Ok, so I am sitting here for lunch, actually feeling anxious and panicky. Why you ask? Because in an hour and a half I am planning to see the documentary film "Babies"; the film that follows four newborns from different places in the world during their first year of life. Why in the world would someone struggling with infertility and childfree by circumstance subject themselves to this torture? Because that is what it will be. Torture. Plain and simple agony.
(And before I forget, DH called me today because someone brought their 2 year old to the office today. He was upset, and I so hate that this is because of ME. We have this THING - infertility - in our lives because of me. I hate knowing that he is missing so much, now and in the future, because of what I can't give him.)
I am watching the movie because, as a child development specialist, I find the movie professionally interesting. Personally, I think it will feel as if every tooth will be pulled out without Novocain, and then hot sauce forced down my throat. I see this also as a test - can I look beyond my pain to see this professionally? Can I continue in my current career in some way? Will I need to change my focus, or will I have to do something completely different? Can I divorce myself and work in the educational field, knowing I will never have children myself? So, this is my first real test. Here goes; a mid-day matinee and I can leave if it gets too hard.
I survived the movie, and managed to wait until the very end when I then went to the restroom to breakdown. Though, as I write this, I'm trying hard not to cry as I sit outside in a public plaza.
From a professional perspective, the movie was very interesting to me. My background is child development and early childhood, and international education. It was interesting to watch the progression of developmental milestones and parent-child interactions from a cultural, sociological perspective....
But I digress. It was so painful watching the women pregnant in the beginning; I felt ill with jealousy watching those that breastfed. I will admit, I had moments of 'childfree, yes!' when watching babies bawling inconsolably. But what hit me the most, and what tears me up inside, was watching the daily and monthly progression of development and growth. If I do go back to the child development field, I will have the opportunity, at most, to impact many lives but in a very isolated way. I will have at most snapshots of shared experiences from people's life albums. I will miss life's milestones, both large and small, since I will have noone progressing through them to celebrate with (and yes, I am intentionally not including the milestones DH and I can have the two of us, since this is different). I am terrified of the future. I feel empty. Not only because I feel I am missing something, but because I feel a part of me is dead.
As I am writing this sittting outside in this plaza, I see families all around me. Babies in strollers, toddlers playing, families eating together, and I feel like I am outside looking in. I will never belong. As their children get older, and as they mark different things in their lives, I will always be on the outside. And I don't think I will ever be ok with this.
Time to go home, I think DH and I will need some serious bonding tonight.