On Not Having Children: Childless, Child-Free or Freak? #MondayBlogs #childless

I am the youngest of my siblings: a brother 3 years older than me, and two sisters, 11 and 13 years older.  I didn’t grow up with babies.  While I’m sure I had the standard baby dolls when I was very little, the only dolls I remember are the ones that had boobs.  The ones that were more or less adult, independent.  They had cousins, like me, but no children.  I wanted to be Marlo Thomas, That Girl, when I grew up.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an essay in the Sunday NY Times on choosing to not have children.  “Childless by Choice” is a rather sad essay by Michelle Huneven about she came to be childless.  She had one stark opportunity for motherhood when she was young and single and broke.  I recognized that part of her story because I too once had an opportunity when I was young and single and broke.  Like Huneven, I passed it up.

And like Huneven, I followed with a “series of time-consuming, life-swallowing love affairs” mixed with a fair amount of drinking (and also, in my case, drugs).  We both grew up in families that were short on love and affection, although Huneven’s family far overshadows mine in terms of dysfunction.  As she put it:  “I didn’t trust myself not to recreate the turbulent family I’d known.” And there our stories begin to diverge.  For me, it was more the fear of recreating the turbulent me that I’d known.

When I was younger, I didn’t like myself much, and I didn’t trust myself.  I had flashes of violent anger that frightened me.  For a long time I was convinced I was mentally ill and just got from one day to the next by a sheer will to live.  So the thought of a mini-me running around was horrifying.  But when people talked to me about having children, I would just joke that I was too selfish. I didn’t want to go shopping for anyone but myself.

I would also joke that God neglected to wind up my biological clock.  I can honestly recall only two episodes in my whole 57 years when I even semi-seriously considered having children.  Once when I was 14 and with my first steady boyfriend and we were both saying we wanted to have our own kids as well as adopt a bunch.  Five minutes after that conversation, I remember thinking to myself how crazy that was.  At the time I didn’t even like kids!

The second time was after I had read an essay by Louise Erdrich in Harper’s (May 1993).  She was writing about women’s work, work that includes having children:  “With each pregnancy, I have been thrown into a joy of the body that is religious, that seizes me so thoroughly that the life of the imagination sometimes seems a spare place.”  Erdrich made it sound so soft and fuzzy and warm, an experience that every woman should have.  And I exclaimed to my husband that perhaps I had made a mistake, for it was too late now.

Several years before that essay, and a year before I married my husband, I had my “tubes tied.”  Tubal ligation to be technical.  I was about 30 when my body started spiraling out of control: every month I was beset by heavy periods, knee-buckling cramps, and painful bloating.  I had been on the Pill for 10 years without incident.  My husband-then-boyfriend wanted me off the Pill, concerned that long-term use might lead to cancer.  But what to do?  Neither of us wanted children, at least not right then.  He seemed more uncertain.  My indifference to children in general and antipathy to being pregnant made my decision easy:  I would be sterilized.  That way, if we broke up, he could still have a family.

So there my story again diverges from Huneven.  She seemed to simply avoid chances to settled down and raise a family “until it was biologically impossible” for her to have children.  She did marry (around age 50) and she has enjoyed sobriety for 27 years, but she had to get to that point–the sobriety and the biological impossibility–before she could think that she would be “somewhat willing to be a parent.”  I took a stand relatively early (31 to be exact).  And aside from my brief infatuation with Erdrich’s rendition of pregnancy and motherhood, I’ve never regretted it.

But I know I belong to a club with very few members.  Roughly 80% of women in the US have a child by age 40.  The remaining 20% no doubt includes women who want to have children but cannot.  An article in the LA Times reports, “The percentage of married women ages 40 to 44 who had no biological children and no other kids in the household, such as adopted children or stepkids, reached 6% in the period from 2006 to 2010.”  It is an increase, but it’s still small enough to make me feel like an overlooked minority.

Whenever I meet someone new, whether at work or a social event, I’m inevitably asked, “Do you have children?”  I inevitably answer, “I have cats.”  And I smile.  Often the questioner smiles along with me, but sometimes she also squirms a bit.  I want to reassure her that I’m childless by choice but quickly realize that would make things more awkward.  I am an uncommon phenomenon.

Even when I lived in San Francisco, after my husband and I married and were joyfully spreading the news, people assumed children were in our future.  When my husband told one of his coworkers that we were not going to have children, the coworker retorted, “What are you going to do? Just sit around and stroke each other’s egos?”  Both of us wondered, what the hell is wrong with that?

