By Patty Lazarus
Everyone strives for that perfect life, including the perfect mix of family/home life and work. It’s a struggle to meet the demands of busy schedules, the workout routines we’d like to stick to, and getting those healthy dinners on the table, all while we yearn to spend time with our friends, or plan that perfect vacation. Time is always too short or we run out of energy or focus before we get everything on our “list” done for the day, or the week. Those seem like the easy complaints — the ones we have some control over — and if they don’t get done, we still persevere and try to do more or better the next day. Seldom do these time-related frustrations keep us up at night because we all seem to suffer from the same issues from time to time.
But what about the complaints that we can’t control? The ones that affect everything we do or think about on a constant basis. The complaints that leave us staring blankly out the window asking ourselves, “Why?” Why can’t I change this? Why is this happening to me? Why do I care so much about this? These are the complaints that saturate our lives and take over our productivity, confidence and emotional health. I’m certain there are many categories of these kinds of complaints, especially if we asked both men and women, but I want to focus on just one: The need for a child.
I call this need (and my blog) “ChildDrenched,” a reference that defines the people, mostly women, who are emotionally drenched in aching for a child. It’s a significant problem for many people as the biological clock ticks and months go speeding by while we wait for the right time, the right partner, and the appropriate bank account. But once everything is lined up and ready, the idea of having a child seems to just remain that — an idea. If we spend our entire childhood, as well as our twenties, thinking positively about our future, what happens to that positivity when the plan goes awry? By now, most of us have a friend or acquaintance who has struggled with infertility so we look at their situation and hope that doesn’t happen to us. But until it does, no one understands the truly helpless feeling it creates.
Children are everywhere and when you want one, they are even more noticeable. They show up in every aisle of the grocery store, at the next table in the restaurant, holding their mom’s hand walking down the sidewalk. You wonder what your own child would look like, say, or how he or she would affect your own life. When you want a child and you cannot have one, the wondering may turn into needing and eventually desperation. It becomes an exhausting struggle between what you want and what is actually happening. Each month brings a cycle of optimism and hope which gets harder to maintain with each disappointing pregnancy test. I started by blog to create a forum for those women who literally, or figuratively, cannot think of anything else but having a child. I hope these emotionally drenched women take comfort in others’ experiences, complaints, comments and suggestions, including my own.
Many of us spent so much of our dating lives making sure we didn’t get pregnant at the wrong time that we are shocked when we can’t actually have children when we finally want them. In this world of so many more career options, we face more and longer school requirements to become professionals or land the perfect job. We are generally spending too much time in non-social environments on our computers or watching TV at home that we create longer waits before settling down with the right partner, sometimes until we are in our thirties. Most of the “young” grandparents I know had children in their early twenties. Now it seems that people who get engaged in their early twenties are accused of jumping the gun or not being ready for marriage. Clearly, everyone is different and people are free to make their own decisions. I don’t judge people or blame them for potentially causing their own infertility by prioritizing their careers before having children. I myself didn’t have my first child until I was 31. Instead, I hope to make us all feel comfortable with our decisions and getting through the dark “ChildDrenched” days together.
Discover these and other posts about adoption on ChildDrenched:
About the author
Mercer Island, WA resident Patty Lazarus is a parent full-time, a tennis and golf enthusiast part-time, and an author. She recounts the struggles she experienced adopting her now 10-year-old daughter in a memoir, March Into My Heart, which will be released later this year. She started her blog, ChildDrenched, as a forum to introduce and explore the emotions, frustrations, joys, and numerous details surrounding adoption and to provide support to would-be adoptive parents, as well as other current adoptive parents.