I recently watched a TV programme where a woman’s child had been murdered and she said the words “What is the point of me now?” Her meaning was clear – her role as a mother had come to an end, in the living world anyway, and she no longer felt she had any purpose in life.
I can admit that I have often also felt this way since the beginning of our infertility journey. That is not to say that my life suddenly became unfulfilled, but how would I feel possibly carrying on through the rest of my life knowing I might never be a mother. For many people who have been beaten by infertility, the answer is simple; you have to. There is no other choice than to continue on with your life, perhaps not how you thought it would be, but still a life all the same. And of course, if Dave and I end up exhausting all options available to us and are still unable to become parents, then we too will go on. However, I am scared of how it might make me feel, and I’m terrified it might taint the rest of my life in some way.
I can’t speak for every woman, but for me, the want to become a mother is not the same as the want you have when you want a new car or a new bag. It’s deep inside you, almost part of your very being; it’s buried in the crevices of your heart and soul and nothing you can do will ever rid your body of it. It clings to you and never quiets; every day it is there in the beat of your heart, in your head, in your voice, in your dreams, always there. Some days I feel that this want will see us through; it must be this strong for a reason; it wants us to succeed. And other days I want it to shut up, go away and leave my body. Leave us to accept our fate and carry on with our lives, not as parents, but happy all the same. But still it chimes on.
On the other side of the coin I’ve been thinking a lot lately about women who don’t want to be mothers. A girl I follow on Instagram recently got annoyed because a few of her followers kept asking her when she and her husband were going to have kids. Now she has never hidden the fact that they don’t want children. They have a really lovely life the way it is, and although they love their nephews and nieces, they have never felt the need to have any children of their own. They have 2 very successful businesses, several holidays a year, eat out 2 or 3 nights a week and have a house that could feature in any interior design magazine. Why would they want kids to change all that for them? I for one completely respect this and never thought anymore about it, however some of her followers couldn’t quite accept their matter-of-fact approach to it and kept persisting for a reason as to why they’ve made this decision. Am I the only person who thinks this is incredibly rude? And in this day and age, is it really so shocking that some people have made this decision? As much as I cringe when strangers ask me when I’m having a baby, she must also cringe every time she gets ask the same question. I’ve seen the face people make when you tell them you can’t have children; some people want to know every little detail but a lot don’t want to know anything about it, it’s like somehow you’re not normal, and you don’t fit into the age-old vision of what a woman should be. This is also true for this girl who has chosen not to have children. Funnily enough however, whenever someone now asks her why she doesn’t want kids, she in turn asks them why they DO want kids?!?
In truth there are many days when I wish we were like this couple; I wish we didn’t want children. That would make our infertility so much easier to deal with. We could accept it and continue with our life, which apart from the absence of children is pretty idyllic. We really want for nothing and for that we are so grateful.
But alas, that feeling is not one we hold and one I doubt we will ever feel. There may come a day when we’re forced to make our peace with this curse that has been pressed upon us, but I fear I will always have that regret and feeling of unfulfillment, and how I will learn to live with that, I really have no idea.