One of the things I still struggle with as a woman who always wanted kids but is not going to have them is pictures of other people's children. Pictures of newborns, Halloween costumes, the first and last days of school, etc. just kill me on the inside. It makes me sad for what I lost and for what I will never experience.
A friend of mine just texted me pictures of his family vacation. He sent a picture of the scenery; a picture of him and his wife; and a picture of him, his wife, and their toddler. I don't know why he did that. He could have just sent me the picture of the scenery. Or the pictures of the scenery and the picture of him and his wife. He knows I wanted kids and that I'm still grieving. I guess he doesn't know how painful it is for me to see pictures of other people's family vacations with their children.
But am I wrong? I hate to tell people to just "get over it." But do I need to get over it? People have kids. Especially at my age. I can't expect people to constantly censor their experiences for my benefit.
How do I interact in the world that's full of fertile people? How do I participate in life with others when a lot of basic things are still so painful for me?
Do I surround myself with only young people who haven't had kids yet and older people whose kids are already grown?
Do I continue to grieve and blog and work on myself in hopes that things like pictures of other people's children won't bother me in the future? If so, how do I do that? Does anybody know?
I can deal with social media. I have all of my friends with kids hidden. On bad days I'm not bombarded with reminders of what I'll never have. On good days I can check in on my friends' posts and see what they've been up to and chosen to share with the online world.
But unsolicited text messages. Holiday cards. People sharing pictures at work and in social settings. All of these things are very normal things to do... But I am still figuring out how to deal with them.
I'm embarrassed about it. I don't want pictures of other people's children to bother me, to make me sad, or to bring me pain. But the fact is, they do. I like my life. I love my life. I'm working hard to create a life that is joyful, interesting to me, and full of service to others. But I am still trying to figure out how to deal with some things that are simply normal everyday interactions with family, friends, and people in general.