Reposted from another blog. Original post date 10th April 2012
So I've been planning on writing this one for a couple of years now. It is so not going to live up to the expectation, I promise you. I've been putting it off because I want to do it justice, because it's probably going to upset someone and because it's a really hard one to write. So I apologise in advance for the rambling manner of this one. I'd like to make it structured but if I put it off for any longer it's just not going to get written.
Ok let's start. I am 30 years old and childless, at least as far as most folks are concerned. I have my beautiful stepdaughter who, to me, is my daughter. But in reality she is mine by accident not by birth. It doesn't make the relationship any less real or mean any less but it is a fact. I am not her mother. I did not carry her for 9 months. Nor will I carry any child. Not because I can't, as far as I know, but because I made a choice. When I met my fiancee he told me very early on in the relationship that he had a daughter and did not want any more children. In fact he had already had a vasectomy. So if children were a plan for my future then this was probably not the relationship for me. Wow. Heck of a thing to deal with at 24 years old and 1 week into a possible something. But I thought about it and decided that I was already falling in love with this man and should give it a go. Well it worked out as you can tell and we get married this year.
It was amazing how many people told me at the beginning that I could change his mind on the children thing. Drove me up the wall I can tell you. Firstly what on earth made them think I could? He was pretty young to make that decision and clearly had good reason to plus he had told me plenty in advance where things stood. Secondly what made them think I should?
Because it is every woman's right to have children. Or that is the perception. This is why women too old to conceive naturally are given access to IVF. This is why anyone who would not be able to, or would at least struggle to conceive naturally is given access to IVF. Now this is not going to turn into a rant against IVF. My personal stance is against it, I will admit. I do feel the planet is over populated, we don't look after the people we have got well enough and almost every ecological and financial problem on the planet could be fixed by less people. I would rather see an increase in adoptions and fostering.
No this is not that rant. This is a discussion of my feelings about my lack of childbearing. Do I think I made the right decision? Totally. I could leave him tomorrow, meet someone else and even be lucky enough to fall in love as much again. But there are no guarantees of children. So why would I risk it? Do I regret the fact that I am not going to have a child of my own? Sometimes. More recently than ever, I guess that is the clock talking. I guess that is why I am finally writing this.
If I take a step back and am rational about it I'm not sure I'd be a good parent. I'm not the most patient woman on earth. I'm quite self involved. But the fact that no one is ever going to call me mother or mum or momma does bother me. I'm never going to get to pick out clothes or sit at a parents evening. I'm never going to be the one called for when they have a nightmare or a skinned knee. So yeah, for all my talk of loving borrowing other people's children because you can give them back when they leak I am going to miss not having this experience.
And it is the experience that is key to these feelings. To take a Pratchett moment I get to be Magrat and Granny Wetherwax but not Nanny Ogg. I am missing a key part of the experience of being a woman. Or am I? Who is to say that nature ever intended me to be a mother? I could be sat here writing this because I am unable to bear children not because I have chosen not to.
So most days I am content with my lot. I have a gorgeous stepdaughter who loves me unconditionally. This year I got a mother's day card that actually said mother's day, not stepmother's day. It made me smile all day. I am going to get to watch her grow up, help shape the person she becomes. I am positive that all the experiences she will gift me with are worth the lack of stretch marks and the sleepless nights and nappies that I have missed.
Honestly, I am probably gonna go cry for a bit after writing this and I'm sure I will cry over this again. But you know what? That's ok. It is not a crime to feel some regret. As long as you focus on the joy.
Thanks for listening!