Things I Guess I’ll Never Learn

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Scroll around on the internet for a little while or just have a conversation with any parent and you’ll find out quickly that there are some things you learn when you become a parent.

Here are some of the things I have heard or read about people learning once they became a parent. They learn for the first time how to love, they learn patience and compassion, real self-sacrifice, perspective on life, true responsibility, and discipline. Or, my personal favorite, becoming a parent teaches you how meaningless EVERYTHING else is in life once you have a baby.

So, as someone has been in the infertility battle for 64 months I guess these are things that I will never learn. I am already daily mourning the fact that I may never hold a baby that is half me and half my wife, and the fact that I may miss out on the fabled midnight run to the store for watermelon/pickle/steak & blue cheese sandwiches (which sounds amazing by the way!), or that I may miss out on seeing my wife with a baby bump, or soccer practice, or driving my own kids to school, or getting a call from school about my kid acting like a dog in class, or a father/daughter dance, or everything else I may miss out on never having a baby.

But I am now being made aware that there are somethings that you apparently do not even learn until you have a baby!!

I thought I had a good grasp on true love when I came home from losing my job, insurance, and house all in the same day and my amazing wife hugged me while I was sobbing on the floor and said, “You haven’t lost everything, you still have me and I love you.”

I thought I learned about compassion and perspective when I went to Haiti and met so many people in need, yet they were still smiling through life. Then going back the next year and giving out stuffed animals to orphans not because they needed them, but because we wanted to make sure they felt loved.

I thought I learned about patience from planning my life around ovulation schedules, no baths or hot tubes (even though my fibromyalgia is killing my back and joints), making sure cellphones are not in my pocket, laptops are not on my lap, boxers over briefs, fish oil burps, choking down hourly multivitamins, all just to see my wife fall apart when another month passes by knowing we are not pregnant.

I thought I had a handle on self sacrifice and responsibility when kids from my youth group would call me or knock at my door at 3:00 in the morning because they needed someone to talk to or a safe place to be.

Do you see where I’m going here? Even though life has taught me some pretty tough lessons, I tend to constantly feel devalued as a person simply because I do not have kids. Let me be clear, I do not think that most people try to make me feel this way, but it is how I feel.

And, honestly, even though this is how I feel so often, I can sit there and listen about all these lessons and be perfectly fine. I can read and even “like” your FB statuses about it too. I generally like hearing my friends share the joys of parenthood with me, to some extent. That is, I am fine until I hear the, “Everything else seems so meaningless now that I have kids” or the “You just become such a better person once you have kids” or the “You just wouldn’t understand because you don’t have kids.” Then I’m done! These are the things that make me try to blow up your head with my mind powers! (It hasn’t actually ever worked, BTW.) I’d say I was sorry as I storm out of the room punching the walls and doors, but, as they have already pointed out: I have never learned patience!

Thanks for reading
Just another story from the Childless Father.
-CF