Part of me does realize that some people would envy me the fact that I have no kids. Because I haven't been focused on raising a family, I've been able to do a lot of things that others haven't. I've been all over the world. I've gotten graduate degrees. I have freedom of movement, freedom of time and space, freedom to think my own thoughts. I can take a bubble bath, read a book, volunteer for a politician or charity, go to the beach, work long hours, meditate, take a drive, go places with friends, play scrabble, write my blog. I don't have to be other-focused unless I choose to be.
Maybe I am too selfish to be a good mother. I'm too used to my own thing now. I like to think of myself as a giving, loving person, and perhaps I am. But I don't have love forced from me. I can give it as I choose. If you have children, you can't choose to love them some days and not other days. You can't bail on them when the going gets tough. You are not as important as your kids, and the choices you make have to reflect that priority every single solitary day. You have to be present and focused and giving to them constantly, without falter. And maybe I'm not capable of that. Who knows. I'll never find out. So really it's a catch-22. I'm too self-focused, therefore fate determined that I shouldn't have kids. Fate made its call, therefore I stay self-focused.
I have started to wonder just why it is that being infertile bothers me so. Is it because I really wanted to be a mom? Do I have the requisite motherly instincts and desires? Or do I want to be a mom because it's a marker of femininity in our culture and in the absence of motherhood I feel unfeminine? What kind of feminine definition have I been using to measure myself against? Am I really wanting in femininity, or have I just made myself feel this way because I haven't kept up with the Janes, so to speak? I don't have an easy answer to this question, but the fact that I can actually pose it cogently points to some burgeoning self-awareness, I think.
Who I would have been had I not lived in this particular time in history? What happened in the past to infertile women? Did we become nuns, maids, spinsters? Were we allowed to exist normally, or were we outcast? I wonder if someone has written a history of infertile women. That would be a verrrrry interesting read. I feel grateful that I live in the 21st century. It's not the best time of human history, but probably the optimal time for someone like me. I don' t believe in past lives, and so I guess I was meant to be who I am in this one. It is what it is. I am what I am.
That sounds like acceptance, but I guarantee you I'm far from that. This blogging is helping me, though. I think if I do this often enough and with enough intent, I can get the shame I feel about being infertile up and out of me. Then maybe the rest of my life won't be as colored by it.