Spoiler alert: I don’t have kids. Nope. None. Zero. No curtain climbers or ankle biters around here. Wait a minute … I have cats and they qualify for those two things.
This wasn’t exactly the way I had pictured things would go. I kinda sorta thought I might have kids one day but it didn’t work out like that. Let’s go explore some ancient history: mine. I blame, yes, blame it’s a strong word … I blame my mother for me not having any kids … I also credit her for me not being a pregnant teen — it goes both ways.
When I was little, like grade school little, I played with Barbie dolls. Who didn’t back in the 70s? Even the 13-year-old figure skater Billy who stayed at our house played with or at least envied my barbies. I remember when I got the Hawaiian barbie and he cried when he didn’t get one too. I was 6 or 7 … he was 13. I think my parents got him a GI Joe or something and that may have fostered his fondness for guys … but who knows and that’s another story for another blog another day.
So … I had lots of barbies, but NO Ken dolls. 😦 I guess my mom didn’t want my barbies interacting with any males — not like the anatomy is correct on either sex. I also had only one baby doll that I never played with … she was big and bulky and the caring of her included bottle feeds (boring), diaper changes (boring and gross), changing her outfits (a struggle) and rocking her (boring again). I much preferred the dramatic interaction with the barbies … all the mini soap-operas in the making … and of course, the wardrobe changes! In addition, I had a Barbie Corvette — probably a big reason why I still love driving today … sans Corvette though.
My mom constantly harped on me growing up to “never let a boy touch you.” I think she should have been a lot more explicit because I didn’t really know exactly what she meant. My “sex talk” with mom was more of a “drop off and disappear”. At around age thirteen, after my period started, my Mom left some sort of brown booklet on my dresser about the female anatomy, reproductive changes, birth control methods and sex. Thank goodness I was literate! My mom was never big on teaching … so books (and now the internet) have been my go to.
By the age of seventeen I experienced my first love — Pablo. My mom decided I needed a trip to the doctor’s office. Dr. B. prescribed birth control pills and I was off and running … or at least not getting pregnant. I was so paranoid of becoming pregnant that I took my pill faithfully at the same time every morning; After “the deed” I washed up my personal area and did at least 200 sit-ups … those were the days … and this was after having inserted a spermicide before sex and occasionally having Pablo wear a condom … and we also practiced withdrawal on top of all this! Let me just say I never got pregnant. I was scared to get pregnant thinking my life would be over and that I would have had to commit suicide due to the shame. Yes, that’s a sad thought no doubt. The teenage mind works in mysterious and incomplete ways.
Flash forward to my twenties … I was still using birth control, but Pablo and I had long parted. He returned to Mexico to pursue a career in medicine and I went on to join the Navy, survive bad relationships and figure out what I wanted to major in. By twenty-two I met a very attractive nice guy who I ended up marrying — not in the wedding-gown ceremony type way, but in the common-law-justice-of-the-peace-sign-a-paper-here-and-there way — NOT romantic at all. I’ll call him “MJ”.
I finished nursing school and for four years I helped put MJ through dental school. Oh, poor me, let me go get a Mai Tai to lament over the past … kidding! One year after MJ’s graduation I was thirty-two and he was thirty-one. I thought it was about time for us to start having children … we had both talked about wanting them. MJ told me point blank that I’d have to raise them 90 to 95%. He was serious. I was dumbfounded and devastated. I decided this was not the relationship for me. So, I did a pro se divorce and left … actually I left and then did the pro se divorce. He got one cat (the mean one) and I got the other (the one he didn’t like).
Welcome to the 30s … a series of heartbreaking, go nowhere relationships, online dating and no real prospects for marriage. It wasn’t until my late 30s that I met and married — in a REAL wedding ceremony — an even better, more mature, creative and interesting man than husband #1 … and perhaps in seven years of waiting I had become both more mature and interesting myself.
Before we got married we discussed the prospect of children, the realism of potentially not having any and the possibility of having a baby with chromosomal problems due to my age. Neither one of us were up for adoption and I wasn’t up for infertility treatments if we ever got to that point. At age forty-three I became pregnant after years of unexplained infertility; we were never fully comfortable with the pregnancy due to my age. My Ob was concerned about miscarriage due to my advanced maternal age. And as it turned out the pregnancy had a poor prenatal diagnosis so we made the heartbreaking decision to terminate at twelve weeks. In my ignorance, I didn’t realize that although I was very healthy and didn’t look my chronological age, my eggs told a very different story. After that I never got pregnant again … and by the age of forty-five hysterectomy looked good … not only had I been physically ready for years but now I was finally emotionally ready for this life-altering surgery.
That is the story of a woman who never had kids … who has gone on to be the woman who is childfree and recently pain free as well — free of pain from the dysmenorrhea not the lack of children.
It’s interesting what others think of your life when you don’t have children.