I had to do it for myself.
I waited a long time for others … the other (and only) children I would ever have. I had none. They never came. Those hypothesized children never materialized. I held onto my uterus for my husband, my father, my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, my sister-in-law, my brother-in-law, my nephew and even some other people not mentioned here.
I held onto the pain each month. Each month my uterus rocked my world and gave me pain … my steady reminder of no child and no reprieve from physical pain. I kept thinking I could always make it just one more month, just in case.
Some of the aforementioned took the news, or the no news of children better than others … not all of them openly know I’ve had my hysterectomy and one is too young to understand. I didn’t tell one because I feel he wouldn’t care … it would be as though I told him I went to the grocery store or something else as forgetful and mundane. I didn’t tell two of them because I didn’t want to openly crush their hope I would give them another grandchild. Fortunately, my husband was the understanding and supportive person I needed when I finally made the decision to have my hysterectomy.
I’m sorry I couldn’t give a child to those who wanted one for me for whatever reason they wanted it for themselves and thinking it was what needed to happen in my life. I’m sorry I couldn’t be like everyone else and simply want and make a child. I’m sorry I couldn’t make everyone happy. I’m sorry that everyone thinks I cannot be happy and fulfilled without children.
If you look across human populations of all varieties, in every culture and on every continent (even among the most enthusiastic breeders in history, like the nineteenth-century Irish, or the contemporary Amish), you will find that there is a constant 10 percent of women within any population who never have children at all.
The percentage never gets any lower than that, in any population whatsoever. In fact, the percentage of women who never reproduce in most societies is usually much higher than 10 percent- and that’s not just today, in the developed Western world, where childless rates among women tend to hover around 50 percent.
Maybe it’s not only legitimate for certain women to never reproduce, it’s necessary. It’s as though, as as a species, we need an abundance of responsible, compassionate, childless women to support the wider community in various ways. Childbearing and child rearing consume so much energy that the women who do become mothers quickly become swallowed up by that daunting task- if not outright killed by it.
Having a child simply wasn’t in the picture for me.
I agree with Elizabeth Gilbert that one should be called to having a child, one should want a child with a strong will of their soul … I’ve never had that feeling except for a brief time I grieved the loss of my only pregnancy. I was in grieving and healing mode when I so wanted to be pregnant again. I’ve had tough (mental) conversations with myself why I haven’t had this desire like “all other” women. Luckily, I’ve come across other women who’ve not had the strong desire to bear children and are at peace with the decision … their words, if only experienced by my reading, have helped tremendously.
One such woman’s words that are healing and helpful in the arena of childlessness: Gloria Bowan on being childess, childfree and true to our natures.
I had to get the uterus out of my body for my own peace, my own comfort, my own quality of life. No healthy child ever grew from that space … and that’s OK because that is what was and is and will be.
… I love cats and don’t consider myself a crazy cat lady. Not yet … but there’s always hope!