There are moments in life where our path…our choices, or non-choices,…smacks us in the face. This past week has been one of those for me and I’m working through grief that I knew was there but didn’t realise how deep it ran.
As long as I can remember, I wanted children. More specifically, I wanted a husband and children. Neither of those things happened and now I’m at a point where one of them can never happen. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I didn’t have a baby. I experience sadness when I see pregnant women or people with children, but I’m also very happy with my life in the general sense and have made peace with the fact that having kids just wasn’t part of my life experiences even though I wanted it with every fibre of my being.
I’ve made peace with the fact that yes, in many ways, it was a choice. I could have “accidentally” conceived (maybe). I could have adopted. I could have settled down when I was younger and had a partner. I could have gone through IVF on my own.
Over the years, I looked at all those options. I took a few risks that I hoped might result in an unexpected pregnancy – they didn’t. I looked in to adoption – it’s hard when you’re single and it’s also very expensive. I considered staying in relationships I knew weren’t right – I wanted more for myself and the other person. And I looked in to IVF – it’s invasive and expensive and emotionally difficult at the best of times let alone on your own. I also joined a co-parenting app that helps people find people to have a child with – I didn’t find anyone that I would have wanted to have a child with.
So yes, in many ways, it was a choice to not have children. But it’s like choosing the lesser of two evils. Telling someone who hasn’t had children that it was their choice (yes, I’ve been told this) is not a fair or understanding statement. Nor is “you obviously didn’t want them bad enough or you would have made it happen.” Yeah, I guess there’s some truth to that. It doesn’t take away the grief I feel though at not having had the opportunity to experience marriage and childbirth the way I wanted to. Choosing to not have a child on my own is a choice, but it’s not a choice I wanted to make and it does not change the fact that I do experience grief at the fact that I didn’t have a child.
This is all front of mind right now because one of my very best friends has become unexpectedly pregnant. She was one of the few people in my life that understood my feelings as she was experiencing them too. I am so happy for her…and at the same time my own grief is amplified. At this point, and with her age, there is a large risk of miscarriage so it’s not something she’s talking about and the only reason I’m writing about it as anyone reading this who knows me, does not know her, and I need to write to get through my emotions.
She wants me to be a 2nd Mum to the baby…and I love that she wants to include me in their life. She’s also tried to convince me that I could do IVF with donor eggs and donor sperm and potentially have a child…and that being 70+ when they’re 20 is okay these days. Which again puts me in to the ‘this is your choice’ category, but is it really? I guess it is…but it doesn’t feel like much of one to me. I would love nothing more than to have a child. At the same time, going through IVF and having a baby at 50 while running a company….?
I’ve always thought that if I had to choose between a loving relationship and having a baby on my own, I’d choose the relationship. Unfortunately, what I ended up with are neither. And as much as I have an amazing life that I love and am proud of, that still is a difficult thing to deal with and I’m struggling a bit.
I’ll get through it. I adore being an Auntie and have an amazing niece that is my world. I also love the fact that I can be a different type of Auntie because I don’t have my own children. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard though and it doesn’t mean that I can’t mourn the idea of what I wanted for myself but wasn’t able to have. It’s a hard thing to wrap my head around. But I’m trying.
In the meantime, I’m trying very hard not to avoid my tribe who love me…but are very much either pregnant, or engaged and experiencing all the things I wanted to but didn’t.