Thursday, September 6, 2012

Filling My Life with Other People’s Children

Yes, it has been a loooong time since I’ve posted! I spent most of the year not thinking about kids of my own. Or at least, trying to not think about them. I had a few ideas for posts, but each time felt like I couldn’t focus on this blog at that moment.

One of the things that filled my life this year is other people’s children. This is an emotionally charged topic for us infertiles. Most of us experience so much longing for children of our own, envy is unavoidable. It’s not that we’re not happy for those that have kids. It is completely possible to be happy for someone and jealous of what they have at the same time. It’s part of the grief we have for that loss of what we expected. The loss of a dream of children, whether one or many, no matter how temporary or permanent.

I was there a couple of years ago. I’ve been on this TTP journey for five years now. Between years one and three-and-a-half was the hardest. I went through my miscarriages, my first failed IVF, and I couldn’t bear pregnant bellies, babies, or hardly kids of any age. When I was younger I found other people’s kids mostly irritating anyway. It seemed like so many of them were undisciplined. Now I have a better understanding of child development, and while there are still some brats that I will not hesitate to yell at or lecture, most kids are mostly good, and some even highly entertaining and/or helpful.

I have my Priest to thank for helping me move past my jealousy about other people’s kids. He knew about our infertility and miscarriages, and at the three-year mark, he suggested I help teach the Pre-K Sunday school class. It was hard at first. Seeing that adorable bunch of three and four year olds most Sundays was very emotional for me. But it was also exhausting and fulfilling. The following year, I took over as head Pre-K teacher, and I’m doing it again this school year. It has been wonderful watching them grow up, and even brings a tear to my eye as they move on to their Kindergarten class. We take a summer break from May through September, and I am so excited to start back up in October, and meet my new batch of three year olds!

I also have my nephew to thank, via my only sister. My sister got pregnant in between my two pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. I was so excited for her, and at the same time jealous. Even now, I still struggle with jealousy during others’ pregnancies. My Monchichi (my own personal nickname for my nephew) was born just past my third year mark. From day one, I have felt a connection with him that is indescribable. He reminds me of my sister as a baby, and it sort of feels like watching my best friend grow up all over again! (I’m over four years older than my sister.) I miss him so much when I’m not with him, and much of my traveling this year has been to visit him. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to come visit Aunt Jamie! He’s almost two, and we have conversations where he talks nonsense and I pretend to understand. I also give him raspberries, hang him upside down, and play silly games with him. We laugh so much together! I love him to pieces.

Finally, I have my Godkids to thank, via their mom, my friend Rebecca. Technically, we only sponsored the boy, but I don’t generally feel the need to distinguish them on that level. If that little girl ever needed me, I’d be there for her as much as for our Godson. The boy is 10 and the girl is 8 and a half. They’ve been in our lives for almost 2 years now. This past year I’ve had the opportunity to have them visit on an almost weekly basis. We do some schoolwork, character building, some sports, games, art projects, watch some cartoons, eat dinner and they sleepover. I often read to them at bedtime. They bring such innocence and light into my life! On weeks when I don’t get to spend time with them, life just isn’t quite as good.

I have other friends and family with kids who I would love to know better, too. Unfortunately, many of our friends dropped off the map once they had kids. Some people seem to think that since we don’t have kids, we don’t want to be around them. Admittedly, that may have been true once upon a time, when we were actively grieving. But it hasn’t been for awhile now. Sadly, we have lost friends over these years dealing with infertility and pregnancy loss. But, it has made more room in our lives for our younger friends!

For those of you dealing with infertility, how do you feel about other people’s kids? Has your experience changed over the years? Do you think you’ll try to have more of other people’s kids in your life?


  1. I wish so badly that I had the sort of relationship with my niece and nephew that you do with your nephew. I rarely see them even though they only live minutes away. I wish so badly that I could watch them grow and for them to bond with me as their aunt. I may be jealous that my brother has them, but I am happy for him and my SIL and I love those kids to pieces.

    1. Oh, Rach. Yes, I feel so lucky to feel close to him, even when he lives far away. *hugs*

  2. Oops every time I try to comment I lose the comment. I just wanted to say that I appreciated this post, because it definitely resonates. I currently can't stand the sight of children. They don't annoy me- I adore them as much as I ever did. They just remind me of what I'm missing AND this fact that, I may never have that experience. I avoid all of my friends and family who have kids, which basically at this point is everybody. So this is not a healthy long-term solution. Sometimes I actually think about moving out of the country so I don't ever have to see or visit anyone I know. But they have kids in other countries, too, don't they?? It's interesting that your priest's advice was to immerse yourself in the very thing you wanted to run away from. Sounds like he was right, the experience did give you peace, but I still can't personally imagine having anything to do with people's kids right now.