Or when we’re in a crowded restaurant and we just *happen* to get seated by a screaming baby, Hubby and I might look at each other and say, “Now, why would anyone want to have one of those?”
Hubby and I make these comments in jest, because in reality we really do wish we could have had a child of our own.
But just because Hubby and I deliberately and consciously made the decision to stop treatment for our Infertility and continue to live our lives with the possibility of not ever having children, it does not mean that we never wanted children.
In fact, we have always wanted to have a household full of kids; ones that we’d be able to keep our genetic lineage alive. Children of our own that we could share our knowledge of the world; whom we could introduce books and music into their lives.
But they just never came.
Not that we hadn’t tried. (Oh boy, did we ever try!) And it’s not like we didn’t seek any medical care to diagnose our Infertility; a diagnosis that still remains “unexplained” as of today.
It’s not like we’re currently preventing ourselves from becoming pregnant. Because, except for the times I was on Lupron for endometriosis, I had never taken any birth control pills … so why start now?
And yet, we’re still not able to reproduce.
So tell me why there’s this general assumption – this myth, if you will – that couples living child-free are selfish and that they think only of themselves? Or that we’re lucky that we don’t have the responsibilities of having to raise a child; indicating that our lives are nothing but an endless stream of date nights and vacationing? Or that, because we don’t have children, we have no idea on how to raise a child?
The truth is, from the moment we started dating (oh … some 20 years ago now!) Hubby & I had always talked about what our life would be like with a large family. We thought of how great it would be for our parents to spoil their grandchildren. Or how we would make our siblings an Aunt or an Uncle; and that our kids would then have “forever friends” with their cousins.
To this day, it still haunts me that my father … the one who always loved children … was never able to hold any grandchildren that came from within me. And while I knew he understood our reasons for not pursuing further options, it still kills me that I was not able to give him and my Mom the gift of grandchildren.
We knew our lives would be busy with a houseful of kids; we knew the sacrifices it would take on our parts to raise more than two children. But we never knew … or never expected that it would be so difficult just to have one child.
The longer we remained childless, the more time it gave us to determine exactly how we would raise our child. We would constantly talk about how we’d approach the same moral issues that our friends and peers were experiencing with their own children. We thought we’d be able to “store” this information for use later on when we hopefully had that family we very much longed for.
It shook our confidence to the core when we finally realized we could not bear any children of our own without having to pursue more highly expensive procedures. (We had already spent quite a bit money on one IVF cycle that did not work and failed to provide more than one viable embryo to try an FET cycle.) So the thought of adoption — even as much as we would have loved to pursue it — Well, it felt like yet another mountain we had to try to climb … even though by then we had tried climbing several mountains, failing to reach the summit every single time.
So with those experiences in mind, Hubby and I had to decide if our dream of a large family was worth the possibility of further disappointment … If it was worth a further breach in our already-broken sanity. And what we had decided was to stop treatment and continue to live our lives day by day … with the idea that we could possibly continue to live a life without children.
Once we made this decision, we found that we could finally start to move forward in our lives: We no longer had to be tied to a 28-day cycle surrounding my period. We could plan vacations or weekend trips without the constant thought of “what if I might be pregnant at the time?” We could look towards our future.
Now I realize that last paragraph probably perpetuates the myth that child-free living equals care-free living. That we’re lucky that we don’t have to plan for a baby-sitter. Or that we don’t have to worry about a gazillion child-centric things (like pee-wee sports games and birthday parties and – gasp! – homework).
But the truth is that, although we don’t have to worry about those kid activities that can keep a parent busy … it doesn’t mean that we’re not busy with other things. Like work … and how easy it is to throw yourself into your job. Especially since *I* see this as one way — with Motherhood being another way — I can contribute something to society.
Or Family. Even though we may not have our own kids, it doesn’t mean that Hubby & I are not spending time with our siblings and their children. Or our parents. Or any of our other extended family. And that’s because Family has always been an important part our lives; whether or not we had kids of our own. We’ve always regarded Family in the highest regard and strive to help out in any capacity that we can.
So even though it may seem like we’re living care-free … the truth is that we’re just as “care-free” as any other person with children. We have just as many “obligations” as you do … they just might not be in the same “category” that yours, with parental obligations, would.
Hubby & I have another game that we play when we’re surrounded by way-too-cute children. We talk about how adorable and sweet they are now … but then we add, “Wait until they become teenagers!”
And then we let out a laugh that sounds quite like Vincent Price at the end of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.
But even in the midst of our laughter, we can both look into each other’s eyes and see the truth. That despite it all, we would still have loved to fulfill our dream of that houseful of kids.