is sweet indeed to hang out with people on the same adventure as our own and compare notes. But I’m starting to think that it is even more of a privilege to be allowed into the world of someone who is on an entirely different adventure. I know it is a gift when someone from entirely different circumstances from me doesn’t look on in envy or pity but seeks to understand and enjoy my journey. I hope that I will have the courage to do likewise with them.
What about you?
What abut your friends? Are they all from the same adventure or do you know the fight to share in part in the adventures of others?