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I read this article titled “what not to say to a childless woman” by Wendy Squires at www.theage.com.au today, and it became my best friend. Because it says so much that I’d love to say but worry that by saying, I might hurt the feelings of someone who meant well. I had no idea what infertility and childlessness {temporary? Who knows} felt like until it happened to me. I try to remind myself that for most people, it’s just something that happens to other people. They don’t know.

 

I never say them out loud.

 

I think them to myself, sometimes sharing them with someone who has been through the same things as us, like a private joke that you wish you’d never got the punchline to. Anyway, Wendy’s article, it’s a good one, and when I read it, this one line stuck with me. “…She couldn’t cope without ticking that box and believes I should feel the same.”. I thought, oh my goodness, that was me!

Before I had any idea that I would still be childless ten years into my relationship, over four years of trying to conceive, I just thought that’s what people did next. Finish school, tick. Get husband, tick. Get married, tick. Have babies, tick. I never really had the thought that I would make a great mother. Or a desire to mother anything of my own. I certainly never craved a baby until miscarriages and infertility made me confront the very real possibility that I may never have one.

 

Having a baby. It’s just what people do next.

 

You meet someone nice, and you get married, you have kids, you raise kids, you gleefully wave those kids off some distant date in the future, then get back to the business of being married and maybe do something entertaining with your retirement. Life. I had it figured out. Even then, Hubby and I planned to wait a year or two into our marriage before trying to conceive. Get some money behind us, enjoy each other and our relationship, travel some more—that sort of thing.

Never did I imagine that I’d have to think about it more than that. But it occurs to me now that for us to have children, it will require dedicated effort, treatments and much time, money and effort. We are genuinely going to have to consider when, through what methods, how many and why. All of which is about as far as you can get from just ticking a box, doing what comes next in life, SO far from where I was ten years ago.

 

So I’m curious, did you plan your kids? Or were they what was next? Maybe they were a surprise? Don’t answer if you don’t want to. I’m not trying to be rude; it’s just one of those questions that I couldn’t get out of my head.  

 

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