An LDS perspective on moving from childless to childfree living.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Experiences You Wanted with Your Children

DH and I have been doing quite well lately adjusting to living childfree.  We had an experience a couple of weeks ago that caused us to think about experiences we wanted to have with our children that we will not have, because we don't have children.

As a pianist, I always dreamed about having a child who also loved playing the piano.  We would play duets together, play and sing together, and perform together.  This was an experience I wanted to have with my children.  While I don't have my own children, I have performed piano duets with two of my nieces at recitals, played piano duets for fun with two other nieces, and played and sang around the piano with most of my nieces and nephews.  It hasn't been a regular occurrence in our home, but I still had the experience.

DH is a fly fisherman.  He finds a lot of enjoyment and peace from spending time on the river.  He would have liked to take his child fishing, just like he spent time with his dad fishing.  One of our nephews expressed interest in fishing, so DH has taught him over the last five years.  These two go fishing together at least twice a month.

A couple of weeks ago, we figured out that DH's sister was trying to give us an experience she thought we should have.  DH's nephew has received a mission call and was going to the temple for the first time.  On the first time to the temple, the person has an escort.  He asked DH to be one of his escorts.  When we were at the temple waiting, the temple worker told DH's BIL that it is not usual to have two escorts (DH and BIL, the nephew's dad).  BIL explained that DH couldn't have kids and that he wanted DH to have the experience of being an escort at the temple.  BIL said that DH could be the escort if there could only be one.   The temple president granted permission for two escorts.

Afterward, DH and I talked about how this was really his sister projecting the experiences she would have missed if she couldn't have children.  She could have called and said, "We recognize you won't have the experience of being a temple escort to your own children, would you like to escort your nephew?"  Instead, they just assumed we were missing out on this experience.

As DH and I talked, temple escort wasn't one of the experiences we were concerned about missing.  I mentioned a couple above.  DH said that last summer, one of the guys at his work was expecting a baby.  Someone asked how his wife was doing and when the baby was due.  DH said he was never going to experience the expectancy, and he was sad about that.

I didn't realize I wanted the experience of taking children to see Christmas lights on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, but I really enjoyed doing so this week with my nieces and nephew who live out of state and were in town for Christmas.  We went to dinner then walked around all of the lights, nativities, and buildings to see the decorations.  The kids were in awe!

What experiences did you want to have with your own children that you won't have, that you have had with other people's children, or that someone thought you should have?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I'm Not Ready for That

The LDS Church is run by lay clergy and volunteers from within the congregations.  Every member is given a calling to assist in running each ward or stake.

On Sunday, someone in the bishopric asked to talk to me.  I have a calling as ward organist.  This calling is very easy for me and doesn't require much time out of attending church and playing the organ.  The bishopric said they couldn't have someone else play the organ and wanted me to have a second calling.  I have no problem with that.  Then he said something about having a hard time staffing in Primary, the organization for children ages 18 months to 11 years old.  I thought it would be to play the piano for singing time, but it wasn't.  He wanted me to teach the Sunbeams class, the 3-year-olds. 

Out of nowhere, my eyes welled up with tears and I said, "I'm not ready for that."  He said he understood and was aware of our struggle to become parents.  I feel badly, because we are taught we should accept any calling that comes to us.

Just when I think I am fine with our decision, and I really am, something like this happens, and I realize I am still mourning the loss of the children I will not have.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Still Bothered

So I was reading the LDS Ensign magazine that comes out monthly.  I usually like reading the uplifting articles about Jesus Christ, about LDS church members in other areas of the world, or about other member experiences.  This month there was an article titled "Challenges, Miracles, and Testimonies", which is about a man who had cancer, he and has wife had a son already, and they miraculously had twin girls about three years after his last TX. 

He writes, "Yes, we experienced difficult challenges, but we’ve also experienced miraculous blessings. We feel we would be ungrateful if we did not share our testimonies that living the gospel helps us deal with our challenges. We know that all stories do not unfold like ours did. Nevertheless, we all can be blessed to know God’s plan for our lives through the confirming witness of the Holy Ghost. Our testimonies are founded on truth, not whether miracles follow." 

