As a woman in her mid-30s without children, I am often feel low when asked about my decision to not have children. Having your own kids will fill a gap in your life you never realised you were missing, or so I’ve heard.
The subject comes up often. Often enough, in fact, that I have a script ready.
There are four specific reasons I don’t have kids.
- My husband had a vasectomy 19 years ago. He is unable to get it reversed, as his body is one of the rare cases of getting 99.9% antisperm antibodies from the vasectomy. In layman’s terms, he has no sperm and will never be able to produce any.
- I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and after multiple tests, the doctors told me I will never have kids naturally. IVF is the only option for me. To me, this is God’s (the universe’s – if that’s how you believe) way of saying “You shouldn’t be a mother.”
- I refuse to do IVF with a sperm donor. It’s either my husband or not, and he has no sperm so decision made for me.
- Adoption is not an option, as my husband is over 45, and Australia will not allow a first adoption past that age.
After that point, if the questions continue, I finish it with a “I don’t want kids.” Which the asker knows is a lie because: list. By then, though, the subject is finally dropped, and I feel just that little bit less whole.
So the real question lies: Why do I have a laundry list of reasons in the first place? Because I haven’t found an answer that stops the conversation in its tracks.
I haven’t fulfilled a duty to the world. My not having kids is a foreign concept to them. They just want to understand why, and I become the easiest person to answer their questions, since I’m standing there in front of them. A part of me thinks that they also just think I’m making excuses.
It’s not their fault. They want everyone to know the feeling of completeness they feel. But sometimes, I just wish I could say just one of these reasons and it would be enough to sate their curiosity.
They don’t realise that I cried on and off for hours after I found out I couldn’t have children naturally because of those stupid little cysts. Or that I cried when I realised that when I reached my forties, I will be facing a decision to remove the ovaries altogether. Or the cries I had when we found out that my husband would not be able to ever father a child again and the option of IVF flew out the window.
But don’t feel sorry for me. Kids are expensive and time-consuming. Now that I know I can’t have them, I’m able to just focus on me as selfish as it sounds. I can write and game and vacation whenever I feel like. I can crochet and cook dinner or not cook dinner. I can workout and watch mature programming any time of the day. And most of all, I can spend time with my husband every day.
His kids are grown now. We’ve had our years of football practice and games, of dance classes and recitals. We’ve forked over tons to uniforms and costumes, dance and football shoes, and bowling balls when the boy stopped enjoying football.
I’m a stepmum and a mum to three fur babies, and I’m generally content to leave it at that.
My life is rich, even without children of my own.