And for the past 25+ years of married life, we have been happily stroking each other’s egos, with cats the only demands on our time and resources.  I make no apologies.  But after all these years, I still feel a bit like a freak.  If I had had a biological desire to have children but chose not to say, for environmental reasons (e.g., overpopulation), that would be one thing.  If I had had that desire but was infertile, that would be something else.  But there’s been no desire.  Nada.  Nil.  I can’t claim some lofty rationalization. All I can say is “Meh, the biological clock never got wound up.”

A bit of irony comes with this story:  In early 2001, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.  This cancer is precipitated by an overabundance of estrogen, an overabundance usually caused by early menstruation (I was 9 when I had my first period), no completed pregnancy (there we go with the whole not-having-children thing), and obesity (I was not obese, but I was overweight).  Fortunately, it was Stage 1 and resolved through a total abdominal hysterectomy.  I’ve never needed any other treatment, and I’m considered “cancer-free.”  But it was a slap in the face, to be brought down by that kind of cancer, even when I had purposely gone off the Pill to avoid it, and when I had purposely (and literally) cut off any chance of ever getting pregnant.

I’ve gotten over it, though.  It wasn’t long before the happy realization that I no longer had to plan my life around my periods over-rode any Twilight Zone-ques feeling of Karma.  I’ve never identified with my uterus except to resent it’s monthly bloodly and painful intrusions.  Having cancer was scary, but having children for the sake of avoiding cancer would have been stupid.  And, no doubt, if I had, that mini-me would still be likely to be sending her therapy bills to me.

And all is not lost.  As the percentage of women who choose not to have children grows, we might also see an increase in the percentage of people who understand:  https://motherhoodtherealdeal.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/what-youre-not-going-to-have-children-a-mother-finally-understands-why/.

It’s a start.

 

 

 

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About 1WriteWay

Writer, blogger, knitter, and cat lover.
This entry was posted in Essay writing, Self-image and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to On Not Having Children: Childless, Child-Free or Freak? #MondayBlogs #childless

  1. Thank you for sharing your story, Marie. I’m also child-free, by choice. I could say that battling health issues in my 20’s and 30’s is my reason, but that wouldn’t be true. Although I love children, especially my nieces and nephew, I never had the strong desire to have a child of my own. Does that make me a freak? Probably to some people, but I’ve never been concerned about what others might think, when it comes to my personal choices. I think there are a lot of people out there who should never have had children.
    Thank you for your honesty. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Hey, Jill, thank you for sharing your story! I was thinking of you while I wrote this post since we had made passing comments to each other about being child-free. The only real push-back I ever got was from my 2nd oldest sister. And she is the only one in the family who has kids! (My oldest sister couldn’t because of health reasons and I think my brother is destined for bachelorhood.) But, as you note, being child-free doesn’t mean we don’t love kids, or at least the ones related to us 🙂

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      • It’s funny, no one in my family or close friends have ever questioned why I chose not to have children. The questions have always come from people I hardly know, which blows my mind. I’m glad we’re in the same club. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • 1WriteWay says:

          My 2nd oldest sister found it very difficult to accept that I chose to not have children. Even when I tried to explain that I didn’t even want to, she didn’t understand. To her, it’s simply what one does: get married and raise a family. But she has six grandchildren who keep her quite busy. The last time she mentioned my choice was when I was diagnosed with cancer, and she noted in an email that a risk factor for the cancer was not having children. I already knew that, of course, and ignored her email. It hurt because I felt like she was blaming me, but my husband (the sympathetic guy that he is) said she was probably just trying to find a reason, a way to understand why her little sister had cancer, the way we all try to find understanding in a world that doesn’t make sense. He was probably right, but, fortunately, that was the last of it 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. sknicholls says:

