28 June 2016

I'll Never be a Dad

The last couple of weeks have seen me falling a little off the Polkaroo wagon with some over consuming and a return to the old days on two occasions. I was flummoxed by this sort of behaviour because I have been so in control and present with my beer that I thought I had left those days behind for good. I have been wracking my brain for the last fourteen days trying to come up with an answer and it struck me hard today at work. Five words that sum up what I've been running from...
I'll never be a dad.
That's not a huge sentence but it is a big burden that I've been allowing to fester on my soul for the last few months and keeping it to myself as there is a no more avoided topic than a couples infertility. It's not something you talk about that often and after seven years of throwing thousands of dollars at the problem and watching Kat struggle every month when she didn't become pregnant, I am emotionally spent and tired of the entire process.
Our family is filled with children of all ages and as our nieces and nephews all head farther along their paths in life we lose a little more contact with the time in our lives when a child would seem probable. The youngest of them prepare to head off to high school and we watch proudly, but from a distance as our brothers and sisters begin to loosen the reigns and send their pride and joy into the wider world. Their success at being parents has inspired us and the fact that we cannot emulate them and share in the happiness that is children weighs us down.
When you are childless, well meaning but ultimately devasting things are said in your presence, I've heard the phrase, "You're life isn't complete without kids.", more times than I can count and I can assure you that while I love to watch the kids in my family grow and share in the fun that you have, our lack of funds to try and become parents does not negate our existence. Our experience at the hands of sympathetic nurses and doctors does nothing to soothe the simple fact that we have not been able to conceive and for some people that makes our lives poorer as a result.
I am sure that a child would enhance our lives and make it even better than it is now, but I don't want to feel like I am less of a person because we could not procreate. Our journey hasn't been conventional and a lot of the time we struggled to just make it paycheque to paycheque. The last year has seen a light return to my eyes and we have finally begun to experience all that life has to offer. Craft beer may be the catalyst that kicked off our own personal revolution, but it is in rediscovering ourselves that we truly began to realise how much our infertility had pushed our spirits into the ground. Together we help each other up, dust ourselves off and walk together toward a different future than we had planned.
I've always been told that men are not supposed to feel the pull of parenthood as strongly as women and I had no desire to burden Kat with my personal hell, so as Father's Day approached the other week, I turned once again to over consuming to hide my feelings. I know better and when it happened again this week, that was enough to spur all this. Keeping things bottled up inside helps no one and being able to talk to her and write this has opened my heart to moving forward once again. I would love nothing more than to come back here sometime in the future and write the words "I'm a dad!" over and over again, but that seems increasingly unlikely and I know now that my journey will take me somewhere I could not have imagined as I was growing up.
My Father is one of my heroes and I think the fact that I will not be able to emulate and honour him by being as good a dad as he was and is factored into my depression over our struggle. Watching our friends and family who are experiencing parenthood for the first time brings us some joy as well as a melancholic pull that our chances have slimmed and perhaps life has other things planned for us. Having said that, we are excited about the future. Travelling, chasing a dream or two and probably things we can't even imagine now will come as they may. I can no longer live in the desperate silence of struggling to have a child, but I also don't accept that my personal sense of self should suffer because of that problem. Being part of a couple that struggles with infertility means caring for the other person even though there is nothing you can do to help. Our only choice is to embrace what our lives truly are and not wallow in what cannot be. I know our future will have meaning and it will be a blast to hold Kathryn's hand as we discover just what that will be.
Together, our future is bright!

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