I don't often use my blog as a venting place (my husband is usually the one that I get to pour my heart out to, bless him) but this is one of those occasions where the incident just keeps sticking with me, and maybe someone will read this and benefit from it (or at least relate).
I was taking care of some coupon-shopping earlier this week at one of my favorite stores. I was just about to start my transactions with the cashier when another customer approached. Now, because I generally have several transactions to do that take a good bit of time, I make a point of letting other customers go ahead of me, just to be polite. So, I told the older woman to go ahead, she thanked me and put her item on the counter. As the cashier rang her up, the other woman turned around, looked at me and said, "Having a baby?" Knowing how overweight I am, I wasn't going to blame the woman for making the mistake. Patting my stomach, I said, "No, already had her."
But then she said, "Oh, it's not because of that....it's just your face. It's so...."
Unfortunately, that was only the first insult I was to receive before getting out of the store.
A little while later, the cashier and I were having a merry old time ringing up my purchases when another couponer got in line behind me and started chatting with me. It started out cheerfully enough, talking about what good deals there are this week and such. Eventually, the conversation began taking a more personal tone. She started telling me how she's trying to talk one of her sisters into couponing, claiming that if she can have eleven children and still find the time to do it, so could her sister. For the sake of clarification I asked, "You have eleven children, or your sister?" No, she did. "That's nice," I replied, and made the mistake of telling her how many we have. And then she asked something no mother should ever ask another mother.
"Did you give birth to all of them yourself?"
Yes, that's exactly how she said it. And my stomach still twists when I think about it.
If I tell you how many children my husband and I have, what difference does it make to you whether I gave birth to all of them or not? Does it somehow make you better than me that you physically reproduced all your children yourself? What about women that can't have their own children? Does adoption not count in your eyes? Or do you only save your self-righteousness for those of us that have the "shame" of admitting we're remarried?
Between my husband and I, we've had nine children. His first three are grown and gone, as is my oldest. God knows I wish we'd had all of them together. What wouldn't I give to have been his first and only wife, and he my first and only husband? How different would our lives be had we not walked a very long, broken road before finding each other? We like to imagine that since we married in '04 and our children were born in '05, '07 and '09, we'd have quite the houseful by now had we found each other first. But such is not the case, and we'll never really know.
All I do know is this...I can't change my past. I can't fix the mistakes I made in my youth. I can wish I'd found Eric sooner just as much as I can wish I'd found Jesus sooner, too. But I found them both eventually, and I'll never be ashamed of that.
And for the record, if I'd been thinking fast on my feet, I would've told her, "No, I didn't give birth to them all. I picked up a couple on a Buy One Get One deal at Rite Aid."