I have no idea what I’ll do if we can’t have kids. There isn’t a plan B. I never imagined a story of my life where procreation wasn’t inevitable.
I feel like if I don’t have kids I need to do something equally valuable with my life – become a lawyer, save the world, become super successful. Except that if I were able to do that I would have already. There’s nothing stopping me now. You see all these people who go through a hard time and come out with something brilliant from it – art, a book, a business. It all seems to be tied up in a neat package of “look how good came out of something bad”. But my floundering might just be floundering. There might now be anything magical about it.
I’ve seen friends struggle with rationalizing a childless existence as well, although for different reasons. A friend of mine doesn’t want to have children by choice. She was full of explanations “we can have foster kids, we can mentor kids, we can do a lot of good by not having kids of our own”. Not having children opens up resources – time, money, energy. So what do you do with that? There seems to be an onus on diverting all of the resources that would have gone into children into something else. You need to rationalize it. Children are the norm, so how do you explain your existence when you stray from the norm?
Every time I talk to my friends with children there the implied or direct feeling of “You’re so lucky you can…” then followed by a fill in the blank. You’re so lucky you can…sleep in, go out, travel, watch TV, relax etc. So even now, I think about how I need to use my time wisely. I need to, counter intuitively, appreciate my childlessness. Make something great out of it, be someone great because of it. But instead I’m spending a lot of time worrying. A lot of time being sad, trying to be healthy, trying to keep track of appointments and telling my therapist about how hard infertility is. This isn’t positioning me to be the next best thing – it’s just me reacting to my reality. If we never have kids, I don’t think I’ll be a different person and that scares me. It scares me that I’ll just keep on living my same mediocre life only there won’t the any magic in it. There won’t be the indescribable love that mothers experience, there won’t be the funny moments children bring, there won’t the “natural” cycle of life. There will only be me. The same me.