This is supposed to affect women more than men, goes the conventional wisdom.
But in fact I have long felt, and feel more every day, that there is a way in which having kids effectively put an end to my life as I knew it, and myself as I knew him, both professionally and personally.
I have not made much progress toward recovery, or toward building something new.
Sometimes it haunts me and is hard to deal with.
But it is what it is.
— § —
Okay, I’ll come clean with myself. This is a risky diary because it’s point of contention with my wife.
But in 2009 and even 2010, I felt like I had the game won. Like my career and my life were on the right path, all major obstacles had been removed. Things were, for me, going according to plan, and I was professionally and personally fulfilled.
I know she wasn’t. Which is what makes all of this hard and complicated.
I chose family, and let the other elements of my life go. I would make the same choice again. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t sting to feel like I had so much of what I wanted for my own future (as apart from family) in my grasp, after years of fighting the good fight, and after years of ignoring naysayers, and that now it is all but gone.
It does sting.
But it’s also true, very true, that I made my choice and that I’d make the same choice again. My family is also what I wanted for my own future. Sometimes multiple things that you want just don’t go together.
Most of the time these days I don’t think about this. But today, for some reason, looking at my own career and looking at the careers of others, I am envious and just a bit sad at what could have been—what almost was.
— § —
What I want, more than anything else in the world, is just to be heard on this point. To hear someone, anyone, say once: “You gave up an awful lot for what you have today. An awful lot! That must have been hard, and I can see how sometimes you must wonder what might have been. Hope you’re happy with your choice, despite the sacrifices and complications.”
That would give me the chance to say: “You know what? I am!”
And I would feel good.
But so far, that has never happened. And sometimes that doesn’t feel as good.