This reference to loss is not directly related to me, for once. I’ve reached a point where I can think back to our own losses without any sharp pangs or deep mourning. The passing of time has worn that jagged edge down quite a bit.
I’ve been following infertility and adoption blogs for several years and lately there’s been a common theme. (Ever notice that, that a certain thing starts popping up all over?) Lately I’ve been reading a lot of posts dealing with the terrifying reality of losing a child during the adoption process.
One line in particular took my breath away: “we were parents for two and a half days. And then we weren’t.” I was just kind of shocked with how well I know that feeling, how much I understand that particular sorrow.
It’s a difficult but valuable thing to marinate on. Some folks are incomplete, broken without children in their lives. I can imagine, on the flip side, being broken if we keep trying and losing. Is the mere possibility of children (never an assurance) worth the surety of ongoing, years-long sorrow and loss?
We are coming up on six years of infertility and the last year has been the most peaceful, the least heartbreaking, the most rewarding. Not coincidentally, this is the first year I’ve truly let the “kid thing” lie. As we head into real adulthood and start to be aware of points-of-no-return off in the distance, I begin to have a greater appreciation for those silent few who can’t have kids and just… don’t.
It’s not from a desire to be childless or the lack of a suitable mate or even for want of trying. I think for some there is simply the notion that the whole “it’s better to have loved and lost…” thing is fundamentally wrong. Sometimes, no it’s not. Sometimes just never going through all of it is actually the far superior option.
On the bright side, it’s nice to be inspecting all this with the benefit of some distance. It’s been years since our last loss, and we are nowhere close to beginning the arduous process of adoption. There’s time and space to try some scenarios on for a bit and see if anything strikes our fancy (or makes us cringe). In the meantime, we have both found more fulfillment than we ever thought possible in our respective careers, something that would not have happened if we’d HAD all the kids we lost.
The story isn’t over, of course. We are just in one of those boring, in-between bits that never make it into the final copy. Great sorrow and great joy are the stuff of good stories. We’ve had lots of excellent, story-worthy sorrow and now we are in the boring, in-between bit. I’m personally gearing up for great joy. That’s next in the great-story algorithm.