On Sunday, my friend Monica had the most interesting blog posting, it really spoke to me. You see, for a while now I’ve been wondering if W and I are just not meant to be parents. Now I know that I spent years telling people not to say that to me, I’d be quick to fire back: “Oh so we’re just not meant to be parents, just like maybe cancer patients are just not meant to live?” But with experience and KuKd and years of practise, I’ve gained a new perspective and a new clarity to my infertility. I would make statements like that because infertility hurt so much, because the pain was so unbearable that it literally did feel like I would die if I didn’t have a child. I know many of my infertile sisters will relate to this. I even remember a time when the pain of my infertility was so unbearable in the midst of my pregnant friends that I, yes me, brave, proud me, actually contemplated suicide. That I felt I’d be better off dead than having to cope daily with the pain of being infertile.
Of course, in hind sight I’m bloody glad I never did anything like it, otherwise I would never have gotten to know the smart, tough, brave, cool Sharon I am today and that would have been a tradgedy! 🙂 But the haze of that pain has lifted somewhat, its not totally gone, but its not the stabbing searing pain that sucked the breathe out of me that it used to be. Instead, its a dull ache somewhere deep inside, when I look at the hollow at the base of a babies neck or smell baby lotion, its not there constantly and its not over whelming like it used to be.
I’ve really reached a place where I’ve realized I can be childless and happy, I can live a full wonderful life without having a child in it. I know now that regardless of if I have a baby or not, W and I will ALWAYS be different to the rest of our friends and family, too many years have gone by, we will never be able to catch up. We’d have a new born and their kids would all be in school, so why not just embrace being different? I like to think we’re special, because each of us stands at a fork the road of life at some point, some of us will follow the crowd down the well trodden path and some of us will go along the path less travelled. Does that mean our lives will be any less rich? Will we be any less blessed? I think the answer is no, we will be just as blessed and just as happy and just as fulfilled as our counter parts on the well travelled road. Yes we’ll be different and our lives will be different, but different doesn’t mean better or worse, different doesn’t mean more or less deserving, it just means different.
Anyway, getting somewhat off the point here, back to Monica’s blog spot from Sunday, she blogged about this really cool article in News Week which looks at various research studies about how statistically childless couples report feeling happier than their child rearing counter parts. I just LOVE this article! It raises some interesting questions and has got my mind spinning, but its also opening my eyes a bit to a different way of life. Now I know there are plenty of people who will disagree, or want to raise the negative points of living childless/free and of course I acknowledge that their is definitely a down side to living child free, but for the sake of good old infertile, never going to have a baby me, I need to focus on the positives of being child free, its the only way I’ll be able to accept this alternative way of life. I have to believe that W and I will be happier and more fulfilled in our marriage (as per the article) because we are child free. There are loads of benefits to being child free, most of them pretty selfish, but as W and I have discussed a thousand times in the last couple of months, after 8 years together, 8 years of living together, just the two of us, are we even able to adapt to adding another, very demanding individual into the mix.
Now I know many of my child rearing family and friends will disagree with that, they will all tell me what I’m missing out on, how yes, raising a baby is tough, but its so rewarding, my cousin and I had a very heated discussion about this while I was in Cape Town. Its weird, but fertile couples don’t seem to think there is any other way to live, don’t think there is any other way to be happy. They don’t seem to realize that there are other ways of being happy aside from dealing with a squalling, snotty toddler. But W and I are happy, we’re very happy, we’re very in love and although it may seem selfish to child rearing couples, we’re very focused on each other, is that wrong? Its so funny, people that get to know W and I all say the same things:
* its amazing that after so many years together, we haven’t forgotten how to have fun with each other
* our home is always filled with laughter
* the mutual respect we show each other
* the fact that we can still be totally childish together
Those are the things that make our relationship special but aren’t those the very things that will change if we have a baby? If we add a third individual to the mix, surely, our priorities will change and those things may get lost in the process? Wouldn’t that be a tragedy?
Now I’m certainly NOT saying that I’m ready to say: “That’s it back on the pill for me, we’re not having any babies” However, I am saying that I’ve been flirting with these thoughts for a while now and the more I entertain them, the more I realize, living child free may not be the worlds greatest tragedy? Am I ready to quit? Hell no! But when the time comes will I be able to bow out gracefully? Hell Yes!