There's a baby boom among my friends, and it's happening to great people. It's so exciting.
It's also excruciating.
We both want kids, have wanted them for years. There's been a laundry list of reasons we haven't had them (including the priest during who told me I'd have to get the bishop's permission before getting pregnant during The Process), but the biggest one I don't talk about much: the fear that maybe there's just a "good parent" gene missing in my family, and my kids wouldn't have a happier childhood than I did.
The phrase I keep using when I think about it is "heart infertility." Physically, people can become parents, but in their hearts, they can't. As a diabetic inherits his inability to produce enough insulin, maybe I've inherited an inability to nurture. I wonder if all the circumstantial reasons we haven't had kids are God's way of protecting me from becoming someone I'd hate.
I talked to a close friend about it, and somehow that made it worse. (At the same time, I'm so grateful she doesn't understand and can't relate.) It's not a logical fear-- of course I know about parenting books and classes. But it's not about knowing what activities to do, or making sure they brush their teeth. It's not even about appropriate discipline. It's a visceral fear that my kids will be the people I'm not able to love, that they'll have a parent who won't see them for themselves and rejoice.
In the midst of all the crying, I've been praying (a lot of it's angry prayers-- it was NOT FUNNY when I sought solace in the hymnal, and opened up to all the arrangements for the Magnificat). Last night, part of the answer was, "You don't inherit love from your parents. You inherit it from Me. Parents can be vessels, but Love originates in Me."
I think that's the right answer, but I don't quite trust it yet. And I'm dreading Advent.
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