Coming to Terms with My Childless Status
It Was All Planned Out
I am convinced that I’m one of only three women in the world over the age of 30 without children. The other two women are my friend, whose husband cannot have children, and my sister, who’s never expressed the desire to be a mom. They both seem content with their lot, but I am still trying to decide if it’s a blessing or a curse that I don’t have kids.
In my early 20s, I decided I would have three children. I didn’t care about their gender, as long as one was a girl. I didn’t have their names picked out, but I knew I would select old-fashioned monikers that were strong and sturdy. Maybe Julia for a girl and Max for a boy. Or Victoria and Alexander. Either way, the names I gave my children would have substance. And they would play sports and read books, like miniature versions of me.
During my longest relationship, my boyfriend and I were too busy waging battles with each other to discuss the possibility of a family. Between his drunken rages and my 14-hour waitressing shifts, we didn’t have a lot of time available for a baby. Looking back on that mess, I thank God we didn’t have a family. I wouldn’t have been able to part with my child for my ex-husband’s visitation times, knowing what I do of him. So coming out of that relationship without a child in tow was nothing less than a miracle.
Oddly, the relationship immediately following that one began with both of us wanting a baby right away. We started trying after we'd only been together a short while. Unfortunately, nothing happened, so I went to the doctor for a check-up. They suspected I was just fine, and that perhaps my boyfriend needed to be tested. I took home the write-up for a sperm test and the little medicine bottle to collect a specimen. With great anticipation, I put everything on the kitchen counter to discuss with my husband. And on the counter it all sat for several weeks, until I moved it to the bathroom cupboard for what would become permanent storage. Although I didn’t know it, by that time he had begun his first affair, so having a baby went right out the window.
We eventually went to great lengths in order for me to become pregnant (we discovered he is sterile), but it never panned out. Now I am filled with regret. I’d like to go back in time and undo both of those relationships because each was horrible in its own way. I would find a man who wanted a family, a two-story house with a white picket fence, and a dog running in the yard. It’s ridiculous to harbor such unrealistic dreams, I know, but I harbor them nevertheless.
Coming to Terms
On some days, however, I am relieved I don’t have kids. My work schedule is so erratic that I can’t imagine squeezing in the time to care for another human being. And twice before he died, I was able to live with and take care of my grandpa. I look back on those times now with great fondness because he was one of the dearest people in the world to me. If I’d had children, I wouldn’t have been able to do for him what I did.
Does this mean I’m fulfilling my destiny? That I’m not supposed to be a mother?
I like my freedom, but I’m filled with sadness each time I realize nobody on this planet will ever look at me and call me “mom.” I feel a pang of jealousy when I see other women with kids or learn that someone I know is pregnant (the latter seems to happen quite often). And I’m filled with a kind of terror that with each passing day; I’m further away from my hopes of ever having kids. My boyfriend had a vasectomy almost 20 years ago, and he has three grown children, so it’s unlikely he’ll ever want a family.
I guess, then, the best thing I can do is come to terms with the life I’ve been given. If that means remaining childless, so be it.