Things I Guess I’ll Never Learn

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.

Meet The Childless Father

October 31, 1984 – Halloween: It was a dark and stormy night in New Jersey, and a baby boy was born. . . . . . . . Ok, ok, so, a couple things: 1) there was probably a bunch of babies born that day; 2) I have no idea what the weather was like that day; and 3) this baby was born in the morning not at night. But all that aside, you have to admit, it’s a good opening.

Let’s try again, just the facts:
October 31, 1984, 8:25am and baby boy was born (BORING). A half-sister, half-brother, and a brother already born before him and one more brother would come six years later. No one could guess, that all of them would end up having children and one of them would even pass away from leukemia before this Halloween kiddo would ever have the joy of holding his own baby in his arms. Well, I guess that is dramatic enough as it is.

That kid grew up with a wild imagination, pretending he was all sorts of things. At three years old he broke his leg pretending to be Superman and jumping off the couch in the living room. At three again he broke his pinky running through the house the day the cast was cut off his leg, pretending he was the fastest man in the world. In kindergarten he was sent home for crawling on his hands and knees pretending to be a dog and barking at everyone in his class. At ten he was running through the woods pretending to be any number of things: a lone soldier in the midst of a war, Sub-Zero from the video game, Mortal Kombat, a gladiator fighting for his life, or an explorer reaching uncharted territory with his faithful dog at his side. He kept that up for years, sometimes alone, sometimes with his brothers. By the time he started driving he would pretend he was a fighter pilot just cruising along or Vin Diesel in Fast and the Furious, and, surprisingly didn’t get a ticket till away at college! By the time he started driving a lot especially through the college years, he kept his mind awake with adventures as a family man. Conversations with his invisible, future wife while they were on a road trip through the night, whispering so they wouldn’t wake up the invisible, future children, at least two of them back there, sound asleep. Some trips his “wife” was expecting another. Some trips were his “wife”, best friend and his “wife”. Ladies and kids asleep in the back while the men talked about how great it was to be a dad. Like I said, wild imagination, maybe even a little crazy.

While going to college the guy met a girl. It was the typical, guy-meets-his-dream-girl-while-still-hung-up-on-some-other-girl-back-home-who-was-not-interested-in-him-then-when-he-finally-realizes-he-loves-the-dream-girl-she-is-on-a-dating-fast romance, typical. They didn’t even date long before they decided all of their kids’ names and then when the wedding would be. Still teenagers and already picking out names, most would say that’s nuts because you “shouldn’t rush things”, they didn’t know it was nuts because it was the start of years of waiting for those kids to show up. This girl actually married the crazy-imagination-Halloween guy. She often calls him her “cartoon character” and talks about how great a dad he’ll be – to which always gets a response of, “You’re right!!” I know what you’re thinking, though, A guy like this doesn’t actually get a girl! Well, jokes on you, cause he did! I married that beautiful girl on a hot day in July 2005. Yeah, the fact that he got the girl is probably more shocking to you than the fact that the kid I was writing about was actually me. After 3 years of marriage, and settling down in my first full time job, we thought it was time to start having those kids we had already named and planned for. So much hope that October in 2008. Every month since, that hope got smaller, it’s now January 2014, 64 months later. I’m sure you can imagine how little hope is left.

That’s the quick version the story of a man who has the heart of a father, but no children of his own. It might not be the greatest story, but it is my story and I really want to tell it. I kind of hope you’re hooked, or at the very least, intrigued. In my normal asking all of the, “Why us?” questions, I was asked by a mentor, “What good are you going to do with your struggles?” It was not specific to this struggle, but none the less, I feel that telling my story could bring new light to the topic of infertility. I feel that most people do not understand what it’s like for someone, especially a guy. I also feel that from a state of not understanding people (sometimes unintentionally) say some really hurtful things to infertile people. I feel that if I can share, and shed some light on the topic, maybe, just maybe, I can help others not get hurt by as many people as my wife and I have over the years.

I plan to share stories, experiences, and insights of our journey through infertility. To those of you who are here because you too struggle with infertility, I am so sorry that you have to go through this, but please know – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. To those of you who are here because you know someone struggling with infertility and want to know how to help let me say, on behalf of your friend, “THANK YOU!” Having friends who are supportive and knowledgable is so important.

I’ve never been much for nicknames, but for now, and for the sake of writing and wanting to share my life with the world while still keeping the lives of the people around me private, I think you can just call me “CF” or just “C” for short.

Thanks for reading,
just a story from a Childless Father,
~ CF