I was raised in a family where the term “guilt trip” had some serious meaning. My grandmother believed it was a tool crucial to helping children, of any age, develop. Maybe that’s why I’m seeing so much of it lately. Only, it’s not all mine.
This week, on separate occasions, two friends expressed these feelings. One said that my situation causes her to keep things about her life from me and that she feels guilty talking about her children. That she’s somewhat resentful because of that. The other one had similar complaints. I instantly felt the need to apologize and beg forgiveness. I feel guilty for maybe not giving enough. I feel guilty for not asking about their children, letting them only say what they choose to tell me.
It’s just easier. Sometimes, I’m afraid to ask because I never know what I might hear. I still don’t even feel ready to hear about most children, even ones I feel close to. I was proud of myself for talking to my friend from Texas last week. She’s 33 weeks and I would have been just a little bit ahead. She’s sensitive and understanding, but I’m still fighting those resentful feelings a little while after talking to her. Yet, I feel bad if I don’t ask about her nursery and her pregnancy, her showers and her health. It is conflicting, because I’m glad I know now, and other times I wish I hadn’t asked.
I wish I could get rid of ALL the guilt I feel, and theirs, and yours. We feel as if we have to suppress “bad” feelings, but that only makes us feel worse in the long run. I know sometimes I’m too hard on myself and my friends, especially those that I believe don’t or can’t understand what I’m going through. To any of those friends reading this. I’ll try to be better and contribute something more positive to our relationship. I can’t promise to not feel even the tiny bit resentful, but I can try.
And I truly don’t mean to make anyone guilty for what they have. I’m thrilled that you’re pregnant, or that you have children. I don’t begrudge anyone their family, their kids. I just wish I had it too. You can’t give me yours, and you can’t share, so I’ll just ask you to pray that I someday find a better way to deal with the feelings my situation causes me.