What I am about to confess may shock or offend some people, but if you are someone who feels the way I did a couple of years ago it may help you, and that is all that I pray for.
I was following a thread on twitter recently, where some chaps had been comparing getting up early with their young families since the clocks had changed and a young lady had chimed in to 'spare a thought for those who don't have families'. Whilst I thought this was a far point (and so did the blokes) I tweeted something thoughtless back, about how I was sure the blokes knew they were blessed and to basically 'lighten up' (I didn't exactly say that, but that was the gist) and one of the blokes and the lady basically got offended by my butting in and passing comment on her lonely situation, I apologised and I hope all was left well.
The truth is, what I actually wanted to tweet couldn't be said in 140 characters, hence this blog post, which I have mulled over and am still not sure about.
You see as much as I feel for (as I'm sure we all do) childless people for whatever reason they are in that boat, there was a point when I wanted sympathy as a parent.
Every person out there with kids, who knows someone who hasn't yet been able to have kids, has probably expressed their disappointment for them - and that is right; I cannot imagine how it must feel if the most natural progression in life is not possible for you.
But what about those of us who have had kids? No-one would ever say to us, "it's just awful for you. Don't you regret having them? I'm so sorry you've found yourself in this situation of having a family." Of course they wouldn't and 99% of the time if anyone did express that to a parent they would quite rightly get an earful - if not a face full, of fist!
But my confession is, a couple of years ago I found being a parent almost unbearable; it was nothing to do with my kids; they are wonderful children who have not given me any more grief than any other average family. It was my depression.
My state of mind was telling me I was failing as a mother, that I couldn't look after them, I couldn't handle the responsibility, which overwhelmed me with guilt for having them in the first place, but how can you tell someone you wished you weren't a parent?
Of course I know the situation is different, I was ill and my mind wasn't in it's right frame (it very rarely is!) but nevertheless, as much as a childless person longs for a child, I longed to be free of that responsibility. I feared they would 'inherit' my anxieties, I feared constantly I was letting them down, but worst of all they were controlling me. I wanted to leave this world but I couldn't, because my fears of them growing up, screwed up, because I had chosen to leave them, was also too much to bear, they had a hold on me, how dare they!
Can you imagine the backlash if you tweeted 'spare a thought for those of us that have kids :(' and not in a light-hearted sarcastic way, but in a, I mean this, I want out, way?
My very close friend and my husband and others were able to tell me I was a fantastic Mother, that the kids needed me and loved me and I was important to them, but I liken it to the countless people who must tell an anorexic person that they look beautiful - when they look in the mirror that is not what they see.
The sad thing is for me, when I am on form and feeling good, I know I am a damn good Mum, my teenage sons friends think I'm a legend for goodness sake, I'm fun-mum!
I guess I just want to put out there that sometimes parents who have been blessed with the most wonderful kids can end up in a dark place where they wonder the unthinkable, what it might have been like to have been blessed with being childless.
Going back to the 'tweet', the sum up is probably, rather than asking others to kindly please consider your situation and how awful it is for you, consider yourself that it actually might be a situation they are yearning for. Accept your lot, learn to live with it, fight through it, get counsel over it, whatever it takes to get you to accept that it is yours.
I am pleased to say I am in a much better place now than I was a couple of years ago. Of course in reality I would never change anything about my children, like I said, it was an illness taking hold, but I did have to fight through it and get help to accept that I could cope with being a parent, but if any parent out there is feeling like they just can't do it anymore, you are not alone and if you find the courage in you to tell someone, no matter how wrong that may seem, you can get through it.
I found when I was able to tell someone just how scared I felt and how I couldn't do it anymore that was one of the first moves to helping me feel better.
Psalm 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand