During TTC, when I was so bent on joining the motherhood tribe, I always felt out of place or even "ashamed" to say that I had no kids, because that meant I didn't belong in that tribe I wished desperately to join. That I couldn't possibly understand the intricacies of having a life growing inside me, that I couldn't possibly understand how it felt like to give birth, to hold a baby for the first time in my arms, how tough it would be to find ways to make a child avoid certain kinds of food that may make him/her allergic, how to deal with the child's bullies etc. etc. etc.
Because of this shame (actually, Mali has written a brilliant and thought-provoking post on this topic: Infertility and Shame), I felt this urge to (over)compensate for the non-mom status in whichever way possible. I think the urge came partly from myself and partly from society because there was this little voice inside me that said that the world expected something else from me because I was a non-mom, so I felt pressured or even burdened to be able to "give more" to society in other ways so to speak. This urge wasn't constant, though, and it wasn't that strong, but I did feel it every now and then back then.
And curiously enough during that time I remember having the wish to try to understand motherhood by reading blogs about child rearing, even though that actually never really happened because my bleeding heart couldn't take it (but I accepted my closest friends kiddies stories with open arms - probably because it's easier to accept the kids that had been born before we started TTC and because I know they love their kids).
Nowadays, though, I've sensed a shift in this area. These days I don't feel ashamed anymore about my non-mom status (though I can't say for sure when the shift started). I feel more like saying, "I'm a non-mom. So what? It's true that I may not understand too much of what parents are dealing with, but in the same way I don't expect parents to truly understand what I've been going through, either. Every journey is different and even a parent's stories will differ from another's. At least I have some people who understand what I've been going through and that's enough. I'm willing to enlighten anyone who wants to listen to my infertility story, but the bottom line is that I've let go of my dream to join the motherhood tribe, so it's okay even if I don't get it. It's okay even if I can't share my own motherhood stories. It's okay even if I can't share my own tips and tricks as a mother. It's okay even if I can't show you any kiddy pictures. I'm okay."
P.S. Mind you, I'm not saying I'm "completely healed" and feelings may fluctuate (esp. during PMS), but I'd like to call this progress and I just want to write this down for future reference. :-)