    I have three kids and love them all dearly, but I know (with that sort of if I knew then what I know now) if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t have kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Hi, Susan, I wonder how many parents also feel that way? Everyone would have their own reasons for feeling so and I doubt that anyone would feel that way because of the kids themselves (well, unless the kid was Veda Pierce, the sociopathic daughter of fictional character Mildred Pierce. We’ve been watching the mini-series. My god, that kid is so bad!!) Judging from your blog, you do get a lot of joy from your children and your children’s children 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I also don’t have kids by choice. In the past two or three years, I think I’ve finally gotten past the judgment. Or maybe I just don’t notice it. Thanks for sharing your story, Marie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Hi, Andra, you’d have a whole other memoir (or two or three) to write if you’d had kids and you brought them along on the Natchez Trace 😉 Or maybe you wouldn’t have gotten there. That’s part of it for me. There’s so many things I know I wouldn’t have done if I had had children. Even though I have friends who have literally traveled the world with their babies, it doesn’t mean I would have been happy doing so. As for judgment, I think as we get older it becomes less of an issue. When I was younger and obviously of childbearing age (which I am obviously no longer), I often felt like I was expected to explain why I didn’t have children. Now, people move on a little more quickly. Interestingly, I do think of myself as having children in my life although they are miles away from me: my grandniece and grandnephews, one of whom I’ve yet to meet. I don’t have children, but I have children in my Will 🙂

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  4. I’m only just about to turn 31, so I suppose there’s still time for me to change my mind, but I don’t think I will. My partner and I have discussed fostering, but I’ve rarely, if ever, had any desire to be a full-time parent. I think there’s a lot of us that just don’t have it in our blood, and with the rate the rest of the population reproduces, it’s probably a good thing that we don’t.

    Thanks for sharing such an honest post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Amalie, thank you for reading and commenting! I do miss being 31. It was a good age 🙂 Of course, you could change your mind, and I don’t think you need the “urge” to be a good parent. Mindfulness, I think, is more important. I think fostering is a wonderful idea. There so many children who already need homes and TLC. I’ll admit, fostering was my “fall-back”: my rational that I could “have” a child if I wanted to even after getting sterilized. But I definitely don’t have the temperament 😉

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  5. So great of you to share you story. I also don’t have kids for many, many reasons. Mostly, I just never felt the pull. In theory I can see how someone wants to devote their life to raising a child, and some days feel I might be good at it, but then I think: nope. There’s so many other things I want to pursue. Even when I have seriously considered having a family, it’s always been via the possibility of adoption. My family just has too many weirdo genes I don’t want to pass on. Never say never… I’m 38 and pretty glad I passed by that urge with the man I spent half of my life with since he is no longer in my life after a sudden shift in his life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Hi, Jeri! Thank you for reading and commenting! I’m really thrilled that the post has attracted other women who chose not to have children. I feel validated by all the stories. Yours is a bit poignant in that you did have a relationship in which you might have started a family, and now you’re split up so it’s kind of like you missed the bullet 😉 And I totally get you on the “so many other things I want to pursue.” I always wanted the freedom to just do what I want to do without having to worry about the care of a little one. It’s hard enough with just cats.

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  6. Great discussion. Since I have, the wrong plumbing to comment on children or not just let me say you are wonderful and am glad your ego is in good shape as a result of the last twenty-five years.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Wordlander says:

    I’m child-free and unmarried although I’ve been with my partner for 10 years. If I don’t get asked about the marriage, I get asked about kids. At 32 a lot of my friends are in that stage where they are having kids and it makes me think about it. But like you I have no overwhelming desire for children and, considering the commitment you have to make, I think it would be wrong to have them unless I did. Sometimes I feel sad because I don’t have that desire. I feel like there’s something wrong with me. But this passes and I am content again. I still have time, I know this, but when I was younger I thought the desire would hit me in my twenties, then when I hit thirty, but no it never did and I’m not sure it ever will. I have two lovely nephews and I love them to bits and I’m happy with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Thank you for reading and sharing your story! I think we feel there’s something wrong with us because our society expects all women (and men, even) to want to have children. I know in my early years, when I admitted I wasn’t interested because I thought most kids were brats, the response I’d get was typically, “oh, your own children will be different” or “it’s different when it’s your own children.” I could never quite buy those arguments. But, yeah, the absence of desire for children felt weird. But when you have nephews and nieces to dote over, you realize that maybe your real purpose was to be someone’s favorite aunt 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post. I’m 33 and have no desire to have children. I’m a proud aunt and content with that. Thankfully, hubby isn’t into children either. One day we hope to have furry babies (current landlord says no pets) and that’s it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Hi, Patricia, thank you for reading and commenting! I love being an aunt. It’s the best because you dote on them to your heart’s content. I hope you do get to have your furry babies. We have three cats currently. There are a lot of strays in our neighborhood, so in the past 20 years, we’ve cared for about 10 cats altogether 😉 We do love them, but they are a handful too 🙂

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  9. Having children, whether by choice or circumstance, is such a personal thing, it amazes me that people feel it’s okay to intrude on that aspect of someone else’s life. I always knew that I wanted to have a kiddo running around, but my wife was not always open to the idea, and it was something I hopefully never made her feel pressured to do (at least she told me she never felt it). When she got to the point where she wanted to have one, it all worked out.

