Being Wrong Turned Out So Much Better Than I Ever Expected!
Decades have passed since I wrote this life-changing letter to my parents in my 30th year. I look back now over a life I have enjoyed living and feel so much gratitude that I found a way to make a difficult decision and move forward in my life with enthusiasm.
Back then, I thought I knew what was essential for a happy, fulfilling life. When my dream was ripped from me, I believed that I would never recover. Thankfully, I was wrong.
Dear Mom and Dad,
I have just enjoyed a long weekend with two wonderful parents. I had wanted to discuss something with you two, but I decided that I would better be able to help you understand without the emotionalism, which I knew would result in me from a discussion.
I think that you are cognizant of the deep concern of both Hiro and myself for the fact that I am not able to bear any children. When we married we were in full accord that children were for us a very important part of marriage. We did want time to prepare ourselves as husband and wife so that we could fully accept the tremendous responsibility that children present. We wanted to come to know, love and complement each other as fully as possible so that our relationship would have a firm basis on which to grow over the years. We wanted to be strong enough to weather the problems as well as to experience the joys of parenthood.
We decided that after our departure from the University of Minnesota was a good time to start our family. I went to a gynecologist for a checkup –– everything was fine. We began to hope and I prayed, but nothing happened. We were busy traveling, moving to Indiana, and then to Philadelphia and still we hoped. Two years later, after surgery, our hopes were seriously shaken by the possibility that had never occurred to us. By that time in our marriage we were very close –– good friends as well as lovers. We had been through some tough times in our early years when both of us were under constant pressure with barely enough time to sleep. And we had some very good times.
After the surgery and the convalescence came almost a year of continuous tests and doctors’ appointments. Finally the doctor’s conclusion that there would be no children. An end to our hope and the beginning of grief!
Each of us had to come to accept the fact individually before we could accept it together. I was desolate. Whenever the subject arose, I would end up crying myself to sleep. I had always looked forward to bearing children with a great yearning. After Hiro and I were married, my yearning became stronger and mingled with his. I longed to feel my body swell with the growth of the child conceived from our love. Together we planned how our life would change with the coming of the child. We chose names, we decided matters of discipline and whether we should fully or only partially support them through college.
I wonder if any but those who experience the grief, can know how deeply we were shaken. I wonder how many times I cried, feeling each time that there would be no end to tears. Hiro did not express his grief in tears, but it was there in his eyes as plainly as if they were filled with tears.
For Hiro the acceptance was much more bitter medicine then for myself. After all, it is my body that is at fault, not his. In addition, he was raised in a culture where marriage is for procreation––his duty to his family is to produce an heir. In Hiro’s case this is very significant since he is the only male in his family, outside of his father, in the whole clan. However, we do not know if these really are the reasons why Hiro feels the deep need to have his own child. In the end, neither adoption or permanent childlessness could be accepted by us as viable solutions in this heartbreaking dilemma.
There came a time when I could no longer bear the grief that lay like a blanket around my beloved Hiro. A grief, which I recognized by that time could deepen with the years and was already gradually driving us apart. After many heartrending sessions we both came to the conclusion that the only way to save our mutual love and friendship was to separate. It was a very hard decision for us to make and we have stuck to the decision for over a year.
Our trip last summer was a farewell journey –– all the places we has promised each other we would visit together. During the year since the trip, we have grown closer to each other than ever. The grief is gone from Hiro’s eyes and we are surer than we were a year ago that our decision to separate is the right one.
Although the decision was hard to make, setting a date when it would become effective was even harder for us. But we have and now Hiro is gone for six weeks (California, Washington and Japan) and when he returns, I will be gone from Philadelphia. I want to go to San Francisco.
All the discussions we had this weekend are pertinent. I do trust you and I need you in my corner––your concern and your prayers. I hope that I have made it possible to understand. I hope that you can show your confidence in me by respecting our decision. Both of you are very important to me.
I want you to know that I have no regrets about marrying Hiro. I am what I am now because of his love and understanding and I think I have grown immensely in those years we have been together. I’ve come to know and appreciate myself. Maybe I would have reached somewhere near this point anyway, but that’s only a “maybe.” And in the process I’ve come to know and understand quite an extraordinary man. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “ We are fashioned and shaped by what we love.”
I imagine this information will be very disturbing to you. I think it would be best to give it time to settle in your minds before commenting on it to me. Pray for me that God will give me strength. And remember that I love you.
Copyright ©Kani Comstock
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You can read more of my story, and the stories of 13 other women as well as the steps I used to create a life I love in my latest book, “Honoring Missed Motherhood: Loss, Choice and Creativity.”
Kani Comstock is the author of two books: Honoring Missed Motherhood, Loss, Choice and Creativity and Journey into Love, Ten Steps to Wholeness. Both of these books describe challenges involved in healing the past, and outline steps to be taken to claim personal authenticity and inner wisdom and find love for self and others. In addition to being Director of Coaching Programs and a Process Teacher for the Hoffman Institute Foundation, Kani speaks and leads workshops to support women, and their partners, in healing the loss and unresolved, often repressed, grief from missed motherhood,which includes infertility, pregnancy loss from miscarriage or abortion, giving a child up for adoption, choosing to be childfree, or never having the right circumstance.