Failing At Babies

Upcoming April it’s been three years since I’ve started failing at babies.

This glorious term comes from Elizabeth Day’s chapter in her book How To Fail called ‘How to Fail At Babies.’

It is perfect. I don’t think I’ve ever read something so perfectly encapsulated what has been a (compartmentalized but present part) of my life since 2019. I’ve been failing at babies for three years now. First haphazardly, later with commitment. But failing it was.

While friends have been succeeding at babies, some not just once, but twice over over the past two years-coming-on-three, I have been failing at it.

I say “I have been failing” because even though my boyfriend has a rather essential part to play, somehow it feels like it’s my personal failure.

I feel like I am the one failing at it.

This has less to do with my biology, as fertility doctors have only found a mildly slow thyroid (that has now been sped up appropriately without any change in occupation of my uterus by potential babies), but more with some sort of inherent or ingrained sense of ownership of pregnancy and parenthood.

At the end of the day I am the one who is not getting pregnant.

And I am also socially and culturally deemed responsible and dare I say it, required to get pregnant. The guilt of being unable to befalls me too. And it makes me feel like there is something inherently wrong with not just my body but also who I am as a person.

Am I not selfless enough? Am I not strong enough? Is there a mental, psychological or spiritual reason that I am failing at babies?

I’m good about it, mostly.

I don’t begrudge anyone their pregnancies or their kids. I don’t take it personal, the things they say about their lives, their kids, their struggles, the things I would like to experience. I genuinely believe that these lived experiences are valid, and I have space for them in my heart. This might be easier for me to do than for others because I am -apart from this- content. I like my life tremendously, which helps.

Because of this I am okay, mostly.

But I am so tired of failing.

I am tired of fighting both hope and disappointment. I am tired of losing all these battles, every time. I’m fed up with having to hope again because if I can’t find it in myself to hope again:

why are we even fucking?

I am tired of either grieving or simply deciding to be over it because this is the way it is for some of us, with this uncontrollable and complicated thing we’re trying to do that is out of our hands to such an extent, so we just gotta deal.

I am tired of always being the one congratulating and listening and making space and holding your kids because I love them and I love you, but I wish I could finally be the one you need to make space for.

It’s tiring to always be cool about it, because the one thing that I hate more than my own pain is that fucking awful tone of sympathy that creeps into everybody’s voice like I am the saddest woman in the world because of this, erasing everything that I am next to this, despite of this.

I find nothing more infuriating and demeaning than that tone, but making sure nobody ever uses it on me is exhausting.

Last winter I wrote an Instagram post about how this year I would let it go, how I would just try to ‘live.’

Looks like I am failing at that too.

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Lianne

Lianne

Personal development enthusiast, creative writer, student counselor.