Sunday, July 20, 2008

I wasn't always like this, you know.

Did you ever see "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" It stars Juliette Lewis and Leonardo diCaprio. Leo played a boy with developmental disabilities and Juliette Lewis ended up being a family friend. Leo's mom was extremely obese and very embarrassed by it. She rarely left the house. When she met Lewis's character she told her, "I wasn't always like this." Lewis's character said, "I wasn't always like this either." I found it to be a very touching moment.

When we go out these days with our two little boys, I wonder if we cause pain to people who see us who are experiencing infertility and/or loss. Here we are with two very little children, appearing as fertile as can be, when really it took several years to add children to our family. I always try to be cautious about my attitude and disposition when I'm out in public.

There was nothing worse as an infertile woman to hear other people say, "You can have my children," or "What I wouldn't do to be single again and be able to (x, y, z)." I wouldn't want another woman to see me tell my kid to shut up (oh yes, I do have my moments) or look stressed when one is crying or needy. I know that's a lot of pressure to put on myself (not refraining from "shut ups," because I think that's just good parenting, but to look pleased and even-tempered every minute when out in public), but actually I really do enjoy my beautiful children most of the time. I think they're hilarious, adorable, and fun.

Anyhow, I think I've posted about this before, but I hope people realize when they see happy couples or happy families things aren't always as they appear. You never know who has suffered loss, who is putting on a show in public, or who is actually watching someone else's children and is about to go home and cry themselves to sleep because they long for children of their own. We need to extend grace to each other, even when we see someone who is parenting a different way than we are.

That's it. Putting away the soapbox. Thanks for playing.


Mark and Niki said...

You make me cry Amy, but in a good way. You're a great parent, and wonderful person. I'm glad to call you a friend, even if I've never met you!

Melody said...

Amy, I've had similar thoughts. When I'm out, I look like a fairly fertile average mom. I've wondered how often women going through infertility are looking away from me and MY two boys! It wasn't that long ago that it was me doing that.

And the irony - me buying a pregnancy test with a five month old baby. And getting comments from the girl running the register. I just looked at her - she doesn't know what I've been through.

(The hpt was negative, by the way. As if I really thought it'd be positive. . .)

Flakymn said...

I was just thinking about this the other day Amy. I want to wear a shirt that says, "I am not what you think ..." so I don't call pain. I really don't want to start showing because I don't want it to cause pain!

NotTheMama said...

Well, I just kind of wandered across your blog (okay, it's a bad week and I found it through google, what can I say?!) So pardon me for adding my two cents, but here I am :) I'm surrounded by one niece, 4 nephews, another niece-or-nephew-on-the-way, tons of cousins, and church kids that I teach. Most of the time, it really doesn't bother me to see a family with young kids out having a good time. In fact, I'm usually that complete stranger that is talking to / winking at / smiling or waving at your kids. I understand if your kids needs to be reprimanded, and I understand when they do something completely embarassing but equally hilarious. What bothers me is the extremes... Extreme let-your-kids-go-crazy-like-they-never-go-out-in-public, and extreme should-we-call-someone-before-she-kills-this-kid. ;) On the days I can't handle seeing families, I usually just skip out on shopping, or make a mad dash through the store. But that's just me. :) Okay, you can have your blog back hahaha

Jessica said...

Another Mom blessed by adoption and then birth here!!! I SOOOO agree with you on this and have commented to my husband before that we should all wear life letter jackets with patches on them showing what we've been through in life to give others hope, encouragement, or just let someone know, "I've been there." I have noticed women, or couples paying close attention to us before when we were out in public with that "Oh, do they know how lucky they are look" (which, by the way..yes, we do!!!) and have almost come close to saying, "You know, we waited a LONG time for God to bless us with our children." Of course, my husband would kill me if I did that, so I refain. It drives him crazy how qucik I am to strike up converations with complete strangers about open adoption!

On another note, do you ever have days where you feel like maybe you weren't cut out for this job, which is quickly followed by immense guilt, because, afterall, this is what we wanted...right?

Anyway, I digress...