March into My Heart

Today’s Drip: Understanding those who feel unblessed without a child

Conquering negative feelings during those “ChildDrenched” days—the days that challenge your optimism about having a child— requires exploring the good things around us on a regular basis.

I tend to react very negatively when something important is bothering me and it is difficult to understand or overcome. It feels embarrassing to complain about the one thing I am missing in my life when I have so much to be grateful for. I have tried to understand this tendency and want to help others identify and change it, especially when it involves a chronic situation.

We all watch TV and read about people that are suffering through excruciating situations. Right after we thank our lucky stars that it isn’t happening to us, we go back to complaining about “one thing” that bothers us.  It might be a minor thing, like a hated body part or bad habit, but typically it’s major, like losing a close friend or family member to cancer or coping with infertility.   We understand life isn’t fair and there are challenges we all have to face.  I even hear myself saying to my husband and kids:  “If you don’t have bad days, you won’t know when you’re having a good day!”  Logically, I know everything can’t be perfect, but the issue that confuses me is this: Why do we focus on what’s wrong in our lives?

Are we striving for perfection or just obsessed that the grass may be greener on the other side of the fence? Maybe it’s directly related to our childhood years when our parents made all the decisions for us and could make most things “all better”?  As adults, who now have many choices in our lives, perhaps we set unattainable goals to keep us occupied or to challenge ourselves.  However, wanting a child is an emotionally draining issue when facing infertility and it’s totally understandable when obsession sets in.

Ten years ago, I was married and had two wonderful little boys but all I could think about was having a daughter.  I spent a good part of every day, imagining how much better my life would be if I only had a daughter, in addition to my boys.  I had such a perfect relationship with my mother growing up, that I was convinced that life would only get better if I had a daughter.  Surely, there would be difficult days but I never thought about them.  I only thought about the upside. I focused on what was missing in my life, not what I was blessed with already.  Do I think my life improved after adopting my daughter?  Absolutely.  Do I feel guilty about how much time I wasted with my adorable sons longing for what I didn’t have when that time was so precious? Again, absolutely.

A child-related crisis, like infertility, can be overwhelming and all-consuming.  It becomes difficult to focus on the good things in life.  I came to call this condition “ChildDrenched”—drowning in emotion over having a child. Usually there’s no simple answer or solution without a lot of effort, patience and maybe even some luck.  I often wondered if others who suffered from the same affliction as me really thought about it, or did they just complain for cathartic reasons?  I complained (multiple times on a daily basis), through the ChildDrenched years. It wasn’t very productive for me and in fact, became destructive as I became more and more depressed each month.  Unfortunately, the realization that I was destroying my life by focusing on the “half-empty glass” didn’t change my behavior.

As one who spent years suffering, obsessed over having another child, I discovered that optimism was very important to keep moving forward in reaching my goals.  Appreciating what life currently holds is critically important to maintaining positive mental health and keeping those around you happy.

Today, I am older and perhaps a bit more patient when it comes to issues that confound me.  I hope this perspective will give others who are drowning the strength to stay positive about life and all they have in their lives, regardless of what the future may hold.

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Comments (3)

  1. Linda Kosin

    Very powerful message in your blog today…it is so true how we can hyper focus on the negative which is a true waste of our time and energy. Thank you for the reminder to see how lucky and fortunate we truly are!

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