Responsibility

Standard

To me, the measure of a man is how he deals with responsibility. When you are put in charge of a project, a pet or a person, how do you react? How do you manage to maintain that focus and discipline, 24/7? How do you ensure that you maintain respect in both directions? It’s a big deal. A man rises to the challenge. When I think of the men I respect, this is exactly what I picture: competence in the face of great responsibility.

This makes it all the harder to know that, in myself, I don’t see that. What I want most in life is to be free of all responsibilities, so that I just do what I want. In my own eyes, this makes me more of a child than a man. It can be fun, certainly, but endless amusement is not adulthood. I believe I deal with the few responsibilities that come my way, but I don’t especially believe that keeping plates and laundry clean and the bills paid in themselves make me a man.

Perhaps I’ll never believe it. Perhaps those few times I’ve been in charge and I’ve blown it – really blown it badly – have convinced me that it’s not for me. Perhaps that part of me is right, and I will never be a leader of any kind. They say the world needs followers, too. I feel like that’s just a thing they say to failures and cowards.

Support

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Occasionally I circle around the idea of a support group for childless couples, but I always end up dismissing the idea. There probably exist such groups, but infertility is a weird, kind of taboo issue in society. You’re allowed to be infertile, and you’re allowed to talk about it for a bit, but if you take your friends’ advice, see the doctors and still find yourself unable to have children, that’s the last you’re allowed to talk about it. You won’t see your friends again. They’ve got kids, and their world revolves around that now, so anything they do is kid-centred. Inviting childless couples to kid-centred events feels either inappropriate or awkward, like you’re rubbing it in.

So, in theory, it’s the perfect situation around which to form a support group. Come along, tell your story, give and receive encouragement, learn coping strategies. It should work.
Then I think about the problems. You’d get couples in their 50s who have all but accepted their fate trying to talk to couples in their 20s who have been “trying for ages”, by which they mean six months. What do those couples have in common that they can talk about? Then there’s the problem of hope, as well. When couples are going through IVF, they’re having a hard time balancing hope with realistic expectations and trying not to get their hearts broken. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, and it’s tricky enough without other couples trying to either build you up or tamp you down, as the situation requires.

Lastly, there’s the leaving. Sometimes, those couples in their 20s or 30s will suddenly succeed at overcoming their infertility in some way. The IVF will suddenly take on the third try, or they just miraculously conceive after seven years, or maybe they were never infertile at all and their long, hard, gruelling six months of waiting is finally over. The rest of the group will notice when someone stops showing up, and they will know what that means. They know, and it hurts. It’s worse than losing a friend. It’s losing a solidarity partner – someone who was struggling through the same problems as you, who then suddenly doesn’t have them any more. That’s not what they want to do really – cause pain and leave – but they’ve lost any and all connection to the group now. Those left behind just get a reminder about how their own problems are not shared by everyone, and not even shared equally by everyone in the group. It’s also a reminder of the times your friends had kids and stopped seeing you because that is actually happening all over again.

So. Even if there were a support group for childless couples, and even if it works really well for those people, I doubt we would go.

John

Aside

I realise it’s been over a year since I’ve posted here. I’m not going to make excuses or promises. After all, I’ve still been posting at my other blog every single weekday. What I’d like to say is that this place, this other blog, might be more personal than that. Maybe.

Years ago, I started blogging because I wanted to share my life. I believed at the time that I was likely to be single for the rest of my life, and blogging actually helped fill that void. Even though I wasn’t really sharing my life with a particular person, I was sharing it. It made me feel better. I mostly put aside that aspect when I got married, and I talk with my wife about everything, but sometimes I still write my feelings and maybe this could be a place to share that, if and when I want to.

So. Posts might be irregular here, or there might never be another one. We’ll see.

John.