Monday, July 9, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: Tales of Telling

I feel like I've wondered multiple times recently if I'll EVER be done telling people that things didn't work out for us parenthood-wise, most recently here when I ran into a student from two years ago at a local festival and she wanted to know if we'd "gotten our baby yet."

Well, I can tell you it's not done, not yet, and I suspect there will always be people who I will run into who haven't seen us in forever or who I don't know through social media, who will wonder what happened, and it will throw me for a bit of a loop.

When I went to graduation, I saw a student of mine from last year and her mom, because her older brother was a graduate. It was lovely to see her, and to stop and chat briefly -- but then at the end-of-the-year district-wide celebration I ran into her mom (a teacher in the district) again, and she said, "I hate to ask, but my daughter was so excited to see you, and she wanted to know... what happened with adoption?" I took a breath and said, "Oh, oh yes, of course...well, that didn't go well. Not at all, actually, and last year we hit a bit of a rock bottom and decided that 8 years was enough time to slam our heads against the wall and so we are now childfree." And she looked a little sad but also totally understood, and I asked her if she would tell her daughter but not in a "boo hoo" way, because while it is sad it is also wonderful to not be living in the in-between.

Today I was running a bit late for tutoring and I walked into the library in the town where I teach, and a librarian was at the front desk who I haven't seen in forever, and I knew her back when I had one student with autism who did a lot of community-based instruction and he worked in the library, shelving books, and she was the supervisor then. I've run into her a few times but realized it had been QUITE a long time ago when she was like, "Oh my gosh, it's you! How ARE you?" and then said in hushed tones, "I hate to ask," Again, it was a take a breath and then, "Oh, ohhh no. Noooo. That didn't work out. Eight years of heartbreak proved to be too much to continue." And she looked sad but was understanding and said, "oh yes, that's so hard, my daughter's friend has had a heck of a time, just like you guys, and when do you say it's enough?" I had a moment where I felt I had to let her know that adoption didn't work out, either (she looked positively shocked at that one), but said, "It's been a year now, and it's honestly okay. We're good. Life is better when you're free of all that." And then she APOLOGIZED for bringing up a painful subject right before I had to tutor, which was actually quite refreshing (and at this point it doesn't always reduce me to tears, it's just matter-of-fact, so it was fine).

And the last one was no one we knew personally, people we saw at a graduation party who we've seen at other parties with the same people, infrequently. It was amazing, though, because the question was, "Do you think you'll want to have kids?" -- which made me feel like "DAMN this neck cream is working out!" because at 42, nobody usually asks you if you're still thinking about it, usually it's asking if you have elementary aged kids or whatever. And when I said, "No, it didn't work out for us," she moved on and showed us pictures of her dog. Win.

I may still be telling people about our tale of woe and subsequent happiness and freedom from constant awfulness, but the way I am reacting to it is definitely improving. So that's progress, at least.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy! 


  1. Oh my word...I just can’t imagine running in to so many people who don’t know and have to ask! I would think after a certain point as you move on you start to forget who might not know, and also not expect it to be the question you get asked. That is hard, to be confronted unexpectedly with a difficult topic, but it sounds like you are handling it very well!
    And that is awesome to get the question about if you are thinking of having yay for that!!
    I also feel like if people have to say something like “I hate to ask” then maybe they just should not ask!
    Although, my own quick story is that arecwntly, a doctor’s wife was a patient of mine. I could tell she wasn’t feeling great, but she was still polite and talking to me, and I asked her about a family friend of theirs that her husband had sent to us for some testing, and the results were bad, and it was a terrible day because she was only 37 with grim prognosis. I have always wondered about her and about a year after that day this doctor was around and I had asked then and she was doing ok. This was about 4 years ago. Anyway, this doctor’s wife started crying and told me this woman had passed away about 6 months prior and it was their best friend’s daughter and she had 3 young kids. I started apologizing feeling so bad I made this poor sick woman cry, and explained that I had always thought of this patient we had, and she ended up saying she was so glad we remembered her and wanted to tell her mom that she wasn’t forgotten by anyone...and then we were both crying.
    Sometimes it’s just the well meaning people who inadvertently make things worse!

  2. I'm laughing out loud at "DAMN this neck cream is working out!"

    I'm glad that you are not being upset by having to tell people. But I'm not surprised that the questions still throw you for a loop. I'm glad you got sensible, kind reactions from the people you told.

    I hope too that you feel free to say something simple, like your response to the last person, if you don't feel comfortable giving more information, or just don't want to justify your answer.

    Otherwise - here's to progress.

  3. Ha I love that too about the neck cream...
    Perversely, I had a period of feeling a bit disgruntled that no one ever asked me what the outcome of our couple of years of fertility treatments was (e.g. had we stopped trying completely, were we OK about it... not even my sister ever asked. The waters simply closed over it and it was as if it never happened). I say perversely because I would have detested the questions and I would have been terrible at answering them. So hats off to you for dealing so well with them; your changing reactions are also a big indication of healing. On the neck cream note, since turning 40 it has sometimes (also perversely) annoyed me that no one ever wonders if there is offspring on the horizon for me - again, I would hate the question and would have been bloody irritated of course, but do I look that old? I suppose it's all down to the cranky look I have about me, while you are lovely and open looking....

  4. Lots of progress!

    I really love your elevator speech about it. And that you asked that it be relayed not as a boo-hoo story but one of resilience, and that your neck looks so good :-)

  5. LOL re: the neck cream...!! I feel for you -- so many people knew you were trying to adopt, so you will probably keep getting questions for a while about it. I kept running into people, years later, who would ask me about my kids, & when I'd say I don't have any kids, they would get this puzzled look on their faces & say, "I was SURE you had kids??" I realized they probably remembered my pregnancy (but didn't know it ended in stillbirth). Most times, I didn't want to go into all that -- I'd just say "Nope!" and change the subject! The questions should start getting further & fewer between over time, and as you get older (neck creams notwithstanding, lol). (((hugs)))