As I sit here at 12:58 a.m. at the bathroom vanity with the dim night light glowing, I can’t help but feel sorry for myself. With tears streaming down my puffy, red face I can’t help but think, “I’ll never be enough.”
Infertility (or life’s other uncertainties) can bring on repeated cycles of feeling “okay” to “very not okay”. When it comes to me and wanting my own family, I’m currently in the “very, agonizingly, not okay” part.
From losing my job, to unfinished college degrees, to having financial troubles, feeling like I’m not “enough” is understandable. But does it mean I’m not allowed to be a mom until I have my life together?
I watch my nieces frequently (at least one over night a week). Some days, they drive me crazy with their energy and high demands, the way I’m sure I did as a child to my mom. The way every kid on the face of the planet ever has, naturally, to their caregivers.
The youngest niece, who recently turned one year old, is a real go-getter. She is extremely independent and hard headed and she really knows how to test one’s patience. But the other day, she made up for it all when she hugged me. Not a typical hug, but a “I really trust you and love you” hug. It struck me. Caught me off guard. It was so sweet and brought me to life. And at the same time scared me.
I’ve found it hard to keep the boundary between only being the Aunt, and knowing I’m not the Mom. It comes naturally to me to be a Mom. So when I feel I have to back away and only be the Aunt, it’s heartbreaking. Yes I love my nieces like I would my own. But there’s something that happens when a Mother and child connect, and I’m constantly having to shut that part of my heart and brain down to make sure I don’t get “too attached”.
I don’t want me or anyone else thinking I’m trying to replace her parents, or control the way she is raised, or whatever else it could be interpreted as. Not just with my nieces but many others kids I meet and care for.
I want to care so deeply but can’t, not only for boundary reasons but for the simple fact that they will have to leave me and go back with their parents.
It’s like, “Here are the kids. You get to be a mom for two days and attach yourself. Then, it will all be taken away.”
It truly makes me see how hard sharing custody of kids is to a divorced parent. I get it now. It’s hard.
Having to go through that triggers feelings of uncertainty, sadness, even jealousy and fear that I won’t matter as much to the kids in the long run. I won’t ever have the deep connection they have with their parents. And it often feels like I never will.
I’d like to believe God will give me children one day. He promises to fulfill our needs (Matthew 6:26-33), but does being a mother count as such? I wish I knew. I wish I knew a lot of things. But I guess if I already knew those “things”, then I wouldn’t need faith. Having complete trust and confidence in God has proven to be difficult. I suppose that’s why God put me here. To build my faith. Well, practice doesn’t always make perfect.