Remember that ad? The woman looks at you with sultry eyes and says in her most seductive voice, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” The angle was to get us to want to be like her?
The assumption is that we are dumb enough to believe that her life is better than ours because she has an upper hand in the beauty department. We are supposed to drool like zombies and follow right into the trap and fallacy of attainable perfection. The price that woman paid to get to where she is was carefully swept under the rug to make us think that there is an easy road. No one mentions the hours she spent at the gym. No one tells us about the tasteless foods meticulously measured before consumption. No one talks about the family sidelined or foregone in the pursuit of a moment in the spotlight. No one shows the list of rejection letters or lack of call backs from countless auditions. Her sacrifices are worthless in the light of the lie of the possibility of procuring a benefit grossly outweighing the cost.
My eight-year-old daughter had a frank and brief conversation with a woman who has an adopted sister. This woman told my girl that the wait is so worth it and that she will forget about how hard it has been when her new sister is in our home. The simple childlike reasoning lead to: if you are telling me that I will not remember, yet you remember, how can I be sure that I won’t remember? Well meaning, wise and kind people have said something similar to me about this adoption. Once she is with you you will forget all this agony. As soon as you get her home the suffering in the process will seem like nothing. After this whole waiting part is done with it will seem like the blink of an eye. I tilt my head when I hear these things. Their intentions are fine and good.
The thing is: I am not so sure I want these memories to dissolve into the evident happiness we will enjoy. There is power in remembering the pain. I don’t want to let a haughty, “Don’t hate me because I have my daughter now,” ever escape my lips.
Childlessness, to any degree, in the heart of a person who so wants to be a mommy hurts. It hurts like a mother! The pain is evidence of hope. We hope for the fulfillment of our desires, while all the while our guts are a train wreck of emotions. We haven’t given in to cynical resignation so we burn with hope.
Then the other side of the issue is I don’t want to believe the platitudes that things are going to be peachy keen and roses and cotton-candy and sunshine all the time once the adoption is finalized. I don’t want to portray an image as though I have it all together, and, “Don’t you want to be like me?” I want to remember the struggle it took to get to where we are, because that makes me value the place I am now. I want to remember that others are walking through some of the same pain that my calloused feet attest to. I want to humbly encourage people to keep on putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how hard each step is. I want them to own the journey. I want to acknowledge the value of the uphill fight and let them know that they are not alone.
It’s a given that we should not go about seeking out troubles and trials. It’s also a sad truth that many turn their hardships into manipulation or fuel for false pride. We will try not to fall into that side of the ditch either. We will attempt to maintain a healthy relationship with the pressures of the process in which we find ourselves.
All this to say I hope you are not sneering at me as I did that nameless face on the screen in those commercials way back when. Yes, we are rejoicing as we approach the final stages of this leg of the journey, but we have not arrived.
Let me encourage all childless mothers… you are not alone. Your pain is validated. I pray that in the intricacies of your unique position you find hope, you find peace and above all you find God.