Friday, August 31, 2012

It's OK to not have children!

I've never had my own children.  And probably won't now that I am 39.  I married a man who had 3 children and when we started dating they were 4, 3 and almost 2.  At the time who could even think about having more kids.  I thought I can surely be a great mother figure in their lives, they had a mother I wasn't trying to replace her but she could share, right?  NOT!  Little did I know that after I married my husband the relationship would change drastically with the ex.

We dated/lived together for 4 years before our marriage and the time with his children was mostly wonderful.  I admit it was a lot for a 23 year old to take on, of course back then I had a lot of dreams and thought anything was possible.  There were struggles but the children were perfect as children should be.  Young and wonderfully inocent. 

But after our marriage the tone changed. It became clearly evident that I would have little to nothing to do with being a mother figure to these children.  But I fought back and I fought hard.  I would be invovled in their lives even if I had to call all the time to find out about ball games and teachers nights.  I could not be called Mom, Mommy, or Mama, it was forbidden.  If it happened it was by accident, but I loved it just the same. We later found out the kids told on each other when they went home and they got in trouble if one them called me mom so we did not pursue it.  My husband was a wonderful supporter.  As hard as it was for him he saw my struggles as well, he was my night in shining armor.  We became "part time" parents.  How Awful!  I can't imagine anyone ever wishing they could be a "part time" parent.  That's what happens after divorce.  One of you has to be the "part time" parent.  It will be the hardest thing you ever do.

We saw the children almost every weekend, until they became teenagers and could drive themselves but then their lives became larger.  They started to stretch their wings and try out independence.  There were more places to go and things to do that were much more fun than visiting dear old dad and the step mom.  And all those fun things happened on the weekend.  But we expected that change.  We didn't like it but we knew it would come.

After a few years of marriage and I saw how the dynamics had changed and that I would definitely not be allowed to be the mother figure I had dreamed of I started dreaming of having my own child.  This was complicated by the fact that my husband had agreed to a Vasectomy right before he was served with divorce papers.  My yearning for a child couldn't have come at a worse time.  We were BROKE.  It was all we could do to pay child support and keep our on lights on.  There was no savings, my husband owned a business and it was hard to keep it open as well.  As we researched the cost of reversing a vasectomy the cost was astounding - anywhere from $7,000 - $15,000 and there is no guarantee it would work.  In fact the longer you had had a vasectomy the lesser your chances of a successful reversal.  At this time it had been 10 years.  The stats were not good on reversals after 10 years.

The fear took over.  I let fear dictate not trying to get pregnant.  I let fear of "wasting" almost $15,000 make the decission for me.  I also feared that my child would go thru all the illnesses I had gone thru and was that fair to a child?  Sure the child could be 100% healthy and take after their dad or they could be like me - in and out of Dr's offices all your life.  My husband, ever the optomist, he was game for anything.  He wanted a houseful of children.  I just wanted one, one that I didn't have to share.  One that would love me, always.  Fear would eventually win out.  I never let my husband get the reversal and we never tried.

As the years have proceeded my baby clock would tick tremendously loud but then it would dimish into nothing.  Years later when money got a little better we researched adoption from Mexico.  Why not the U.S., I wanted a baby, getting a baby in the U.S. is almost impossible and I feared the possibility of a mother coming back years later and taking the child from me.  I had already gone thru a similar process with one of the step kids and it nearly killed me. That story is for another time, maybe.  Again I let fear take over and I did not proceed.

In the last few years I have not had the yearnings to have a child of my own.  #1 I realized that the main reason I wanted a child was to have someone who loved me unconditionaly, that is not true of a child all the time.  You see, they turn into teenagers, and then they become someone you don't even recognize anymore. But then they become beautiful adults and you get them back.  But I needed #2.    #2.  I needed to love myself, if I didn't love myself I surely didn't have any love to give away.  #3  my husband's and my parenting styles were not the same, this could've destroyed our relationship.  #4 I learned recently that my chances of ever carrying my own child (at least in the last 12- 15 years) were about zilch.

That last realization really cinched it up for me.  Learning that I was probably infertile made me feel better.  I know, weird right?  But the pressure was off.  I didn't have to decide to have a baby, I couldn't have a baby.  For me it was like God saying "Relax, this isn't what you are here for, there are other things for you to do".  Not having my own children would be OK.  I would survive.  People could look at me like I was a weirdo but I knew that I was in fact OK.  Oh I was mad for a few days maybe a few weeks but who could tell at the time, I had started early menopause and I was a raging mess.

So for those of you who have your own children, let me say this.  Cherish those sticky hugs and every time they call you Mom, Mommy or Mama.  Kiss them goodnight, every night.  Play with them as much as possible.  And love them, love them a lot.  For there are those of us out here who will never be called Mom, Mama, or Mommy.  We will never breastfeed (oh how i wanted to do that).  We will never know that real feeling of being an emptynester.  And when the kids have worn you down and you can't take it anymore, remember that there are those of us out here who wish we had had more time with our kids.

You are blessed - don't take it for granted.

But for me, someday I hope to a grandma (and not a "step" grandma).  Plus right now I have wonderful nieces and nephews.  I am opening my heart to the bigger picture and asking God to show me what he needs me to do.  I know now that I am exactly were I am supposed to be.  Childless and happy with that.

For those of you struggling with infertility I beg you to ask yourself this question and answer it honestly, "Why do you really want to be a parent?"  and "How will you and your spouse raise this child?".  Figure this out before the baby, because figuring it out after the baby comes can be a mess.

And please don't feel sorry for me, because I don't.  I have learned some very valuable lessons along the way.  I have traveled the path God intended me to travel.  I have struggled but I have survived.  I have finally gotten to the place where the good memories out weigh the bad.  And that my friends, is a blessing itself. 

Blessings to all of you.

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