My dear fiance Matt has taken to protecting me like a mother bear protects its baby bear.
When he sees strain in my face, he is on task fixing my discomfort. I don’t have to ask, he is there. He’s heard me moan, cuss, sob, and suffer in stoic silence. He has seen me crumble and break down during movies with parent and child interactions, causing me sorrow over my infertility due to internal damage from the cancer radiation treatments. I have finally found a man who would take on the journey with me, and was looking forward to it, until we learned that through saving myself from cancer, I would lose my fertility. The experience of raising my own kids is something I will miss out on, and long to have.
So when my parent friends tell their proud stories and observations of their kids to me, one might think I would feel sad and mournful over my unfulfillable desire to have children. On the contrary, I do not. I’m not sure exactly why, except I live vicariously. My imagination allows me to feel what my friends are feeling for their children without bringing in my own sorrows. I am quietly studying their relationship with their kids as a psychologist would, and learning more about both the depths of my friend and their child as whole individuals.
Matt understandably wants to see that my friends are aware of my silent struggle and be sensitive about how they share their stories around me. I am proud to have a man who is so in tune with not only my feelings, but with other peoples’; a very, very rare quality in a mate, and I happen to have one of those rare mates.
Upon recently observing a long conversation with a dear childhood friend about her kids, Matt felt strongly that with me, this friend should frame her discussion to include what qualities my life has without children, to protect me from my own mixed feelings. So he confronted her while I wasn’t listening.
Now, a guy would do this for me??? Never before have I experienced this act of compassion from a mate, except maybe my own dad.
The next conversation with this friend, she had done some thinking and she described beautifully how her life and my life have criss-crossed over the years. At times she has looked at my life and questioned her own circumstances, and was certain that I had looked at her life and questioned mine. She sees my life without children as an opportunity to experience things that parents with children want to, but have difficulty doing because of the constraints of parenthood.
The next day Matt confided that he had approached my friend, and then it became clear what inspired her discussion with me. Well, it turns out both my friend and Matt were showing integrity, both taking care of me.
Now, I have a number of girlfriends who at my age, 39, have not had children either by decision or by circumstance, so I am in good company, and definitely do not feel, “poor me, I am the only one…” Matt and I will continue to build our foundations and experience travel and adventures as we love to do together. And we will be role models and influence the kids around us who need us.