Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Unfulfilled Expectations

While attending the family ward for the area I lived in, I was invited by the bishop to attend the singles' ward. If you aren't LDS, wards are where areas are divided up into congregations. I really had no desire to attend but decided to give it a try. There was a chance I would meet some people I would like and maybe I would enjoy the change of scenery. So...I decided to go one Sunday.

Sacrament meeting was fine, though a little strange since there were no babies crying, no kids fighting over crayons in loud whispers, no mommies or daddies standing in the back rocking a child, or all the other things that were so comforting to me about a family ward. The family ward had all the right sounds as far as I was concerned.

I remember nothing of Sunday School that day, but in Relief Society (women's organization within the church), was a lesson I will never forget. The topic was on "Unfulfilled Expectations." Truth is, we all go through this in our lives. We all have times that we expect things will go one way and they go another. Learning to deal with these with faith and grace is something most of us desire. Did I mention I was 21? That is an important piece of information in this story. At this point in my life I had had my fair share of disappointment, not more than most, just the average amount. There was much for me take from this lesson until it turned into something else all together.

As there were many women in this Relief Society approaching 30, the lesson turned into "Why am I not married?" At 21, I knew why I wasn't married. It was because I didn't want to be yet. Besides that, I had to wait till I was 22 to meet Prince Charming. Though now, with maturity, I can clearly see why, within my religion's culture, that would put some into a certain amount of distress. At the time, I could not wait to get out of there. I had a whole life ahead of me filled with twists and turns and accomplishments and, yes, unfulfilled expectations. I had plenty of time to find the person I wanted to build my forever with.

Which brings me to this.......I will be 38 in January. I am OK with that. (Well mostly) Maybe I am having a mini mid-life crisis. The doctor whom I renamed suggested that I had 'til 40 to try and have biological children. After that, he said we are pretty much done. So now I am wondering, if I think I am happy just having the 4 beautiful, amazing, though somewhat feral children, or will I later find myself with unfulfilled expectations? If I have another one or two will it be more than I can handle? Is it worth all the heartache and the emotional roller coaster that is the treatment for infertility? Will I regret not trying everything under the sun to get pregnant? Will I be OK not knowing what might have been? I have children, so I fulfilled that expectation, but still, all the other questions I don't have answers for, threaten my peace of mind.

So my real problem is this: I am fence sitting. With things like this, taking no action and not making a choice almost always leads to Unfulfilled Expectations. You are left feeling like you had no control in the situation or you had control and forfeited said control. I want to make a choice, and know that I made the right one, so that I don't look back with regrets.

So, there you have it. My unwelcomed deep thoughts for the day. I was hoping for a light and funny post, but this is what came pouring out. Huh.......


Nancy said...

Uggh! Such a great great post. I have had that exact feeling so so often -- wanting to have made a choice -- wanting it confirmed it was the right choice -- wanting none of that floating on down the river and wondering if I should have changed course upstream. BUT, I sometimes the decision hasn't been easy coming and the stream has carried me on down anyway, and at those times, I have to think that as I've tried to paddle through with no clear direction, the fact that we truly do have constant tiny proddings from the Holy Ghost has somehow still allowed for things to end up with me where I should be. Good luck to you and thoughts with you though! THis is not just some random issue, but something so eternal and I have no doubt that with something this significant you will not end up having made some wrong choice with out the Lord intervening for you!

Jen said...

Sometimes writing about it is the best way to get it off your chest and out of your mind. When I do this, usually a solution will present itself.
I feel you for, I really, really do.

Anonymous said...

Wow Karen! Alot of things are going on in my life right now. I've never wanted kids. The thought of being a mother and being pregnant has never crossed my mind. But now that I'm almost 30 and seeing my sick grandmother surrounded by her children I think, "who'll take care of me?" Or like my mom when she was going through chemo for breast cancer. My sister and I took care and supported her. I don't want to go through life alone if something happened to Travis. My Gma was a widow at 53 years old. She told me if it wasn't for me (I was 5 when gpa passed) she wouldn't have survived. I spent every spare minute with her. And I'm so thankful for our close relationship today. If I didn't have children who would I spend my time with? My sister will have her own family. I have to do a lot of thinking and I know my husband would like a biological child, but I would rather adopt. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the future holds.

Screwed Up Texan said...

I hope that writing about it has lifted you in ways I cannot imagine. I always wanted children and only tried for one year to get pregnant with my first. Now three children later, I don't think I could do it all over again...and I am just shy of 29. I often wonder how my life would be different if I would have waited.

Stacy said...

Very deep thoughts. I have had some similar with regard to infertility treatments. We did go through some of it (about 7 cycles) and had one miscarriage along the way. These are difficult questions. We were eventually unsuccessful but I discovered along the way I was doing it all because my family wanted to do it. I finally realized that I was satisfied with the way our lives were. But this is what I came to accept and embrace - Having a baby may add more fulfillment to my life but NOT having another baby does not take anything away from my already wonderful and satisfying life.

After coming to that conclusion it was easy for me to decide to stop the fertility treatments and get back to giving all my attention to living the life I already loved. But without coming to that conclusion I know I would have continued. Would life be better or worse? Who knows, but now I have no regrets and not only accept my decision but live every day knowing that my life is still going great as it is. Good luck!

cat said...

Oh I think it is a beautiful post. Gosh girl, I missed you.

My opinion (although we did not adopt) - the pregnancy is the least of the experience - raising the kids is what matters, It is what makes you a mom. Like the wedding - actually just a small event leading top a whole life behind it.

Tori said...

All of you other comments are so thoughtful. My sister is notorious for not making a decision, and that is her decision. Her theory is, "if you wait long, you won't have to make a decision." I am not advocating this for you, it seems to be okay for her. It makes me crazy. I am a planner,get things done and move on kind of girl.

BTW, we will be your company anytime you need to have someone over. We won't even care if your house is picked up.