I’ve been asked by some in the fertility-challenged community how I work with children without my heart breaking. In theory, it doesn’t really make sense that it would make me feel better, not worse, to be around little ones all day, every day. But it helps. Since starting my little job in September, I’ve changed. When I started working, I was brittle. I was barely glued together. I held on to Maggie — her smiles, her interactions, her every moment — so tightly because they were all I had. Maggie, my sister’s child, was literally the only happy child-related thing in my life… everything else was painful & difficult.

So I started loving on those babies, & feeling their little arms hugging my legs. It still hurts sometimes when they talk about their mommies, & I see the adoration in their faces for the women who are their entire worlds. I wonder if maybe I’ll one day have the opportunity to have the title “Mommy” instead of “Ms. Sarah.” I hope so.  And sometimes the little girls ask me — & it’s always little girls — about my mommy. “Do you live with your mommy? Did your mommy buy your earrings?  What’s your mommy’s name?” Just recently, one of the little two-year-old girls asked me where my mommy lives. I thought for a minute, & then I told her that my mommy lived in Heaven (& if you’re wondering, yes, I work at a church-owned daycare).  She nodded thoughtfully & said “Ok. Can I have some juice please?”  I’m not sure my response was the right one, but it was the only one I had at that moment.

Don’t think that I’ve gone all Pollyanna & never get pissy anymore. Of course I do. I get angry at the unfairness when the mothers don’t seem to appreciate their babies as much as I think they should… that they should seem to take for granted what I’m working so hard to achieve. I struggle (unsuccessfully) to not be bitter when mothers drop their babies off on their days off. It feels like they don’t want to spend time with their precious children, that they aren’t grateful for every single second that they’ve been given. That they would rather ME take care of their babies than taking care of them themselves. But I’m intelligent enough to know that everyone has their own understanding, their own perspective. Maybe when/if I have a baby, it’ll be just another day for me too by the time they’re two years old. I would like to think that I’ll always be grateful, that I’ll never take it for granted. But that’s not realistic. I know that part of living & enjoying & just BEING is functioning normally rather than constantly reminding myself of how grateful I should be.

I believe that I am meant to be a mother, that I have the heart of a mother. And for hours every day, I’m the closest thing to their mother that those babies have. I cuddle them & feed them & rock them & answer their endless questions. And when I come home to my quiet house, I actually enjoy the quiet. Before my job, our quiet child-free house felt like a tomb. Now, I don’t mind it so much.

My little job wasn’t recommended by my therapist or my acupuncturist or my spiritual advisor.  But it just happened to be the most effective therapy that I could have asked for. Those little kiddies have filled a void that desperately needed to be filled. And at just the right time. It’s nice when things actually DO seem to happen for a reason.