I experienced a new type of feeling this weekend in relation to my childless state…relief immediately followed by guilt. The guilt was not the new feeling. Relief was.
We had a family party this weekend welcoming a newly adopted family member into my extended family. I’m very happy for my cousin, her husband and especially their 3-year-old daughter who now has a loving and stable family. But as my cousin shared the trials and challenges of new motherhood at the age of 40 I suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of relief that it was her and not me in that situation.
I took that as a positive sign that I’m definitely moving on, but it was only a few seconds before the guilt came flooding in. Why am I feeling guilty that the “mother desire” might be receding? I think it’s because guilt has become my Pavlovian emotional response in this 19-year-old journey. I’ve always felt guilt immediately following any strong emotion no matter if the emotion was positive or negative.
I told my husband about my feelings today at lunch and asked for his opinion. He said, “It is what it is.”
At first I thought it was his manly way of avoiding a touchy subject (and maybe it was) but as I thought about it I realized it was probably a down-to-earth and realistic analysis.
One of our VPs at work has a plaque on her desk that says, “It is what it is”. If you didn’t know that two years ago she lost her only daughter to an aggressive childhood cancer you wouldn’t know the weight behind that statement.
Sometimes we do such over-analyzing of our situations and emotions that we fail to accept them for what they are. We don’t see them as an appropriate response to where we are today.
There’s really no reason for me to feel guilty about the sense of relief I had this weekend. I have no children and most likely never will. There should be no guilt associated with the fact that I’m moving past it…because it is what it is…and its okay.