“To our knowledge, flourless chocolate cake is the only dessert that is named for a missing ingredient.” ~The New Best Recipe cookbook, page 862
Being childless sometimes feels like being a flourless chocolate cake. You’re defined by what is missing in your life and your identity can be pigeonholed into one category ~ infertile. Never mind all the rest. Never mind all the tiny ways you try to make this world a better place. You’re not a mom, so it doesn’t matter.
This is as ridiculous and as untrue as telling a flourless chocolate cake it’s not decadent because it lacks dry ingredients.
Yes, John and I would like children, but my mind tells me: Be happy now. Do not wait. Nothing is going to get any more perfect than it already is.
It’s true certain circumstances are easier to live with than others. But a lot of circumstances are easier to live with than we let them be.
This applies to the fertility struggle as much as it does to any struggle. And I don’t want to be defined by my struggles. I want to be defined by my joys. I want my mind to be so jam-packed and overflowing with everything good and right in my life that all the negatives are pushed to the back corner, where they can be properly ignored.
I wonder if flourless chocolate cake ever longs for more than its rich ingredients of chocolate, butter and eggs. I’m thinking not.
Of course, we are not cake.
And sometimes not having a baby (or fill in the blank with whatever is lacking in your life) is harder than I would like to admit, and it’s hard to know what to do when you feel disappointed or left behind. A few years ago I noticed most of my friends were having their second child. Now almost everyone is welcoming their third or fourth.
Sometimes I feel like I’m never going to catch up, like I’m so far behind I’m not even in the race.
This feeling is not limited to children. There are several areas in my life I find just as frustrating as infertility, and all of them have the tendency to make me feel inadequate and stupid.
You might be wondering how something so obviously out of my control as infertility could make me feel stupid. This is where I will show you the ugliness of self-blame:
We should have started trying sooner, before I turned 30. We should have had our lives more together so we could have started trying sooner without fearing we would end up on welfare. We shouldn’t have worried so much about being ‘ready’ to have children. (By the way, we never became ‘ready’ we just stopped worrying about it.)
This train usually crashes somewhere around: I should have done my high school summer reading because slacking in English is clearly when my life took a turn for the worse.
The fact John and I are childless really isn’t a turn for the worse. It’s just not what we imagined. I bet flourless chocolate cake is not what a lot of people imagine. When done well, it’s surprisingly and undeniably delicious.