Somehow I forgot to have children. I say forgot but to be honest, it’s been a bit like this:
Age 10: I’m never having kids, that’s so YUCKY
Age 15: I’m never having kids coz I don’t want to be fat.
Age 19: If I have a screwed up ungrateful kid like me, I’d rather not have kids-ever
Age 21: Back to the “getting fat” thing
Late twenties: All my mates are popping them out; maybe I should follow the trend?
Early thirties: I’ll decide later, I need to find a career.
Mid-thirties: It’s going to be much harder at this age to get my post baby body back. I’m no Victoria’s Secret model. I’ll decide later.
Guess what? Later is here; tirelessly doorknocking on my ovaries like a snotty trick or treater who isn’t satisfied with only one Cherry Ripe. I never thought I’d run out of time to decide but I’m now faced with the fact I might never have children.
I’ve spent too much energy on procrastination rather than baby making. I’ve assumed I’d know if and when the time was right but there’s never been a thunderous crash of lighting that’s illuminated the sky with a big YES, the time is NOW!
I’m at odds with myself over most life matters, but this baby producing thing has been a constant source of stress since I was a kid, proclaiming to Mum there was NO WAY I’d ever have children when I was a grown up. And perhaps that’s the problem; I don’t think I’m a grown up yet. I still see deformed vegetables at the supermarket and think phallic thoughts and I don’t have a solid silver cutlery set from the 1800’s.
To have children or not isn’t a new convo, but it does seem there’s only three main choices are up for discussion. The woman that has kids over career, the women that has career over kids and the woman that has both.
But guess what? There’s another emerging group of women my age that need a voice. Woman like me, who are misunderstood, judged and feel pressured to make a decision in a certain timeframe. Women with more of a “let’s see what happens” attitude that run the gauntlet of missing out entirely.
You may call us a selfish minority; I mean the desire for kids is supposed to be in our genes, in our blood, in every fibre of our being, so where is it? Why haven’t we had an overriding craving to segregate lunchboxes into appropriate food groups and to stand on footy pitch sidelines cheering our little Jimmy’s on?
The answer is more complex than simply being selfish, (although some of us freely admit to it, but that’s usually when deciding NOT to have kids) there are many reasons why we delay.
One of my friends for example had that desire and waited…and waited…and never found that necessary component-the man-the right man. Another works hard, plays hard and kids aren’t a consideration. She probably wants them, just later.
Then there’s a very close friend of mine. We have similar opinions on everything, we’ve experienced similar challenges AND she also giggles at the shape of parsnips at the supermarket- so it stands to reason we’ve agonised over the “to have or not to have” dilemma together. That was until that decision was taken from her with the news she had Premature Ovarian Failure- at 34. She doesn’t have the luxury of choice. Maybe I no longer have either; as a caring GP told me I’m deemed infertile as I’ve not used contraception for a year and a half and not fallen pregnant. Thanks for breaking that one to me gently.
You’d think that news would make what I wanted clearer -but no. One day I’m sad about it, wondering who will benefit from my ultra-warm crocheted socks if I’m grand childless, the next day I’m dreaming of infinity pools in the Balinese jungle, by myself.
There are more swings and roundabouts with my feelings on this topic than a kid’s playground. The ones I may never take my own kids too. Am I purely selfish? I don’t think so. I worry about what I can offer a child, if my depression will be passed on and if I deserve motherhood. I wonder if I want a child because society tells me too, because my friends do, and, if having a child is more selfish than not having one.
I thought I was pregnant a few years ago but suddenly had an unusual bleed. Terrified I went to a doctor that was as supportive as a deficient back brace. He told me I was probably losing the baby or having an ectopic pregnancy. The bored sonographer he sent me marching off to wasn’t any more caring. “Nope nothing there, you could be losing it but probably never pregnant.” I think she even yawned in my face. Thanks for that.
As I scuttled out the door feeling like a major strain on medical resources, she asked me did I want to get pregnant. I found myself saying yes. Because in that moment I did. I really did. She then bluntly told me to “hurry up” and “time was a ticking”.
I didn’t know people of that profession, in this century, actually uttered sentences like that. Honestly, do people think we don’t know how old we are?
Do they think we haven’t counted every birthday that’s passed and every million eggs that internally combust every time we blow those candles out?
And that hasn’t been an isolated incident. I’ve heard doctors utter that tick tock sound too many times to count. Oh that’s right, sorry I can’t count.
There are many reasons why women my age aren’t walking around with toddlers pulling at their organic cotton tank tops but others don’t stop to think of those reasons. It’s much easier to judge. We see the smug mothers at the cafes wondering, we feel the burning questions as we stand alone at our friends kids’ birthday. We feel the isolation our different situations have put us in.
Here’s the thing. Some people just don’t know if they want children. Some people actually fear bringing kids into a world where nuclear bombs are at the touch of a big red button. Some people just want to adopt. Some people like my beautiful friend simply cant.
So please stop asking us two things; do you have kids? You can see we don’t, so don’t assume we want to tell you the ins and outs of our failing reproductive organs. When we have to answer no, we don’t want to feel we need to explain ourselves, whatever our reason.
And two, do you want kids? How painful is that loaded question for those that can’t? What if we say no, what would you say then? Awkies.
I would say, I don’t know. It depends on the day, my mood or faith in my ability to keep a human dwarf alive by remembering where I last left it.
I’m tired of having to answer questions about kids, just because of my stage in life. Believe me, I’m well equipped to judge myself in most areas of my life by now, no one else needs a shot.
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