    So good for you for not feeling ashamed of your decision. Like Jill said, there are a lot of folks out there that do their children more harm than good, so the more people that know themselves up front, the better. Relationships between two people are hard enough! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure your wife never felt pressured by you, Phillip. It’s just not in you. I’m so happy you had Angus…he’s my Friday highlight! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      I’ve often wondered if my husband had felt differently, had expressed a real desire to have children, maybe things would have turned out differently. I had a lot of examples of women raising children by themselves (my own mom and many of my aunts) and while I admired those women for being strong enough to do so, I certainly didn’t want to raise a child by myself. My generation saw a lot of women, even in two-parent households, shouldering most of the parental duties. But you, Phillip, remind me of my nephews, each one of whom wanted children and are fully involved in their childrens’ lives. Your wife probably saw that in you. I bet she realized that you would be there for all of it, good and bad. You’d be a real partner in this business of child-rearing. I’m so glad it worked out for both of you. A real win-win 🙂 And, like Jill, I so look forward to seeing those pics of Angus on Fridays!

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  10. Marie this is a powerful post and I think you have done a wonderful job expressing your journey. I never wanted children for the longest time and told my future husband that we may not be able to have kids because I was heading to the big forty mark. We did have two beautiful children. It is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. I believe its a life choice and I would never tell anyone else they should do the same thing at my age. Being human is hard enough, let alone other people telling you how you should live your life. Thank you for your honesty I am sure there are many out there living fulfilling lives just like you. Kath.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Thank you for sharing your story! I do love that there are so many different stories. Yours reminds me that childrearing doesn’t have to happen during one’s 20s. We’re so young then and still finding out about ourselves. I do think that women who delay until later in their life are being the most mindful when they decide to have children. Childrearing is the hardest job on the planet and I admire anyone who goes into it with their eyes wide open.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. BerLinda says:

    You can add one more to the ‘freaky club’ 🙂 I’ve never wanted kids, never even had a flutter of maternal instinct and I make absolutely no apologies for it. A lot of people out there with kids are far more messed up than we’ll ever be!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Pierced Wonderings says:

    For longest time, I didn’t want children and then it hit me fiercely. Of course, now I’m in a situation where I cannot have children. It is painful…mostly because society at large seems to think that a woman’s defining characteristic is her ability to have children or how many children she has had. I think I could deal with it more easily if wasn’t the first question people asked – “Do you have children? How many children do you have? Don’t you want children?”

    A friend is also childless but she and her husband have decided it just doesn’t fit their lifestyle. Two years ago – at the age of 36, he had a vasectomy. There was a ton of uproar with his family but everything has quieted down and folks have come to respect their decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am sorry that you can’t have children now that you want them. And that’s the cruel rub, isn’t it? Having had them when you didn’t want them wouldn’t have been better. But to now want them and be unable is not fair. I have a friend who would have loved to have a child. She’s my age, 57, and it still pains her that she couldn’t conceive. And some of that pain comes from that “defining characteristic” as you so well put it. Thank you again for your comment.

      Like

  13. lorilschafer says:

    I’ve never wanted children. Like you, I’ve had a couple of passing moments in which the idea sounded cute, but then reality reasserted itself! Personally, I’m inclined to think it’s biological. Some of us may just not be built to get all googly-eyed over offspring, and I figure that’s fine – there are plenty of people who do. I do, however, get a bit irritated when people try to convince me that I really do want children – as if I don’t know my own mind. I am approaching an age at which this will no longer be an issue, but somehow I don’t think that will prevent unobjective observers from feeling sorry for me. But at least I know I won’t be feeling sorry for myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Thank you for reading and sharing your story! I’ve had that experience, too, of people trying to convince me that I should want children, or will be happy to have them. I often think those people are just trying to justify their own behavior. What they don’t want is to have doubts about their own decision to have children, and the happiness of “child-free” couples like my husband and me seems to challenge their beliefs. I’m glad I’m at that point of my life where it is a moot issue but, sure, some people will still think our lives are empty. But it’s them I feel sorry, not me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. jackiemallon says:

