Friday, September 30, 2011

Crossing Over

I have thought about this post for quite some time, and the easy thing to do would be not to say anything. While I may invite some criticism and verbal fire, I have to say this. There is a difference between how you are treated being childless vs. having (or expecting) children.

There really IS a magical line you cross, some rite of passage, some special unwritten club membership you receive upon getting pregnant. When you are childless, you sense that line is there, but you can't quite put your finger on it. It doesn't exist with everyone. There are those who manage to make it less apparent or invisible entirely, but as one who has recently crossed the line from a long barren drought, I say, it really does exist.

The reasons it exists could be greatly varied. I am sure it isn't an intentional exclusion. It isn't a conspiracy. It isn't that women who have babies are intentionally trying to shut out those who don't. It isn't some evil ploy, rather an unintentional clique. I suspect it has something to do with feeling like others can relate to them, and they have something in common. There are women in this world whose entire existence is consumed by child-rearing, and when they try to relate to someone who isn't experiencing or pursuing child-rearing (for whatever reason, intentional or unintentional), they are at a loss for words. They just can't connect. Unfortunately this can come off as being judgmental or aloof.

There are also those, I am sure, who find themselves unhappy in their parenting circumstances, and may be experiencing some self-loathing. When you aren't loving yourself, you sure aren't going to be able to share the love with anyone else! This is likely the exception, and not the rule, but maybe there are those who envy the childless, strange as it may seem. I know I personally have experienced firsthand the comments of close friends who literally, and rather vindictively said, "I can't wait to see YOU suffer." I wanted to reply, "I'd love to, if it would mean having children!"

Maybe they felt that I was judging them in their parenting (which I wasn't), or perhaps they just felt insecure about what they were doing. I can't really explain why someone would say something like that. Of course parenting isn't easy, but nobody should wish ill tidings upon a friend. Children are a blessing, despite the struggle they may inflict at times. Also, it's unfair to assume that one has not suffered simply because they have not had children. Indeed, not having children is a blistering fire of its own that a woman with children may never come close to experiencing.

Well, there. I have said it. There are those who will deny, or argue the point, but I feel I have genuinely been fair to both parties, childless and with child. It just had to be said. I just hope that I may be one of those friends that will never alienate a friend, no matter their status, parent or no.

1 comment:

  1. I was childless the first four years of our marriage, but I don't remember anyone saying anything unkind or wordlessly making me feel a separation between us. Guess I was lucky. I've heard other women say they have felt the way you did. :-(


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