Another wonderful post on Gateway women:
“Getting over” not having children is something I’ve been thinking about this weekend, as I continue to discover hidden corners of shame and grief that need to be reckoned with. One of the lingering issues for me is the feeling that being single and childless is tangible proof that I am an unloveable person.
Growing up, I heard things that made me feel like I was an appealing person and things that made me feel unattractive and unloveable. I assume this is the same for everyone and that all of us hold on fiercely in our memories to both.
I know rationally that being married does not prove you are worthy or lovable (after all, several famous serial killers were married!), nor does the act of giving birth to a child. But that’s not how it feels. Every time I hear that another past acquaintance is married with kids, negative comments from childhood and adolescence rear to the forefront of my consciousness, and it feels as if that one time I was picked last for kickball was indeed a harbinger of the outsider status I am condemned to occupy for life. Just typing that makes me realize how ridiculous those thoughts are, but there you are.
I have no idea what prompted such rudeness, but a “friend” in college once told me that another acquaintance of ours was much more likable than me. Today that acquaintance is married with kids, and my friend’s comment from years and years ago echoes in my head.
Furthermore, while we all know that some marriages are terrible, and many parents don’t have good relationships with their kids, theoretically, at least, a woman with a husband and kids has people who love her in her life. So although I can rationalize that she may not have been particularly lovable in the first place, she is surrounded by loved ones, and I, admittedly, am not.
So, this feeling is one of those things I’ve excavated from my psyche and named and am working through. On a more positive note, I agree strongly with this list of ways (from the Gateway women post) in which I’ve become a better person:
I have more courage now, because having healed this wound, I trust my resilience.
I have more empathy now for all disenfranchised groups, because I understand what it is to be stigmatised.
I have more patience and tolerance now for awkward and difficult people, because I know that each of us is carrying around an invisible wound, leaking pain from so many ungrieved losses.
I have more faith now, because I have understood that grief is the gift of love, not a cruel kicking when I was at my most vulnerable.