    Great piece. I’m sure my mother wonders what’s the hold up now that I eventually got hitched but she doesn’t dare ask. Catholic mothers 🙂 The husband doesn’t want them and we had many conversations and I feel ok. As yet. Hope I don’t wake up sometime in the future and bawl and wail for no reason. Our writing is what we conceive and birth 🙂 ( I can say that to you and be understood whereas a mother would roll her eyes and think I hadn’t a clue!)
    Congratulations on beating the Big C, girl!
    Bloody nora though, if it’s not society greeting the childless with confusion and suspicion, you’ll be dealt a physical blow too. Man that sucks!
    Carry on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Thanks, Jackie! Yes, writing is its own cycle of labor and birth. The metaphor works so well :). Maybe you will feel some regret later, maybe not. It’s easy to regret not having done something. The thing is, rearing a child is so much more work and sacrifice. Yes, there may be joy, too, but, overall, it’s work. Our cats, for whom we have to schedule a pet sitter if we want to travel and for whom we spend $$$ for food and litter and who seem determined to live as long as a whole generation, often remind us that we’re glad we don’t have kids 😉

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  15. Ellespeth says:

    Hi Marie! Great post and a topic worth reading. I also don’t have children. A slow choice.
    I’ve remarried and my husband has two adult children. I tell you, Marie, I did not miss my calling 😛
    Hope allz well,
    Ellespth

    Like

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Hello, Ellspeth! Yes, well, you say you did not miss your calling, but are you and your husband still tending the day care? The thing about being childless or child-free is you don’t have to be without children entirely. In many ways, you can enjoy the fun bits and leave the bad bits for the parents 😉 Lovely to have you drop by. I need to visit your blog soon!

      Like

      • Ellespeth says:

        Yep! We are still doing the retirement child care thing. And you’re right, it’s a joy for both of us. David is in his 70’s and waiting for a grand baby who may never come, and I love the fact that it’s two hour stints and then back to the parents 😛
        I could not have done justice to being a mother. I’m an artist – so was my first husband. People birth in different ways.
        Ellespeth

        Liked by 1 person

  16. L. Marie says:

    Thank you for this very honest post. I couldn’t have children, so I can relate. I’ve been asked a thousand times, “Do you have any children?” Sometimes I’ve been told, “Oh you’re so lucky. You’re free to do X and Y.” (Yet I’m the first one they call if they need a babysitter.) I’ve been given the “you’re kind of a selfish freak” look as well. Never mind the pain I feel at being infertile.
    I’m amazed at people who think they have the right to decide for someone else what he or she should do. I have a brother and sister-in-law who don’t have children. But they take care of everyone else in the family.

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      L. Marie, I am sorry to hear that you couldn’t have children. In my perfect world, those who want children would be fertile and those who didn’t, wouldn’t be. That’s another reason why it bugs me when someone asks if I have children. What if I was infertile but wanted children? Then the question would be so much more painful than annoying. People just don’t think before they speak. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  17. Thanks for sharing your story, Marie. I’m in your club too! I guess my clock never got wound up either. The only time I thought about having children was when I made an appointment to get my tubes tied. I started obsessing about it. I cancelled the appointment and immediately went back to knowing I didn’t want children. Maybe I just wanted the option. Weird. Anyway, I have never regretted my decision. Some of my closest friends are childless too so I’ve never felt judged. Interestingly, most of the men I’ve been in relationships with have had children. The question I get asked the most, at 52, is when am I going to marry my beau or when are we going to cohabit. Someday…….. 🙂

