Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Two Diverged Roads

The other day I joined an international family Christmas event in which I was surrounded by mostly mothers with their kids. Some of the much older women naturally didn't bring any children, but the younger ones did. There were only three men amongst us. Among the younger women, only my friend and I didn't bring any kids (my friend has kids).

It was a nice event, though during that time I was reminded again about the two diverged roads that we've taken: those of the parents and those that the childless-not-by-choice. There were several occasions during the evening where I was reminded of how much society seemed to expect us to be enthusiastic over children/grandchildren and over child-related events/performances. And it made me wonder if one would be punished by society if one claimed not to be interested at all in all child-related stuff.

Another thing that came up during the evening was the fact that a friend had been meeting another friend for a playdate and naturally I wasn't invited. Mind you, I have no hard feelings at all, but that just brought the gap between us to the surface again. And it reminded me of the kiddos' birthday party photos in FB along the years (including the more recent ones from last week) with my friends in it where I didn't get invited. Again, I want to stress that I have no hard feelings about it anymore (in the past when I still wanted to join the mommy club, I did feel sad about this), but the image of the gap continued resurfacing and it makes me feel a bit disconnected. Last year there was no such an event like this, so I didn't really feel anything much about the disconnection

After spending quite some time in my healing journey feeling like we were connected beings regardless of the fact that we had kids or not, the Christmas event and my subsequent reflection on it made me aware of our two different worlds. This is not something I can change, but something I just need to accept. 

I feel that I have done enough to spread my wings and get more friends (international, local, online women with or without children) and I'm really thankful that I have some friends who also like spending time with me who are genuinely interested in my life, but this whole thing makes me realize even more just how much I need my own tribe, as well. So to those of you who are childless-not-by-choice in particular who have been there for me, I'm sincerely grateful for your existence. THANK YOU for being here, being there, being you!!!!!

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.


  1. Amel, I know what you mean. Recently I visited my sister (about a 7 hour drive away) to spend a weekend and to go to her daughter's dance recital. Her daughter was being let out at half time, and her dad was to pick her up and go home, then we'd follow at the end. I think my sister was shocked when I pointed out that we had come to watch her daughter (my niece), not the children of people we didn't know. She frequently talks away about other children at school with CJ, all children I don't know, children of people I don't know and will never know. She doesn't seem to get it that whilst I can love my niece, I don't want or need to hear about other kids. Because all it does is emphasise that that isn't part of my world.

    I think too that there is an unspoken agreement amongst parents - that they will show interest in others' kids, as long as the others take interest in their children. It's a quid pro quo that we don't have to get involved in. And yes, I do think society punishes us if we say we're not interested in child-related stuff.

    I could also relate to the feeling of being left out of birthday parties, etc. My once best friend never once invited me to a birthday party, even though every year I bought presents for her children, and enjoyed being around them, and they enjoyed being around me. I felt hurt, but didn't blame her. I tried to understand her. Accepted it. But now, you know? I feel a bit annoyed on reflection. I made an effort to still be part of her life, and part of her children's lives. It wasn't acknowledged or reciprocated. And it fundamentally changed our friendship.

    1. See? It's so easy to talk to people like you, Mali, about these things. You just get it. Yes, that's what I feel, too. I no longer necessarily feel the need to ooh-aah over kiddo stuff unless I feel a connection with the kids/the parents themselves/some special occasions (not random ones). Interesting to know that your sister doesn't seem to get it. I've never talked about this to anyone yet, but I can imagine that they'd be surprised, too. It reminds me of the man who, upon hearing that I had no kids, asked me, "But aren't kids lovely?" Errrr...I may feel that way when I was in baby mania, but not anymore.****

      It's understandable why your friendship with your once best friend changed and why you're a bit annoyed. After all, you wanted to be there for the kids, but she just wouldn't let her. I'm sorry you had to go through something like this, Mali.

      You've got a point when it comes to the unspoken agreement amongst parents. I never thought of that before. Hmmmm...

      **** Side note: A friend is in baby mania and she now thinks that all babies are cute. When her husband said, "Well, X's baby is cute, but not all babies are cute", she thought it was outrageous for him to say that!

  2. So thankful for you, too, Amel. There is something so special in being part of a tribe -- understood, validated and heard in the most natural and authentic way. xo

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Pamela. Yes, very true about being part of a tribe. :-)


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