Happiness = Childless?

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!

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  • Reply Amanda

    What an amazing post Sharon, I believe you guys will be an amazing couple with or without children. Please don’t take to heart what some fertiles have to say about kids, you guys have your own lives and your own decisions to make. You are a very strong and very brave woman, and I really admire you for that.

    August 26, 2008 at 9:22 am
  • Reply charne

    wow what a awesome post….!!

    you seem to be in a really good place at the moment


    August 26, 2008 at 10:52 am
  • Reply Michelle

    Sharon your post today is brilliant and I for one can certainly relate to that. My stepson came to live with us when he was 11 and we had been married 6 months!! I don’t regret taking him in to live with us but DH and I never really spent any “married” life being together just us. We lived together for 2 years before being married. Stepson is 17 now and has 2 years left of school. Do I really want to start all that again and face the same teenage years again in 15 years time?? I question myself often but of course I’m not giving up TTC just yet either.

    August 26, 2008 at 11:31 am
  • Reply Murgdan

    Hell…that was my view for the first 5 years of my marriage. My husband made it quite clear in the beginning of our marriage that he wanted nothing to do with children. I, then, had to rectify my previously held worldview that you JUST get married and have babies and that’s it.

    I did a great job convincing myself and really did come to see another view of life. (Then I turned 30 and I don’t know what happened). But I’m sure I could get back to that place again if need be. There is ALWAYS another point of view.

    August 26, 2008 at 12:49 pm
  • Reply samcy

    My friend, this is a truly remarkable post… you really are in such a good place right now, I’m so proud of you… and you and Walter *are* an amazing couple – with or with out kids!! All I can say is that I hope with all my heart that God see’s the true desires of your heart and grants them – sooner rather than later.


    August 26, 2008 at 3:55 pm
  • Reply j

    Dam straight it would be a tragedy if I didn’t get your blog to read! 🙂

    I’m world’s away from that type of acceptance but like you, I know it’s “out there” for the taking if we need it. Sounds like you and Walter have the same kind of great marriage me and my Walter do!


    August 26, 2008 at 4:13 pm
  • Reply loribeth

    Here from Mel’s LFCA. Yes, yes, yes!! Thank you for a wonderfully thoughtful post that says everything I’d like to say about childless/free living & then some!

    August 26, 2008 at 4:56 pm
  • Reply Stacey

    Sharon, this post really spoke to me! Thank you for putting that all down into such lovely words. I have thought about how I desire to be in a place where I’m ok with or without children. I have a great marriage! Hubby and I have had 12 years together, 10 of them married, and we are still happy and having a great time. People say they love to come to our home because it is so peaceful here!

    I’m not going to prevent having children, but I still have far to go before I’m ready to accept not having any. We still talk about adoption as well.

    I especially agreed with when you wrote, “Does that mean our lives will be any less rich? Will we be any less blessed?” Oh my, I’ve turned the word BLESSED over and over in my mind for years! Love how you put it all in perspective. Thanks!

    August 26, 2008 at 5:54 pm
  • Reply Katie

    Hehehe you and your hubbie sound fun and silly like me and mine! 🙂

    August 27, 2008 at 4:17 am
  • Reply Elize

    Stunning post Hon! You and Walter are amazing together! You really compliment each other. I agree with you, we will never be able to catch up, all our friends and families children are in their early teens already, although my SIL still needs to conceive her second baby, but we don’t see them that often. I’m not exactly where you are at the moment, but we are giving ourselves just six months, and then I think we will hang the boxing gloves up and surrender. We are busy preparing ourselves that this might never happen, and we’re not feeling overly sad about this.
    And yes, I don’t believe our lives will be less rich, we will be as blessed as everyone else.

    August 27, 2008 at 8:40 am
  • Reply C

    Agreed. I came to that realization about 2 or 3 years ago. I know that whatever happens, we will be OK. I am blest to have such a wonderful marriage and so are you.

    August 28, 2008 at 5:22 pm
  • Reply Monica

    Shaz, yay! Your post radiates…clarity. You’re show the power of positive thought. Not that you can’t still WANT that baby. I want it too. But you’re stepping up above the muck and crud and looking down with clarity, at least getting into the practice of doing that. Great inspiration!

    August 28, 2008 at 9:57 pm
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