Maybe it’s because I’m turning 40 this month…maybe it’s because my life is full with family, work, and pets…maybe it’s because I’m set in my ways, but I think I’m well over the hump of this childless thing.
I know…I know…famous last words. Don’t get me wrong…admitting that I’m over the hump doesn’t mean that I will never feel the emptiness of my arms again. I feel it to some extent everyday, but there have been a few litmus tests lately: Baby dedication at church with my mother sitting right beside me that didn’t result in my wanting to run crying from the sanctuary, a baby-on-the-way announcement at work that didn’t send me spiraling for the whole day, and watching reality shows about people bringing their newborns home and immediately thinking, “Man, I’m glad it’s not me!”
I’ve been cat-sitting a blind and very disabled cat this week which on Sunday mistook my finger for food (a whole long drama that I won’t go into here). It is incontinent and has to be encouraged to eat and given medicine. I’m roughly six days into this, and I’m exhausted. It occurred to me that taking care of this particular cat is only half of what it would be like to take care of an infant everyday. I get up at 5:30 every morning to get it settled for the day, and I’m running to get out the door around 7:20! What if I had to feed, change, dress, and get a baby out the door to daycare five days a week? I don’t know how working moms cope. I now know just a inkling of the exhaustion they must feel.
I’ve been waiting for this breakthrough since the reality set in that I would most likely never have children. It’s really not been a sudden breakthrough, but one that has come slowly and almost imperceptibly. I have now structured my life…or circumstances have structured it to where a baby in the mix would mean a major restructuring of my life. I don’t rule out God pulling off a surprise, and I’ve often joked that I’ll probably get pregnant when I’m forty, but I’m to the point that while I will always have this hole in my heart where children should’ve been I can now fully accept my childless state. There’s a peace now that’s been a long time coming.
I am grateful.