Last week I gave myself permission to cry for the children I'll never have.

Let me explain a bit: Obviously I didn't reproduce. It wasn't a Zero Population Growth decision, even though I sometimes say it was because that's an easy answer, one that curious friends and relatives can understand. Instead, it was more of a non-decision. Mostly, I just never wanted to, never felt the kind of overwhelming longing my friends talk about. In fact, I always thought children and babies were boring. My mom recently told me that I announced when I was in grade school that I was never going to be a mommy, a confession I don't remember making.

So why the tears? I was on a long car trip, staring out the window at the corn fields of Iowa, and I thought about what it would be like to have kids, and if I'd love the little buggers a lot, and if I'd love my husband even more than I do now because of what we created together. And I can't deny it: I got all choked up. I tried to repress the tears, because it's too late now and I'm tough. But then I thought: Why hold back? Why not mourn a little? What's the harm? It doesn't mean I made a mistake. It's like thinking about any path you might have taken in life but didn't: What if I'd never broken up with Billy? What if I didn't move? Would my life be better? More fulfilling?

Of course, once I gave myself permission, the tears didn't spill. The moment passed, I turned from the window, fiddled with the radio and thought about lunch.

But who knows? Now that I can, maybe one day I'll have that cry. For now, I'd like to say good-bye to my never-conceived offspring, a fond farewell to the phantom fruit of my loins.

And that reminds me of this hilarious song!

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5 Response to Crybaby

August 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM

One, unless you've had your tubes tied or a hysterectomy it is NOT too late. Lots of women have midlife babies, Hell I was 32 when I had my first, although that is young compared to some women. But I do hear ya. Sometimes we just put it off until it just comes a time when you think you simply don't want to spoil the place that you're in (in later life.) You don't want to mess with the mojo. My 17 yr old daughter says she's never having children, and I believe her. That's the good thing about living in this day and age; you have a CHOICE.

If you ever think about missing having kids, please borrow mine. They're teens so it's easier, but I guarantee they'll make you think twice, LOL!

August 16, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Is that Sparky! Awesome!

August 16, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Sans--no, it's not Sparky. But I can see the resemblance!

August 20, 2011 at 10:25 AM

I think the statements we make as kids are often a mirror to our true selves and it's good to honor that. When I was around the same age, I announced very matter-of-factly that I would have (or adopt) children no matter what, even if I didn't have a husband (life partner not being in my vocabulary back then). My feminist mother loves to tell this story. But there is a reason why when you are taking the Myers Briggs personality test and you are torn between answers, the test tells you to answer how your childhood self would have answered. There's a lot of wisdom in that.

December 6, 2011 at 6:27 AM

I adopted two children when I was in my late 30's. I had no plans to have children, but they arrived and I fell in love with them and wanted them to be part of my family.

Funny things happen!

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