    Like

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Oh, thank you for your comment! At the time I got my tubes tied, I was just so fed up with juggling birth control and worrying that it might fail. And my soon-to-be husband and I talked about it at length. He was more concerned that I might regret it, but I really think it was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. To be honest, the idea of being pregnant horrified me. I had been around enough pregnant women. It didn’t look like fun to me 😉 My rationale was I could always adopt if I changed my mind.
      I like how you end your comment. You sound like you’re at a lovely time in your life 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Well said, Marie. I’m so glad you did this post. I’m another one! Funny, I wonder how many of us thought we there the only “young and single and broke/one chancers” out there. Huge hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I love discovering blogs that are written well and honestly (which is why they’re written well!). What a brave and fabulous post about a woman’s choice. We have come a long way baby, as far as being able to say ‘being a mom is not my plan’ and for the most part not being condemned for it. I am a mom, and I have good friends who chose not to be. I love our diversity in our life’s decisions, and our ability to talk about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Thank you so much for your comment and kind words! I’ve been pleased by the responses to my post. It’s wonderful to meet other women who chose not to have children, but it’s very special to have moms such as yourself be so accepting and understanding. One of my best friends defines her womanhood as being a mom (and now grandmother), but she’s never imposed that on me. From the beginning of our friendship, she accepted me as I am. That’s all any of us want.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I honor your decision not to have children. I had one and have often been told what a mistake it is to have only one child–the burden in the future, etc. But I think we know internally what is right for us, and we must listen to our own callings. Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Hi, Renee, thank you for your comment. I have a few friends who have had just one child, and those children have grown up to be quite well-adjusted, happy people. Are people saying that you will be a burden to your child in your old age because you only had one? That’s nonsense. For one thing, there’s never a guarantee that having siblings makes things easier. Often it’s one child that shoulders most of the responsibility of caring for aging parents anyway. I don’t know if you have extended family (cousins, etc.) but they could be a great source of support for you and your only child, if that’s really a concern. If you’re happy as a threesome, then that is what counts. Bravo to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you ! I believe it is a disservice to humankind to bring children into the world to fill a ‘position’ or to be backup support. If the yearning for a child, in whatever form it enters the world–health issues, birth defects–isn’t paramount to completion of happiness

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Sherri says:

    What a beautifully written post this is Marie, I was absolutely blown away by the honesty you shared here. I did a bit of babysitting as a teenager but didn’t ever feel at all maternal, although I do remember having a conversation with my school friends when we were all about 13, comparing how many children we thought we would have one day: I said I hoped for three, two boys and a girl, which of course is what I went on to have by no small miracle.
    In my memoir I write about the time when a doctor took me aside during my then husband’s cancer treatment, telling me straight out that we would never be able to have children as he would be rendered sterile. I was 21 at the time and completely dismissed what he was telling me, unable to understand the brevity of his words,as all that was on my mind at that time was whether or not my husband would survive, which he did not, and which profoundly affected me. Losing him at such a young age devestated me but having my first born so young (barely 23) gave me my life back. I often wonder if I hadn’t gone through what I had so young that I would have waited for chidren (I was horrified by some girls at school who were pregnant at 15 or so) but I never regretted it. Through all these years, it is my children who have brought me the greatest joy. And it is our different stories, shared here, that connect us so strongly as we weave them into the fabric of a life well lived, in which ever way that life is lived. Marie, I am so glad that you have such a strong, fulfilling marriage and also that you recovered from your illness. Life sure can throw us some curve balls, putting it mildly, but how wonderful to be here, now, writing about those experiences and coming alongside one another as we share our hearts. Thank you so much for sharing yours in this poignant and touching post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1WriteWay says:

      Sherri, the beauty of your comment had me at a loss for words for awhile 🙂 I’m so sorry that you had to go through such a horrible loss so young in your life. I can’t even imagine. Though you might have waited for children otherwise, what’s important is you don’t regret your choices. That they are your “greatest joy” is a wonderful thing. I thank you for sharing your story and for your very kind words.

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      • Sherri says:

        Bless you Marie and thank you so much for your very kind words to me …I am honoured that you should share your story with us and that you should inspire us to share the very same with you 🙂 xo

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  22. Zambian Lady says:

    The first time I heard a woman say she did not want children or ever get married was eleven years ago when I moved to the States. I was shocked! My culture demands that one gets married and have kids. Alternatively, a woman should have a kid/kids even if she never marries. For a man, there should at least be a rumor that he had impregnated some woman somewhere. This will prove that he is ‘functioning’. I no longer get surprised (though I can not say I understand) when someone says that they don’t want kids or married since I have heard so many women say so. I should mention that all these women are financially independent and I think they are able to make choices that please them.

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    • 1WriteWay says:

      Thank you for your comment. There’s definitely differences in whether some cultures demand women have children. In the States, it’s more of an expectation, less a demand. Even when it is acceptable that a woman might choose to not have children, it’s not always understood why. For some people, it’s simply biology: like other animals, we’re supposed to feel an urge to procreate. For other people, it’s a matter of duty: you are a woman, therefore you should have children. Whether you want them is irrelevant. I think most women in my family and generations before never really thought about whether they wanted to have children, only that they were expected to. I’m lucky in that no one was really “depending” on me to have kids. My mother has three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She’s never pressured to me to add to the growing brood 😉

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