Are We Just Kidding Ourselves? Pun Intended.
The life of not having children is something we had never contemplated before our first miscarriage. Naïvely, like the vast majority of people, we just always assumed we would have a couple of kids. It turns out, chances are pretty good that we may not.
We now catch ourselves, saying when we have kids, and then we start over and rephrase our sentences to if we have kids. And, sometimes we now even default to if not when.
My husband and I often talk about the merits of not having kids. Things like:
We can travel the world.
We can buy a 100 year old house, remodel it and turn it into our home.
We likely won’t worry about finances because we won’t be supporting children.
We have enjoy expensive meals on Wednesday nights, and Friday nights, and even Monday nights too.
We will not have to plan ahead.
We can afford the Eames Chair I dream about.
We will not have to schedule vacations to match the school calendar.
Focus on ourselves and our career advancement.
Buy our dream cabin in the mountains.
Sleep through the night. And Sleep in on the weekends.
Drink too much and not need to worry about child care.
No babysitter and daycare costs.
Worry about a child constantly for the rest of our lives.
No more family cars, bring on the fun sports cars.
Live more adventurously because you are less worried about the consequences when you have no-one else to worry about
Spoil the kids you do know – nieces, nephews, friends, etc. and then send them back home.
Increase investment in ourselves through continued education.
So, even though we are very much invested in our next attempt at pregnancy (both financially and emotional at this point), we find that we keep talking about the merits of not having kids. Why?
I think it’s purely to help ourselves accept that our reality may not include kids.
I think, it is one thing to choose not to have children because you knew it was the right decision for you. While the end outcome is very similar, it is a completely different thing to choose a life without children because you are unable to have them. So, as two people desperately wanting kids, we find ourselves frequently painting ourselves a pretty little picture of what life will be like without kids. A life we never planned, but a life that we may end up with.
We both know that if our life does not include children of our own we will not let the outcome of failing at procreation destine us to a life of self-pity and sorrow. Surely, there will always be a small part of us, wishing for the kid(s) we were unable to attain. But, I firmly believe in the long run, so long as we have no regrets about putting our best effort forth, it will just be a small part, and the pain will ease with time. We both know, and are absolutely certain that we will enjoy our lives, and make the most out of them, with or without children. We are not two people who sit around and sulk, and mope around after a bad day. We will face what life hands us, and make the most out of it.
But honestly, I cannot help but question, are we just kidding ourselves with our typical line of thinking? Can our defiant attitude, of we will have a great life in the face of disappointment, actually work in this circumstance? And, heck, is there even any point of trying to brace ourselves for this potential final outcome, will it even help lessen the reality of the disappointment? Are we just spending time trying to convince ourselves that we will enjoy our lives without kids just as much as we would a life with kids? If we don’t have kids will we spend the rest of our lives doing fun things (i.e. everything on the list above) just to prove that we can? Or, will we actually end up loving our childfree life? And, how will we know the difference between genuinely loving life without kids versus forcing ourselves to enjoy life? And, does it even matter if we know the difference?
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