Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Beautiful Parallel

I belong to an email support group centered around infertility. Recently, someone made the comparison between having a child and getting married. The more I thought about it, the more I identified with it. I thought it was remarkable, and I hope I can explain it in a way that is not offensive.

Planning your wedding day is a big deal for a woman. As little girls, we grow up wanting to have a beautiful wedding someday. Once we are engaged (and sometimes even before then), we spend hours over every detail: the dresses, the cake, the colors, the music. We want that day to be everything we have ever dreamed of.

Fairly quickly though, the wedding day passes and we settle into the marriage. It is in the marriage (hopefully) that we discover what the 'wedding' was truly all about. Although we look back fondly on our wedding day, it is the actual journey through life with our best friend that fulfills us, uplifts us, challenges us, and molds us. Our life is not defined by that one day frozen in time, but by the days, weeks, months, and years that follow.

You can make a similar comparison to pregnancy and parenting.

I remember as a little girl stuffing a pillow under my shirt and pretending I was a soon-to-be-mommy. I believed that carrying a child was the gateway to the job I want most in the world, Mom; much like the wedding day is a gateway to a marriage.

I have never been pregnant, or had a child. Even so, I imagine that, despite the beautiful (and not-so-beautiful) moments in pregnancy, the true guts and glory of being a mother is achieved in the rearing of the child.

Thus, pregnancy might be compared to a wedding day. Wonderful, amazing, stressful, emotional, and even majestic... but what really matters is the result: a beautiful new life and the start of a family.

So, what would it mean if I adopted a child? Maybe I would miss the 'wedding day', but I would gain the 'marriage'. Isn't that the important part anyway?

And I wouldn't really be missing the 'wedding day'. It would just be different than I had planned; like some exotic destination wedding. Different stresses and different joys... same beautiful result.

I don't need to fear that the train to motherhood will leave me behind at the station. I just may be getting on at a different stop. The trial is in waiting for my turn to board...


Recently, I wrote a blog about an experience with screaming children during a recent grocery store outing. I feel I need to clarify something, as I have spoken with a few people about the subject and feel I was misunderstood.

I have often seen weary parents trying to wrangle their exhausted, screaming children in public places before. I have looked on their situation with compassion and adoration at their seemingly endless supply of patience. I have doubted my own future ability to handle such a dilemma. I have not envied their position one bit and have hoped that there was peaceful resolution for them soon.

The difference in this situation was the parent's encouragement of the behavior and the apparent disregard for the comfort of anyone else in earshot. Combine that with an especially difficult day and you have a recipe for a good batch of venting.

I hope that makes sense! :)


Isa said...

Love your post today!

I am very sorry you had to defend your position about the grocery store post. Just to let you know, it made perfect sense that what you were trying to say is that the parents were "encouraging" inappropriate behavior/disregard to others.

Michelle, let's meet in the happiest place on earth...when do ya wanna?

RMCarter said...

Don't worry! You are very sweet. :) I didn't need to defend my position. Everyone has been very supportive, really! I've just had a few 'child rearing' coversations lately with others that caused me to re-think my post and want to clarify. I just got to thinking that I wanted to make it absolutely clear what I was trying to say. I didn't want to seem like I don't enjoy being around children or that I don't appreciate the trials of parents. It was mostly for my own peace of mind.

I would love to meet at DL sometime! We don't have passes, but we seem to get there often anyway. :) That would be a blast! Next year, you get in free on your birthday. That's a thought!

Brock said...

I thought this post was beautiful!! SOO well put! I can't help but think that taking a baby to the temple to be sealed to you, would have to be the most gorgeous spiritual "wedding" moment of them all. I love this post!! Thank you

Emily said...

Thoughtful post. I love the analogy, very true!

Michelle said...

That is a great analogy and I totally agree with the kids screaming while parents basically encourage the behavior.

Brenda said...

With regard to your pregancy is to wedding as parent is to marriage analogy (I feel like I'm writing an SAT question), I think that it is indeed a very beautiful analogy. I have had to redefine my definition of being a mom over the last few years. I never had a problem thinking that the wedding ceremony was just a small step into a marriage. I was very "non-picky" for a bride. I just knew I wanted to spend my life with my (now) husband.

It has been harder to do the same with pregnancy and having a child. Through these last years, however, I have come to realize that, as you said, it is not that the outcome is any different if the child is adopted, born of surrogacy, etc., it's more that I'VE changed how I look at the situation. Similarly, a Tahiti wedding, a courthouse ceremony, a trip to the Vegas chapel or a full-out high Mass at a cathedral all equal the same thing: a marriage. Thank you for such a lovely post.