Missing out (and FOMO)

Kathy Krugeradoption, contentment, love, motherhood26 Comments

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Sometimes you smack hard up against what you’ve missed out on, and even though you thought you were ok with missing out, turns out you’re not really.

I’m not talking about the childhood trauma of missing out on the netball team or not getting picked for the part of Dorothy and having to play the Wicked Witch of the East instead (the one who gets squashed by Dorothy’s house in the first scene and is out for the rest of the production) – although I get that these things can be HUGE at the time.

Sometimes it’s fear of missing out [FOMO] that ties us up in far too many knots – whether it’s feeling like it’s too late to fulfill a dream because you find yourself (suddenly it seems to me) in middle-age (and so therefore past it?) or concerns about missing out on the blogging party, the freebies and that sense of being part of a club (silly really).

This week I smacked up hard against a wall of loss in missing out on giving birth – and specifically missing out on giving birth to our kids.

I knew I was on a collision course to a whole lot of hurt and yet I steered myself in that direction. Be stoic. Be professional. It’s a long time ago, you’ll be right.

For my work I decided to do a feature article and film a video about the highly regarded midwifery program at Southern Cross University on the Gold Coast.

They have state-of-the-art teaching facilities, including a simulation birthing Mum (they call her Annie); dolls that look, feel and weigh exactly the same as real newborns, and a program focused on celebrating the miracle of birth through natural nurturing as much as possible.

Filming involved interviewing a new mother and her three-month-old bub, a glowing pregnant mum, an enthusiastic student and a couple of passionate academics/midwives; along with multiple takes as simulation mum Annie ‘gave birth’ (to multiple babies, but actually the same newborn doll, over and over).

For 4.5 hours you could say I was immersed in the pregnancy and birthing experience – which I know is short in actual labour terms, but excuse me if it felt a bit a like a long and painful labour.

A labour I missed out on (maybe you think I’m lucky to have been spared the pain, but it’s a whole lot of hurt I would have been happy to experience).

Mostly I still feel that sense of missing out, not (so much) on the experience of childbirth itself, but on the experience of birthing our two beautiful adopted kids.

I was consumed with thoughts on how the births of our two children must not have been ideal, for their mothers, or for them. I was consumed with jealousy of their birth mothers, who I will probably never know – that they got to have the miracle, regardless. I am also filled with gratitude. Huge gratitude.

I’m middle-aged now (not menopausal as yet but my moods would beg to differ). Our eldest turns 12 in a few weeks. And yet still the ghost of loss haunts.

It makes me realise how silly our feelings of missing out can be, and especially how fruitless FOMO is.

So you missed out on a job – I get the disappointment (and the annoyance because you really deserved it) – but move on, something better awaits.

So you missed out on the chance to travel somewhere you really want to go (I wish I’d gone to Alaska) – turn that disappointment into determination and you’ll work out a way to get there if you really want to.

So you make trade-offs every day in every way to pay the bills, educate your kids, respect a partner’s priorities, live the life you’ve chosen, and in the process you miss out on some things. Think of what you gain by prioritizing. Would you really trade the other way?

So it’s hard to stop that little insecure and sometimes petty FOMO from rearing its jealous and sometimes ugly head – tell it you’re not about projecting a future based on fear. Your future is based on love.

Oh and celebrate – the miracle of birth that is the miracle of life, of living right now, without fear and with love (and definitely without FOMO).

The miracle that brought our kids into our lives is just as miraculous as the one experienced when each and every child is born. Over and over again.

Life is F####ing miraculous even when it feels like a world of hurt. You can’t feel a world of hurt unless you are alive.

So tell FOMO to F##k off and be reborn as love. It’s possible you know.

Happy Birth day.

Linking up with Grace for FYBF. X

Namaste sign off_edited-1

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Kathy KrugerMissing out (and FOMO)

26 Comments on “Missing out (and FOMO)”

  1. HandbagMafia

    You’ve been able to give an amazing gift- the gift of a loving family- to your children. They will never, ever question how wanted they were. I think that’s amazing. Wonderful post.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thank you so much Amy – we are a lucky family all round and I realise that in missing out on the pregnancy/birth experience (I did have a brief pregnancy) I got to experience the amazing adoption experience.

