not really the picture I was looking for….

I don’t know how many of my readers have wanted children and not been able to have them. So I don’t know if this will have meaning for you.

The consulting agency that we are probably going to go with to help us with our adoption is a really nice group of people, but in their requests for photos of both myself and Martin they ask for something that just floors me:

They want photos of both myself and my husband…………..

with kids.

And if you don’t have any of your own, you can borrow someone else’s.

great. lovely. perfect.

Now I do understand the request. Really. They want to have a visual of how we “are” with children. How we look holding a baby or playing with a child so that the birth mother has a comfortable image of us to relate to.

But let’s think about this. I mean really process it.

How many people do you know who are experiencing the pain of infertility who regularly seek opportunities to hang out with little walking reminders of their greatest personal failure?……….Never mind taking a photo of this “warm fuzzy” event.

I know I don’t look right around kids right now. I know this because I don’t FEEL right around kids right now.

When I see a three-year-old I freeze. I’m caught between the desire for emotional retreat and the opportunity to enjoy the cuteness. The pain-avoidance instinct which says to turn away from this little walking reminder and the need to pick her up and hold her close.   I’m terrified of the pain if I hold my arms out and the child laughs and runs the other way.  There’s already enough pain floating around in my heart….why invite more?

Consequently I tend to just sit there and adore kids, not interact with them. Who wants to see a photo of that?

My husband doesn’t seem to have this problem, by the way. He’s comfortable with kids of all ages. I used to be fine too. I used to teach nursery school and spend loads of time with small kids. All that stopped when we started realizing how hard it was going to be to have kids of our own. I sort of….withdrew.

I just touched a young child for the first time in …years? I held a friend’s beautiful four-month-old a few weekends ago. I can tell you that the last thing on my mind was “hey, somebody get a photo of this moment please”

I was holding her, kissing the top of her head, breathing in the warm clean scent of her. I was enjoying the moment…..sort of in the same way one enjoys probing a sore tooth with one’s tongue. If anybody had happened to be handy with a camera and had asked me to look up, the expression on my face would have been one of wistful pain.

Not a comforting photo. And not really the picture I was looking for.

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