Every time that I go to a high school reunion or bump into someone from my past adolescence one of the first questions that invariably pops up is, “Do you have any kids?”
Having passed the “Big 5-0” mark a couple of years ago with no progeny to show for my life journey, I do have to pause every now and again and ask myself just why I don’t have kids.
I’m as surprised as anyone that there were no children for me in my personal timeline. I embarked upon marriage many years ago with the initial anticipation of having 12-yes, you heard it right-12 kids. Widowhood first and then a subsequent divorce many years later derailed that dream.
On reflecting back, there really is no mystery. The barriers of entry to motherhood were of my own choosing.
Time deferred. When I married my first husband we decided to temporarily forego parenthood as we finished our education, pursued our careers, and got a little traveling under our belt. Unfortunately, when we did finally make the decision to get pregnant he passed away.
No spouse. For me, motherhood without a husband has never been an option. Your mileage may vary. So in the ensuing eight years in which I operated as a widow I invested any surviving instincts for motherhood into nieces, nephews, and godchildren.
Irreconcilable differences. When I married my second husband, as an older bride I knew that getting pregnant might present a challenge, but we were both looking forward to giving it a try anyway. Life though tends to create its own little plot twists, and the marriage didn’t survive long enough for a baby to spring to fruition.
Age. Again, at 50+ with no immediate marital prospects, I pretty much think that ship has sailed.
Not willing to invest in medical advances. Of course, with all of the advances in medical science, an advanced maternal age doesn’t necessarily have to be a hindrance. But I’m just not willing to put my body through all that it would have to go through to produce a baby in this season of life.
And, although I could be wrong, on a side note, I sincerely don’t think that any reputable adoption agency would be enthused about the idea of allowing me to adopt a baby at this age.
The reasons why I don’t have kids are multiple, but that doesn’t mean I don’t live a fulfilling life. As an auntie and a godmother I have more than enough objects of affection on which to dote and shower my love.