Some girlfriends and most women in my family thought me odd for not having children. And as I read the August 12 Time Magazine cover story about “The Childfree Life,” (read it) I was reminded of some the trials and triumphs stemming from not having kids.
I didn’t choose not to have children. It just “happened” that way. Not choosing can be seen a choice, I know, but when something is not a priority, is not doing it a real choice? Maybe yes; maybe no.
It was not a priority for me. My goals included college, an English degree and becoming a flight attendant (“stewardesses” back then!). Also, to buy a Chevy Nova, of all things, and have a closet full of clothes. When I married it was not to have children but to share lives and interests, to be a lover and companion.
The trials of not having children have been in the courtrooms of others.
I can recall a handful of poignant conversations around children – when other women tried talking me into it; when my biological clock was close to striking 12 and I suddenly, frantically began talking about it with my husband, he said, “Okay you can have a baby but I’m not going to help you raise it. Is that what you want?” After the divorce, two mothers wanted me to fly to Korea to adopt.
Only when “time was running out” did I think twice about pregnancy. But that’s what the clock does. Sounds an alarm – are you sure? are you sure? are you sure?
I was never absolutely sure I didn’t want children. Nor was I absolutely sure I did.
Why live with regret? Why not find the triumphs in the lives we live rather than longing for the life we could have lived? There are so many ways to live your life. If you do have regrets, I can assure you there are ways to forgive yourself and do the next best thing.
I figure if I wanted to have children I would have had them! It’s as simple as that. There are so many ways to “get a child.” If I wanted and couldn’t I would have found another way. Or I’d be working with kids, or have opened a day care, or, or, or…
The joys of not having children include getting to know nieces and nephews and their children, being a better friend and even a mother to others. Spending more time alone allowed me to understand my disabilities and recognize my gifts – bringing out the best in this baby!
My new career is working on my childless legacy, which I expect to help more children than I could have raised. My regret would be not working on this project, and so, here I go!