I have to count myself as fortunate that most people who know my husband and I have stopped asking why we don’t have kids. Now that we’re in our 40s, and we still don’t have them, I think most either presume that we just don’t want them or they know the painful truth – that I have had four miscarriages. It took a long time to conceive, and they just did not last.
For each pregnancy, we were equally hopeful, equally terrified, and then equally devastated. In a society where amazing medical breakthroughs happen all the time, we are left with what minimal insurance we can afford through the Affordable Care Act. And even when we had decent insurance, the kinds of things that would help us conceive -and stay pregnant- are financially beyond our reach.
Now that I am in my 40s, other complications add themselves to the mix. How can a person who was a high risk pregnancy in her 20s and 30s pull off such a miracle over the age of 40? After the last one a few years ago I firmly decided I never wanted to go through that again. Since then, I have waffled back and forth on a monthly, weekly, sometimes even daily basis. I think about my younger self, raised in a society where little girls grew up, got married, and had babies. That part of me thinks of myself as an abject failure. The core sense of being a woman, of how I was supposed to be someone’s mom, is broken.
I spend a lot of time telling myself that now that we’ve been married 20+ years, living the “no kids lifestyle” for so, so long, that there is no way we could possibly even adjust to being parents now. Then I waffle back and think well, we adjust to my husband’s changing jobs and going back to college. We adjust to my own rather regular changes in career and life directions. We are not yet so old and set in our ways that adjusting to being parents would be impossible.
Then, I waffled back to, yeah, but holy crap each failure sucks so much, and I really, really don’t want to go through that again. Then I waffled back to yeah, but what if… What if I really am meant to be someone’s mom? What if this next time IS the right time? What if by waffling in the wrong direction, we are missing out on that important little person in our life? Then, I waffle back to, well, we don’t have very good insurance. How could we even financially afford the medical expenses that could likely result from the trying to make this one last effort stick?
Maybe we could adopt. This is something we’ve considered. But again, the financial uncertainty scares me. Other random fears like adopting a child with physical or mental/emotional troubles terrifies me. At the same time I realize that even a child of my own could have the same troubles, so that’s not really all that much of an excuse. Then, there is the decision of trying to adopt a baby, or adopting an older child, and all those different implications.
What is the answer? I don’t know yet. I suppose the clock really is ticking at this point and decisions should be made. I should, of course, better educate myself on some of my options. But naturally, we often find ourselves “too busy” for those things which are the really difficult, even painful, decisions.
Why do I even feel compelled to share this story with the unknown (and known) public? Many reasons, I suppose. First of all, I am fairly certain I not the first woman in history, or possibly even the only woman I know, going through this situation. I want to help others maybe feel less alone and dysfunctional, while helping myself feel less alone and dysfunctional in the process.
I was also intuitively compelled to share it. I’m not even entirely sure where it came from. Maybe one of those countless posts that go by on Facebook about the bond between a parent and child, or “share if you have awesome kids”. Maybe I’m not the only one sometimes tempted to share them because I think my fur kids are pretty awesome.
Maybe someone else needed to read it and think twice before asking their friend or family member or coworker, for the countless number of times, why they don’t have kids yet.
Maybe someone else needs to see that a spiritual person working on walking a spiritual, awakened path does not always have their shit together as well as you might imagine.
Maybe it’s to help those naysayers who dispute continued efforts to improve and expand our healthcare system that it’s not just lazy, dysfunctional sponges that need help and access to better health and reproductive care, but every day, average, hard-working, loving human beings that could use a little more help preventing the massive financial burdens caused by health care expenses of every flavor.
Maybe it’s every one of these things, and more, that someone out there needs to hear. Meanwhile, I will go back to working on getting my shit together, while hopefully giving you a little more insight on your own… (:
Love & Light