I (use to) love babies. I mean really love them. I was never one of those people who would oooo and ahhh over them like your annoying aunt who pinches cheeks and exclaims "isn't she just the most PRECIOUS thing!!!" (Which I actually find embarassing and irritating and kind of demeaning to the baby. Can you tell I'm not a gusher?) But, I was interested in babies and children in a way I wasn't interested in a lot of other things.
This interest goes back many many years. At age 12 I was signing books out at the library about pregnancy and early child rearing. I was interested in how babies develop in the womb, the changes a woman's body undergoes during pregnancy and facinated by the birth process. I wanted to learn about how parents begin to respond to invidividual baby cues, when babies can be expected to reach certain milestones, and how important early bonding with a parental figure is. I learned all about stretch marks, lochia, and breastfeeding years before I even hit high school.
In grade 8 I was so excited to take infant and child CPR lessons as part of my babysitting course. I fell in love with the children I babysat, took very good care of them and developed a really good relationship. I miss those kids to this day and wonder if they ever think of me. I took a course in high school on infant and child development. In university I started reading the paper and was always interested in news articles that concerned babies and young children. Whether it was reports about new research into autism, the 'back to sleep' campaign or the best diet for children, I read it. My absolute favourite course in university (and my highest mark) was in Embrology...the study of the developing embryo into a fetus.
As you can imagine, it was no accident that I became an NICU nurse. I did not go to nursing school to become a nurse...I went to nursing school to become an NICU nurse. Pediatrics would have been my second choice.
And now...it's all gone.
I no longer really care to read the articles in the paper about childhood obesity or what the hottest toys will be this holiday season. I no longer want to hear all about your 5 year old's ballet classes, or your 1o year old's struggle with homework. I especially do not want to hear about your granddaughter's pregnancy and how she is suffering with nausea into her 5th month. I whiz past the baby clothes at the mall. I don't make funny faces to entertain the little girl on the subway anymore. I only glance at the pregnancy and early childhood development books in the bookstore and at the library. They used to be so interesting and contain so much that I wanted to know...now, I just want to avoid it all.
I can fake it for work...and when I'm in the moment, I do enjoy the kids. They are funny and cute, and most are very smart...but somehow (and this sounds awful) it makes it easier that they are sick. I'm not sure I could take being around healthy normal children all day long.
It's sad. A huge part of my personality and interest was babies and children. It's what I built my career on. Now I just generally just wish to avoid them as much as possible. Not because they no longer interest me...but because they remind me of what I have lost, and what I'm afraid I will never have.
Have any of your interests changed in the wake of your loss? Does this surprise you?