“You know what, nothing makes our hair stand straight up on our neck or make us want to knock someone’s lights out like when someone’s values collide with our values.”
As I sat across from my friend in the hustle and bustle of a Spanish bar and listened to his comment, I felt an aha moment coming on. My friend was critiquing his work environment and team business models, but my thoughts jumped to my own emotional outbursts when people touched my own values and dreams related to having a family.
Really, he hit the nail on the head. No matter the context, if you step on someone’s value, it’s like striking the match on a stick of dynamite. And the bigger the value, the bigger the blast. What’s more, if you light the fuse of an infertile, well, you better run for cover. I think of the time my wife had to intervene so I didn’t chuck a younger Spanish’s boy’s soccer ball at his face (don’t ask), or the time I awkwardly changed the subject in a doctor’s office and grabbed my wife’s hand before she grabbed and chucked a pencil holder at her inconsiderate physician’s smug little smile.
Obviously, as I suppose we would qualify as time weathered infertile folks, my wife and I both have had our different fuses. But what’s fascinating is that you can usually track the line from one end of the fuse right up to a person’s biggest dreams: what they’ve always valued grabbing hold of with their future family.
In hindsight, I think it would have helped us to take a better look at our own personal explosive devices, i.e., our dreams. I’m not just talking about “I always wanted a kid.” Yes, at the core, this is the dream lost in infertility, the ultimate desire that ends up detonating our dynamite at various times and in various places. But interestingly enough, our fuses lead to other, more specific, even hidden values. For example, I never knew I valued seeing my own face in the face of my child…until my wife more easily was willing to transition to further treatments for less than fully biological children. She never knew the full significance of her dream to name a child, until the doctor casually commented as if she was talking about the weather, “oh yeah, your last fetal mass (miscarriage) was male in gender.”
I think the more we can recognize these values and really mourn their death, the more we’ll actually move on. We don’t just mourn the loss of being a Dad or a Mom; we must mourn never seeing our own DNA smiling back at us, never teaching our son how to swing a bat, or never getting to sing to our own swaddling bundle to sleep at night. We mourn the specifics. Here is a list of the top five things I’ll miss in not having a child:
1. A young person with whom I could share my Christian worldview and values
2. A young little guy or girl that looks like me
3. A little person to have on my lap while I read to him or her
4. Getting to teach and participate in sports
5. Watching the wonder of a child as explores and discovers
What lost dreams will you miss most?