In a society focused on families and mothers with children, do I dare not have regrets that I never had one? Am I allowed to be childless and happy? The constant pressure of family planning, and trying to no avail, wasn’t part of my experience.
Growing up the youngest daughter of three, I was never expected to have babies. I was born with congenital hip dysplasia and was told by my maternal grandmother that I wouldn’t have children. Everyone in my family decided I was going to be childless without any investigation or knowledge to the contrary. I resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t have any and that was that. For a time.
After high school and college, my friends began having children. My sister had three, and eventually my second sister had one. I love my nieces and nephew wholeheartedly and shower them with adoration and love. I am the only one in my family that is childless and there is always the statement that “well, she has health problems.” Like I have to have a reason that I’m not a mother. Women are taught from an early age that motherhood is the goal; that you don’t have a family unless you have children. I always felt “less than” when it came to that area.
As the years went on I did have two pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. I was devastated, but relieved at the same time. Was it okay to be happy that I wasn’t a mother? I felt guilty on top of grieving the loss. The guilt was all consuming for a while. It wasn’t in my grand plan. The family and friends supported me through it and I can honestly say I feel I will meet the babies I couldn’t carry to term again one day.
Not having any regrets that I am a childless woman in her forties has been looked at as selfish, strange, or sad. I do not feel any of that. I am grateful of my time that I can now focus on my husband. I’m a newlywed at 47. Married for the first time. I guess I’m a late bloomer who doesn’t follow the norm. I never have because I had the freedom to do so, partially because I never gave birth. I wasn’t going to get married either, but the right man accepted me completely and love took over. He has birth children and I can love them as my own. Grandchildren too. I don’t have to feel ashamed that my inability to have a child occurred, or that I am a happy childless woman.