Perspective

I’ve had several conversations with several different friends that all end up back at the same conclusion – perspective. Example – a friend’s friend’s child was recently diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. He isn’t even 2 and his prognosis isn’t good. As a parent, who among us can imagine much worse. Then you get started thinking about how the parents of this young boy wake up every day and face the reality that he might die and it just seems so much to take.

Then inevitably, conversation drifts onto something mundane, possibly even a complaint or venting about something frustrating a child did that day.

Which then leads back to this – how can we be complaining when this other mom has a child with cancer?

Here’s the thing – who said that we can’t appreciate what we have and be so grateful for what we have – but that we still can’t vent or complain about smaller things in life? I think no one said that. It’s all about your perspective and if you are balanced with it.

So then I found myself reading theNYT Motherlode blog, there is a guest essay about Infertility. The author candidly explains her struggles with infertility, her profound disappointment and how this has impacted how she views herself as a woman. I respect her candor and I cannot imagine how exhausting the path of infertility is. Having grown up in a house where my mother was very honest about the five years and countless miscarriages she had, however, this is a subject that I was exposed to for as long as I can remember. The path my parents took ended with them adopting my older sister. My mom later went on to have three more girls.

So when the guest author of the NYT so forcefully slams the door on adoption, I began judging her. As one of the many commenters to this piece pointed out, pregnancy is not motherhood, raising a child is motherhood – and how you get that child isn’t what makes you a mother. How you raise the child, how you love the child, how you support the child – that is what makes you a mother – and a good one or a bad one.

The she goes on with resentment towards parents who talk too much about their children – how we should keep others’ feelings in check – for we don’t know what they’ve been through or how badly they have wanted a child.

Is this code for – hearing about your kids is boring – or is it – be sensitive because I wanted a child and never had one?

What I appreciated again from the comments to the piece were the people who said without apology – I’m going to talk about my kids, they are a part of my day – just as having a bad day at work or getting stuck in horrible traffic – are parts of the day.

And I totally agreed with this point – furthermore, sometimes parenthood makes you want to throw yourself off the roof of a building – and you can say that and still love your kids and be grateful that you were able to have children.

But again – if you have the financial means for years of infertility treatments – then you have the financial means for adoption – so don’t claim you can’t be a parent because you can’t get pregnant.  Choosing not to adopt is a totally different story – and not a decision to be judged – but by choosing not to adopt – you are choosing not to be a parent.  

So how does this fit back in to perspective? I think that’s what this is all about. Something bad or challenging or unexpected happening to one person, doesn’t then mean that the rest of us seem ungrateful or uncaring for talking about, cheering about, or complaining about the smaller things in life. I think it is naive and selfish to assume otherwise and went from empathizing with the author of the guest post to genuinely disliking her and her pity party.

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