Friday, September 12, 2008

A Few Leaves on the Family Tree

I realized recently that IF has been with me since the very beginning of my life. This dawned on me during a conversation I was having with my Mother the other day. She shared that she was completely off birth control for at least five years before she had me. I was her first and only child and although she was not vigilant with birth control afterward, no siblings ever made it into the picture. So, my Mom was infertile. This is further compounded by the fact that I was #8 for my Dad (no, that was not a typo). I guess nature figured he'd contributed quite enough to the gene pool.

The biggest difference between my situation and my Mother's is that while my earliest memories are easily traced to longing for Motherhood (baby dolls, playing 'house' and always being the mother, selecting my career for it's school schedule), instead my Mom figured that if it happened, it happened. She had no preset course, no aching desire that fueled restless nights. So, today she is endlessly supportive and empathetic, but even while infertile, she does not completely 'get' it.

Growing up as an only child, I craved a sibling, begged for a sibling. I know my Mom would have been delighted to have had another child, but it never became a central focus for her. I think that as my parents are aged and in very poor health today, that craving for a sibling has only grown stronger. When they become too poor in health to care for themselves, or when they pass, there will be no one else in my shoes. I'll be standing alone. I'm not under the delusion that a sibling would be a built in best friend (my husband and his brother are proof of that), but having someone who came from the same place, who shoulders a similar past and future with my family is something I am missing. I see it in Mr. S and his brother, who, although not close, share so many similarities in the way they approach the world because of the place they came from. And when their parents pass on, they will be sitting beside one another and feeling the same devastation, something no one else in the room will come close to sharing. Similar to missing a child I've never known, I miss having that. My half siblings are much older (most unstable) and have never been in the picture, so it was never anything they could have given me.

Not to sound like the reigning champion in a feeling sorry for myself contest (which I'm certain would be the only competition I'd be a guaranteed a gold), but IF has taken more than just my possibility for biological children. It once took away any hope of siblings as well, something I still feel as I sit at a quiet dinner table with my Mom and Dad. I always wanted to fill that dinner table up in the way my parents could not have, and I did by adding Mr. S, but I'd be lucky to reach year 5 of this journey and have even one more member to add. I can't describe how much IF has taken from me. All I can do is keep fighting it and hope that Christmas and Thanksgiving will one day finally be a noisy affair.


Another Dreamer said...

(*hugs*) IF really sucks. I don't know what more to say.

This was a beautiful post.

filoli said...

"I can't describe how much IF has taken from me" - very good line

Lorraine said...

I'm always happy to see a new post of yours on my google reader - even if it turns out to be somewhat melancholy.

You have perfectly reflected my reasons for making one last ditch effort to give my daughter a sibling. The feeling of wanting those connections goes deeper than I had thought would ever really matter to me.

Hang in there - the time will come when all this will make you a stronger, more resilient parent. I know it sounds like a cliche, but I guarantee it's true.

Trace said...

Yup! I posted about this topic recently too. It's lonely. My husband is an only child land I have one very isolated self involved brother so really it's just me and my husband. I did tell my husband I wanted two children. I went so far as to specify and say that if we are able to have a bio (ok 1/2 bio) baby I would want to adopt a second, but either way we're having two. He said, he was an only child and he doesn't see any need for two children (sigh).

Lost in Space said...

I'm so sorry IF has taken so much from you. It is truly so unfair. I hope you are able to fill up your holiday table in the next years with as many babies as your heart desires. Hugs.

My parents wanted 5 children, but stopped with 2 when my dad was diagnosed with MS. Although it is not the same, it's still one of those "what if" things that we will never know.

Nikki said...

I'm sorry Shelby - IF really sucks and it can suck from generation to generation, as your post shows.

I hope your dreams of having a full table are fulfilled soon, and your house is filled with the pitter patter of little feet and all the excitement of the holidays, and everything else!

Just Me. said...

I'm so sorry. Yes, IF does suck. I'm an only child too and I've longed for siblings, especially a sister, so that I could share clothes with or somebody who could play dolls with.

I hope your house will be filled with lotsa kids soon.