I cried for the first time ever today talking to someone about their new baby. Thankfully, it was a phone conversation. Thankfully, I was able to recover with only a little hitch in my voice.
I was trying to find common ground. Trying to relate. She said, “He is 4 months,” to which I responded, “Oh, what a fun age. That is when their personality really starts exploding.” But, not before I qualified (or dis-qualified) myself by saying I didn’t have any children only nieces and nephews.
But that’s not true. I had children…for a moment. I just didn’t get to witness any explosion of personality. I don’t know if my babies were boys or girls. I haven’t gotten to feel them move or kick inside of me. I haven’t gotten to see their eyes or kiss their nose and fingers.
Why did I want to make sure she didn’t mistake me for a mother? I was afraid of misrepresenting myself. I was also afraid she would start a mother to mother conversation or ask me about my kids. It would be too painful, too awkward and too hard to tell the truth in a way that was comfortable for either of us.
What is that? Shame?