This is a beautiful and honest piece of writing from a wonderful reader who would prefer to stay anonymous today. She was worried about ‘upsetting’ people, but I can’t imagine that something as well thought through and from the heart as this post could upset anyone.
It’s posts like this that make me proud to be a part of AOW, proud to be able to share this with you, proud to know this woman and call her my friend…
Recently I’ve begun to feel like an outsider. More so than I’ve ever experienced before. On AOW & twitter and in the non online world the babies are announced by the week, if not by the day. Increasingly I’m surrounded by conversations to which I cannot contribute.
I wonder why I don’t want the same things as them.
I’ve cried many tears of joy at other people’s announcements. I could not be more thrilled for each and every person and the excitement and happiness they are filled with.
I wonder if I’m missing a gene.
I joke about being an outsider. Of being drunk in a corner like Patsy from Ab Fab, being climbed all over by swarms of children while everyone around me chats weaning and schools. I prefer this image to one where I’m joining in those conversations.
I wonder if there’s something wrong with me.
I always assumed that one day I would have a family. My gynaecologist told me at 25 that if I wanted children I should do it immediately. I chose not to. I decided that never was better than now. I became incensed that anyone should have the right to so casually tell me to make that kind of decision.
I wonder if I’m selfish.
I’ve thought about this condition. The fact it had been inherited. The fact that if I had a daughter she’d probably be faced with the same problem, the same pain, the same decision. I’ve thought about the world and how difficult a place I sometimes find it. The decision to bring a life into that feels like a choice that should not be mine to make.
I wonder if I’ll regret it.
When I see people I love struggling with infertility my heart reaches out to them and I want them to have this thing they so desperately want, but I can’t empathise with their sense of loss or grief as it’s not something I’ve ever felt. I know I’m lucky.
I wonder if I’m a sociopath.
The thing about saying you don’t want to have children is that other people always tell you you’re wrong, that you’re missing out, that you’ll change your mind. That conversation would never happen the other way around.
I wonder if they’re right.
I’ve never said never. I’ve always said that one day I might change my mind. That day hasn’t yet come.
I wonder if it is already too late.
The idea that it might be still doesn’t affect me. I don’t mourn what isn’t, what might never be. I don’t feel as though there is anything missing from my life as it is.
I wonder if that’s strange.
I can’t count the times I’ve been asked about when I will have children or had it alluded to at work, in interviews, over countless dinner tables. I can tell people don’t believe me. People tell my husband (who shares my views) that I’m lying to him, that he should watch out, that ‘all women secretly want kids, even if they say they don’t.’ I know what our families expect of us, of me. We’ve told them to be satisfied by a dog.
I wonder if one day I’ll be left behind.
I have strength in my convictions but it’s not always easy to go against the grain, to feel like the world wants different things from you, to feel like a disappointment, like an outsider.
I wonder if it matters.