Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Helen version of broodiness

It's felt almost taboo at times discussing this here.  It's felt almost taboo discussing it at all.  I don't know why.  It's easier to pretend that babies "scare me"; that I don't know anything about holding them; almost that I love my life too much to every want children of my own.  Kids are lovely in small doses but it's so nice to give them back after Brownies or whatever.

I've been talking complete bullshit for years.

Once upon a time, when I was engaged to a guy galled Phil, we assumed that we'd end up having two, although more likely three, children.  We split up when I was 23 (unless I'd just turned 24, June 2005 at any rate).  (Wow, was I young!  I didn't feel it at the time though.).

I was 26 when I met Gav, 27 when we started going out and I assumed kids would happen at some point.  That was before I realised the full repercussions of his kidney disease and the drugs he was on.  There was a possible genetic element to some of what caused the kidney disease in the first place and there was no way that he wanted to pass anything on to any future children.  Let alone any possibly side effects of all the drugs he was on and the potential reality for me of being both carer for husband and mother of toddler.  By this time, I was willing to trade the chance of children for being married to Gavin.  It took time to deal with but I had decided that happiness with Gavin was worth far more to me than the chance to have children.

Then he passed away.

And because of my choices and what life's thrown at me, I'm 31, unmarried and childless.  Everyone I can think of that's my age is either married, has children or both.

I'd be talking even more bullshit if I said that I've never considered what life would be like if I hadn't dumped Phil.  I learnt a lot from that relationship but we were both still young and didn't have the experience to make it work properly.  Reminding myself that, had we stayed together then, I could now be getting divorced (he would cheat on me during rough patches rather than talking to me) while working on a PhD at an overseas university and looking after a small child or two does help to put it all into perspective somewhat.

I was sat with a couple of friends and the baby of one of them at lunch today.  I've always taken a step back when the baby has been passed around for cuddles before.  I've had a stinking cold and haven't wanted to pass it on.  I've been just on my way to set something set up.  Then their puddings came out before mine so it made sense that I'd end up holding him while they ate.  And he was so happy on my lap that his mum asked if I'd mind watching him while she ran the other friend back to work.  And he was still perfectly content to be bounced up and down while she was away and then the older ladies at café started on the age old "you do seem to have a way with babies, Helen".  Even my Grandad who was there was also teasing me about it a bit.  Ouch.  Perhaps I've spent too long pretending that I'm happy being child-free that they don't realise that I consider myself to be child-less.

I would love to have a child or two of my own to cuddle, tell stories to and to watch grow up.  I just haven't got to that part of my journey through life yet.  I still can't believe that I'm never supposed to have children of my own and I do wonder how I'm going to cope if God really wants me to be a children's worker.  Yet, if that's the way God wants my life to be then that's what I'll live with.  I'm sure that there's a psalm that says it perfectly but in the meantime, the Rend Collective Experiment's "The Cost" works perfectly as a prayer/answer/statement of why I'll get through it.

I'm saying "yes" to you,
And no to my desires.
I'll leave myself behind
And follow you.

I'm counting up the cost, and He is worth it.

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