“No, we don’t.”
And queue “oh shit, what door have I opened” combined with “you’re almost 40 and women are put on this earth to procreate so why don’t you” looks.
Whenever I’m asked this question awkwardness always ensues. I’ve got my elevator pitch down to 14.3 seconds. “Oh, don’t worry, I’m an open book about this stuff. Our non-kid family isn’t from of a lack of trying. We’ve had three miscarriages. I believe everything happens for a reason so I’m OK with it. We’re DINKs. We’ve got a great life with great kids all around us who I get to give back at the end of the day.” <insert fake laugh>
It’s a question I am tired of defending. Why must we have kids for life to be complete? I love my life. It’s fantastic. It’s a life that allows both me and hubs to work hard to fulfill our career driven aspirations. It’s a life that allows us to live in our dream home with nature at our doorstep. It’s a life that allows us to go for dinner with friends any night of the week without negotiating who gets left out because we can’t find a babysitter. It’s a life where I can drink way too much Sauvignon Blanc which ultimately turns into shooters which ultimately turns into me sleeping on the bathroom floor…naked…and I don’t have to worry about who’s going to make sure le damn noise-makers don’t burn the house down cause I can’t lift my head out of the toilet. It’s my life.
I’m happy. I really am. But more and more these days I am starting to wonder if I’ll have regrets not having children; or at least not trying one last time. Hubs wants a baby. We’ve even been negotiating: he gets a baby and I get a dog. Don’t get all up in arms – the only way for us to have a serious conversation is by not being serious at all. I’m just not sure. I want to live my life with no regrets. But will I regret not having a baby? I mean society completely fetishes about baby bumps and motherhood and tells women that’s what we’re supposed to do.
By now you’re probably going “but you’ve tried before so isn’t all of this a bit of an oxymoron?”
Growing up I never had that burning desire to be a mommy. I didn’t play with dolls and pretend I was their mommy. Sheesh. Why would I want to pretend to change shitty diapers. Give me a speak-and-spell and bam! See, I told you I was almost 40. I never really pictured my life with kids in it. In fact, for a long time I was going to be that single, high-powered woman of influence living in a downtown, penthouse condo.
My biological clock has never gone tic-toc, get on the cock. Two of our pregnancies were unplanned before we got married. While yes, I was a bit sad after each one, a tiny piece of me was thankful. Our relationship was not ready for kids. We were still building our foundation. Even though we had been together a few years, we were still learning and adapting to each other.
The timing of our third pregnancy was perfect if you go by the image society paints. Newly married. Living in our single family dream home. The stars aligned.
9:30 pm on a Tuesday evening I started spotting. Hubs at work. I went across the street to tell my girlfriend (who didn’t know I was pregnant yet). I wasn’t too worked up knowing this can be normal as it had happened with pregnancy #2. Early the next morning I knew it was over. We went to the hospital and an ultrasound confirmed it.
It crushed me. Three pregnancies. Three miscarriages. What was wrong with me?
The most devastating part of it all was I was finally ready. Not “OMG I need to have a baby” but more like “ya, we can do this” ready. I was finally OK with having the title of mom. We had a baby plan. Remember the career driven part? Well, I needed a plan on how I could be a mom and have a career and the role hubs would play in that.
Shortly after miscarriage number three, I started seeing Patricia, a fertility psychologist at the Ottawa Fertility Clinic (we’re patients there). She was and continues to be amazing. I went to her because I felt alone in this world of increasing baby commodities. I felt selfish for loving my life as it is, for being happy sans-tot. Society has this way of making a woman who does not have children feel worthless. Like our stock isn’t as valuable as those with kiddos. It’s on the front page of every tabloid. It’s a common headline in traditional and social media.
Well, guess what? Patricia made my realize my stock is priceless. Invaluable. Can you put a price on keeping your bestie’s children alive when she is going through the fight of her life? Trust me. You can’t. There is a silver lining in every situation – you just need to look for it.
As I am closer to 40 than 30, I started to worry about the risk associated with pregnancy at this age. I was consumed with thoughts of the “what-ifs”. I got to a place where I was OK with being a mom but knew I would not be OK being a full-time a caregiver. I commend people who do but also wonder if there is well-disguised remorse with their decisions. We don’t have a cohesive system in Canada to truly support the families caring for children (and adults for that matter) with mental and/or physical disabilities.
But because society tells us to love a child no matter what, I again felt lonely with my thoughts. Society was basically telling me I was a black-hearted for thinking this way. For thinking of me. Patricia, on the other hand, made me realize the most responsible decision one can make is when we put ourselves first. We are constantly telling people in our lives “it’s OK to put yourself first” when doing things like deciding to go on vacation without the kids or buying something pretty for yourself because you deserve it. But when it comes to making the biggest life changing event one will ever experience? Well, society basically tells us just do it. Take the plunge. No need to put the most important person first – you.
Patricia got me to a good place. Hubs and I had started trying again in the spring of 2013. By September I was done with the monthly reminder that I was not pregnant.
So what now? Well, we’re not pregnant but it looks like I’m getting a dog. I’ll keep you posted if my DINKs card is revoked. But if it isn’t, I’ll still be happy. And the world needs happy people.
Image sourced from You’re Not From Around Here1