Friday, 23 November 2012
The missing piece
I left my professional career for a few reasons. The main ones were because a) I felt like it was sucking the life out of me, b) I wanted to be a stay at home mom, and c) I was convinced that I needed only some time and (ewww, I hate to admit this), a little less stress to figure things out a.k.a. solve our infertility problem, become pregnant, give birth and live happily ever after, the end.
What started as a one-year leave of absence from my employment turned into a resignation and four years gone by. I’ve cherished a lot of the time that I’ve had. And I've been through some pretty rough stuff too, including coming this.close to losing my sister to a massive stroke and helping her rehabilitate. I’ve been able to do some things and learn about myself in a way that I don’t think I could have, had I remained in the rat-race. At my job I was work-alcoholic fueled by coffee, anxiety, and positive reinforcement. It wasn’t a pretty combination.
I spent a portion the last four years going back to school. It started as something to do and a strategy to keep my grey-matter from becoming mush. A few courses turned into a few more, and the next thing I knew I had signed up for a full year of classes to complete a degree. I’m tremendously grateful for the opportunity to learn just for the sake of learning. I think it might just be one of the greatest luxuries in the world. I love learning. I just wish more of it stayed in my head!
One of the first courses I completed was also one of the most valuable and fascinating. It was a class in positive psychology. We studied questions such as “what makes a happy life?” The professor taught us that this question is probably the wrong one. And eudaimonic wellbeing is really what we should be talking about.
A person could think of it as happiness = pleasure, and eudaimonia = human flourishing. Eudaimonia is arguably made up of several things. One of which is having meaning in your life.
(This website provides a detailed explanation if you are so inclined. It’s a bit of a read, but it is definitely faster than taking a course in positive psychology!
I often question why I want to be a parent. Sometimes I think that maybe it is just a biological need, and can’t be explained? I wonder, if I am just trying to fill this “meaning-void” with a little one when it could be filled with something else? Like maybe a different career? I wonder if parenting is going to live up to my expectations? I wonder about my marriage. Parenting can be stressful. Will D and I get along as well as we do now, or will we grow closer in our new roles?
D and I agree that our search for parenthood is tied closely with our search for meaning in this life. I strongly desire the full-circle life experience that only parenting is able to provide. I want to grow in my view of the world by seeing it through the eyes of a child. Sometimes when the IF road becomes really rough, I wonder if I could instead find meaning in another life pursuit to compensate for a life that is childfree? If all of the time, effort and money were spent somewhere else, would I have a better sense of wellbeing?
As we debate important decisions about OE or DE in our upcoming journey, I can’t help but wonder if it is silly for us (personally) to be chasing a genetic connection to a child? Is it going to change the amount of meaning we get from being parents? Nope. Will it bring us less pleasure? Doubt it.
Maybe for us DE is a better choice, as it has a higher probability of making us parents (and sooner)?