I know, I know. I’m a young girl who’s been married for all of 5 months and I have zero children and therefore know nothing about parenting. If that’s what you’re thinking, you’ve almost got it. I certainly don’t claim to know much about being a parent. But I know an awful lot about not being one. I’ve had 22 years experience. 6 of those have been in the knowledge that in all likelihood I’ll never know about being a parent from first hand experience. And, to be honest, that stinks. I’m not talking about a little bad smell here. I’m talking gut-twisting stink. Since I was 16 I’ve had to face up to the fact that I’ll probably never hold my own child, never hear anyone call me Mummy, never be able to make my husband a Dad, never get to use the list of favourite baby names I’ve had stored up for years and all the rest.
Since getting married it’s got both harder and easier. Easier because I never thought I would be married and so being given this gift is good enough for me – I certainly don’t expect any more. Easier because I’ve been a lot more ill and so the reality of how I simply couldn’t care for a baby hits home more. Harder because I have a real, great person to add into the sentence ‘never be able to make my husband a Dad’. Harder because having babies is what married people do. Harder because people make comments about it now.
There’s not many situations I like less than the one in which I’m having a conversation with a parent and they’re trying to make me feel better by telling me how much money or time or energy or effort their children cost them. It’s not fun for me and it’s not fun for the child standing beside them.
I suppose one of the biggest things about being a mother is the giving love. I suppose that in every woman/person there’s a desire to give giving love. There are ways to live giving love to other people but in no way are those comparable to the way in which you live giving love to your child. Maybe that’s why there’s an emptiness in childlessness. They say that you have to love to feel pain. Maybe giving love hurts as much when you can’t express it.
I don’t know. I don’t have solutions. I don’t have answers. I know there’s hard things about being a parent and hard things about not being a parent. I can’t sort those out. Stuff hurts sometimes. But I guess the important thing to remember is that it’s ok for stuff to hurt. We can be sad. We can cry. As long as we do it with Jesus in sight. But the best thing is that he doesn’t let us be sad and cry on our own. He’s there with us. And he knows what it’s really like for stuff to hurt.