I know we experienced miracles.  DH is alive and well, he survived septic shock, his doctor didn't give him the last scheduled chemo TX when she knew he was too weak to handle it, we have a happy life together, but I am still bothered that some who had similar trials end up with a miracle baby or more.  At Christmas, we received a card from a family where the husband had a BMT about a week before DH.  They had two kids at the time.  Now 11 years later, surprise, they have another baby.

DH brought this up again yesterday, as it was our 19th anniversary.  We were talking about all the life we had been through, and he said, "But I still couldn't give you a baby."  Living CF does get easier with time, but sometimes, I'm still bothered.

On a side note, our anniversary was very nice.  We went to church, spent time talking, and went to dinner at a very nice restaurant in Salt Lake called the Grand American Garden Cafe.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I'm Getting Better At This

Last Sunday I was on a plane on the way home from a conference.  I attended with several others who serve on a state board with me.  I have only been on the board since August.  I was across the aisle from someone I know from the board, but he lives about three hours away, so our only contact has been monthly board meetings.  He is passionate about education, as am I, and we had a lot to talk about.

Then he said, "So, how many kids do you have?"

My reply was, "We were unable to have children."

He responded that he was sorry to hear that and talked about how his sister had faced infertility and had eventually adopted two sisters from Korea.  I gently said, "A better question is 'Do you have children?' because it does not assume everyone does."  He apologized again and thanked me for the suggestion.

I did have tears in my eyes as I shared a little bit about our IF journey.  He is also a member of the LDS Church and could understand my struggles with going to church.  We are approaching two years since we closed our adoption file, and we have been working to live a childfree life with joy.

I was able to choose my response, as Mali points out so well.

While this question is not easy, I am getting better at answering it, for which I am grateful.

Monday, February 16, 2015

"Baby Curse"

Yes.  A girl giving a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday, someone who had faced infertility, actually used the phrase "baby curse." 

As is common in many LDS Wards, people who are new are asked to speak and usually share a bit about themselves at the beginning.  This girl (I call her that, because, based on what she said, she is probably no older than 30) talked about how they had been married a few years, and she had a couple of miscarriages.  In their previous Ward, the Primary presidency had a "baby curse" that anyone who served in the Primary presidency got pregnant.  She was called into the Primary presidency and told the Bishop she wanted the "baby curse".  A month after she was called, she became pregnant with her first child, and they have since had a second.

After this, she went on to talk about her sister who recently had a bone marrow transplant was visited by an apostle and given a blessing by him.  My DH was so angry.  Not that this didn't happen to him when he had his transplant, but about how smug she was.  How she portrayed herself as so righteous as to have these things happen to her.  How life works out when you follow the commandments. 

What have we been doing for years?  We have been active and faithful.  If I had known all I had to do was serve in Primary, I would have volunteered to do that years ago. 

While I understand that she is new and doesn't know the circumstances of people in the Ward, I can't believe someone who had trouble with infertility would act so blatantly unaware of what others may be experiencing.  Not just us, but the numerous single sisters in our Ward. 

After the meeting, my friend from high school who knows all of our history came up and gave me a hug.  She said that throughout this girl's talk she kept thinking, "Just stop talking."  I am grateful to have this friend at church who is aware of me and sensitive to our situation.

DH and I talked afterward.  We both wanted to leave, but I was playing the organ. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

2014 Travel

I realized after reading Klara's post on her travels to the U.S. (we were in Monterey at the same time and didn't know it until after the fact) that travel is one of the benefits of living childfree.  We traveled more in 2014 than any other year in our 18 years of marriage.  We have not been out of the U.S., but we enjoy our travels within the country.

We visited Monterey, CA twice, in April for our anniversary and in October for DH's birthday.  We went to Denver, CO and I went to Nashville, TN for work.  We have found that Monterey is our new favorite getaway spot!  I had to go to Denver for work, but DH came and we brought our nephew.  They went fishing while I was in meetings.  I was able to do a bit of sight seeing in Nashville.

I am trying to enjoy our childfree life, and travel is part of that!

Purple carpet of Ice Plants in Pacific Grove


Asliomar sunset

Baby harbor seal
The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson

Elvis' gold-plated piano at the County Music Hall of Fame