Saturday, September 7, 2013



  [nuh-lip-er-uh]  Show IPA
noun, plural nul·lip·a·rae  [nuh-lip-uh-ree]  Show IPA Obstetrics .
a woman who has never borne a child.

I thought I had fully mourned my lack of genetic posterity, but lately, I've had several discussions with various people about various aspects of fertility.  It's made me a little bit melancholy at times and definitely introspective.

It started when I had a first visit with a new Gyn to explore ways of managing perimenopausal symptoms.

"How many babies?" she said.

"Huh?" was my reply, partly because I don't hear clearly.

"How many babies have you had?"

"Well, none," and left it at that.  

"It's a long story," I thought.  Married thirteen years the first time.  We weren't particularly careful during the first part of the marriage, but I never got pregnant.  From what I have heard, he and his second wife were having trouble reproducing, so maybe it was a "boy problem", as my Reproductive Gynecologist friend, Li-Sheh, says.

It was a troubled marriage from the get-go, so a good thing that there weren't children involved at the end.

Rowdy had three kids at a young age, and had a vasectomy at 24 ("Best $600 I ever spent," he told me).  I never expected to marry a man with kids, but not only did it feel completely right to marry Rowdy, it felt completely right to have J, K and M in my life.  Now I have son-in-law who is a wonderful addition to our family.

Besides that, I have lots of amazing nephews and nieces.  I'm even an honorary auntie to the neighbor kids.  I've been called "Uncle Diane" by more than one kid, and I think that it isn't just a function of the particular age of the child.  I think it might be that 1)  I tend to roughhouse with the kids in a way that aunties usually don't and 2)  I'm not someone's mom.  So I must be an uncle, right?

I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity, through church service, to work closely with children from 18 months to 18 years old.  It's not "mothering" in the strictest sense, but it's a chance to learn from children, learn about children, and positively influence children.  I love seeing them grow and develop spiritually and intellectually.  

Our wonderful Beehive advisor taught a lesson about parenting to all of our YW last month.  She used as a teaching tool a conference talk that probably is the most-divisive talk in LDS-dom in the early 21st Century, "Mothers Who Know".  She handed it out, and I cringed.  One of my counselors gave me a reassuring wink.  She could read my mind.  

By sheer luck of the draw, I was given the first section to discuss, titled, "Mothers Who Know Bear Children".  Ohhhhhh...uuuuuuggggghhhhh.  How to deal with this?  I could and maybe should have told the girls that sometimes, there are Conference talks that make us really have to dig deep in order not to be offended and to figure out what we can learn from the information presented.  But what I did say is that I was having to really think to find a way to present my section in a way that I felt comfortable with.  The point of the section was that children are important.  We need to value them.  This is important whether or not we have children of our own.

Fortunately, my YW board is wonderful.  It turns out that none of us were 100% comfortable with the way that the talk was presented originally and in print.  Eventually, thanks to all of our silent prayers about how to teach the girls about mothering in particular and parenting in general, we changed the title of the talk to "People Who Know".  People who know value children.  People who know are leaders.  People who know stand strong and immovable.  People who know are teachers.  People who know are nurturers.

My sister, Karen, shared a great quote with me from Ardeth Kapp (who herself is a nullipara)L

                     "You need not possess children to love them. Loving is not synonymous with possessing, and possessing is not necessarily loving. The world is filled with people to be loved, guided, taught, lifted and inspired." 

I love that our Heavenly Parents have a plan that makes it possible for me to be a part of a family and to have the opportunity to mother in a lot of different ways, now and in the eternities.  Do I sometimes still wonder what it would be like to raise children that were half "me"?  Yeah, sure.  But I don't feel like my life is any less-rich than it would've been had I borne children.  Things are never the way that we imagine them, anyway.

My Rad Life!