  2. Mumma McD

    I hear you on the FOMO. Sometimes it can be a great motivator, but other times it can just zap you of everything – energy, confidence, happiness.

    That must’ve been really intense to sit through the birth simulations (sounds like an incredible program BTW).

    1. Kathy Kruger

      It was intense but I tried to concentrate on the whole miracle of life and not to personalise it – hard but at least I managed to hold myself together. A few quiet tears later on though. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Deborah

    I understand as all of my life I’ve wanted children and it wasn’t to be. I was 41 before I gave up on trying to meet the right guy and went to a fertility clinic and tried artificial insemination and later started down the IVF path.

    I’ve been quite twisted and bitter about it over the last 5 or 6 years. I’ve no evidence I was infertile. Apparently I’m labelled ‘socially infertile’. #charming I envied those friends who had someone to have sex with and felt angry when I saw feral families when out and about. (And yes, I know that’s being judgemental, but… )

    I’ve struggled to be happy for friends who are having kids and cried over pictures of cute babies. And now… one of my closest friends is pregnant at 45 – after A LOT of intervention. I think I’m mostly happy for her, but I’m a little jealous as well.

    I could perhaps have looked at overseas adoption when I realised at 43 that it wasn’t going to happen. But I didn’t. I could have used an egg donor (which is what my friend did) but I didn’t.

    But you and she did. It may not be the fairytale we’re sold as kids but I’m fairly sure they’re overrated anyway. I think it’s fabulous you pursued your dream at all and I’m sure your kids feel very blessed.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Deb I’m sorry your dreams of kids haven’t worked out – it is such a hard road trying to fall pregnant in your 40’s. I can tell from your comment how the sadness is still so raw and I can totally relate to the jealousy of your friend, even as it is obvious you are happy for her. Sometimes I’m still surprised that the pain of infertility is still hanging around, given that we gave up on the IVF rollercoaster 13 years ago and became parents through adoption 11 years ago. You would think I would have processed all those feelings by now but then the sense of loss rears its head again. I’ve spent a long time feeling guilty for still feeling twinges of sadness about what we went through and what I missed out on given how lucky we are now to have our kids. Thankfully I think I’ve put that guilt behind me.

  4. Mystery Case

    What a thought provoking post.

    I’m not sure I suffer from FOMO or it’s more a case of time is running out and I want to fit so much more in. I had a year of health issues that had me turning down some fantastic opportunities. It was a year of learning to say no and even though the health issues are ongoing, I’m back saying yes to far too much that I fear I didn’t learn my lesson at all.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      It’s all about the balance Raych isn’t it. I’m with you on the time running out feeling – not so much that I have to do everything now but that I’ve left some thing too late. I’m sure your health issues have given you a new perspective on what opportunities to take and which ones to pass on.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Yes – it is really sad how kids get so caught up in FOMO through peer pressure – magnified many times over from when we were teenagers. It also means they get caught up in the little things and lose the energy to go after the big things that really count.

  5. KezUnprepared

    Beautiful. Can I share something as an adoptee? When I got pregnant I was so happy. I would get to enjoy the miracle of pregnancy and birth. I wouldn’t have to go through what my mum went through with infertility and I would finally have a genetic connection – a very special one. I would also get to keep my baby, unlike my biological mother. I felt very blessed. But leading up to that point, while we were trying to conceive, I was racked with fear. What if me being pregnant would make my mum sad? What if she felt jealous? She is the most amazing person who would never hold it against me but I didn’t want her feeling those awful feelings. For her sake. I was too scared to tell her how I felt. Which is so unlike me because we talk about EVERYTHING. The month that we conceived, was the month I told the universe that I would no longer be afraid. I would just surrender everything. I was ready for my baby and I hoped my baby would be ready for me. When it happened, there was a lot of joy.
    I still didn’t vocalise those feelings, but when it came time to decide how I’d like to deal with the birthing situation, I decided I wanted my parents there. I wanted them to share in it with me (if they kept up the right end of me at all times hahaha). My husband got prime position on the night of course, but they were there, ready in a heartbeat to support me but also to share a very special moment. After my son was born (of course the paediatrician who helped deliver him is married to a very prominent adoptee who used to play for my mum’s favourite football team – what are the odds?!), my parents thanked me – like a real deep, special thanks for inviting them to be there. It was their first birthing experience. I knew then that my fears were unfounded. While I am sure my mum might have quietly had the feelings I didn’t want her to have during the pregnancy/birth experience (I don’t know for sure if she did or didn’t), I realised that it didn’t change anything between us. I confessed my fears much later and my mum just gave me a huge hug. It was very reassuring.
    Maybe one day you will still have that wonderful experience (and even if you don’t everything will be OK).
    xoxo

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Oh Kez thank you so much for sharing this story. You made me cry. You are a beautiful person and you obviously have a beautiful family. I think becoming a grandparent is very special and I really look forward to that one day too and would love to be their with our kids in whatever capacity at birth or very soon after.

  6. Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)

    A poignant and reverberating post Kathy. I understand what you’re saying. On a much shallower level I suffer from FOMO but a lot less than I used to. I try to deal with disappointment over trivial things with maturity now. I do try to be thankful for all the blessings I’ve received in life and forget about the stuff I’ll never get in life.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Maybe we get better at managing FOMO as we get older – after all that career as an athlete or chance to compete at the Olympics is behind us now! Perhaps we need to focus on our blessings and our achievements to tell FOMO to get lost.

  7. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid

    I suffer from acute FOMO on all things trivial but I’ve learned that counting my blessings is a great antidote! You’re totes right, Kathy, life is one big miracle, and if you’re living it and you’re loving it, then you’re actually not missing out on anything! What a wonderful gift you have given your beautiful children, and they, you. Two gorgeous kids, one happy familyxx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Absolutely agree on counting blessings Sammie – for every FOMO thought, strike it with a gratitude one! I love your line about not missing out on anything if you live and love your life – and I do feel very lucky. X

  8. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen

    Your gorgeous babies are so lucky that the universe provided so well for them, Kathy.
    I try hard not to let FOMO creep into my life, but sometimes it’s really hard.

    Beautiful post, lovely xx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Lisa – we are one lucky family really. I think the only thing we can do with FOMO is put things into perspective – and the thing is before everyone was on-line and on social media we just wouldn’t have known what people are up to enough to be jealous of them (or not all the time at least). So maybe we just need to pretend like we don’t need to know.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Kelly – I know it isn’t trivial but I keep thinking all of it is behind me, and then those feelings sneak up again. I was pretty proud of myself that I went into the situation aware that it would trigger emotions but brave enough to handle them. Thanks for your support. X

  9. Lisa

    Fear of missing out is something we all experience at one time or another but as a midwife I totally understand what you are feeling. Good on you for acknowledging those feelings when they bubble to the surface. xx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Lisa – I must say that I’m jealous of your job – it must be wonderful to be part of the miracle of life. I do feel like the odd one out but then I have a unique experience of becoming a parent in an amazing way through adoption.

  10. Kate @ From Katie to Kate

    As an adoptee I can imagine how it is for you. And what a difficult position to be in to be confronted with something you long ago wished you had experienced yourself. I often wonder how my mother feels about not having a child of her own. But you, like my other, have something few others get to experience, the gift of a child entrusted to you to love as your own. It takes a pretty special mother to do that.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Kate – yes I’m very lucky to have the wonderful and fairly unique experience of being an adoptive mum – and two beautiful kids. I still wish I’d given birth to our two beautiful kids, but I realise how lucky I am to have the opportunity to love and nurture them throughout their lives.

  11. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    Wow talk about facing a challenge head on, so proud of you Kathy, it must have been very hard emotionally for you. I can’t wait to see the final feature. If we didn’t experience FOMO from time to time then I reckon we’re not living properly!

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