Friday, September 01, 2006
In yesterday's post, I mentioned that I went out with a bunch of women last night. We had a lot in common, but there was one thing that distinguished me from the rest: I was the only one out of six women who does not have children. One of the first things they all did was to break out the baby pictures or pictures of their kids (one lady had three). As the pictures were being passed around, at some point they all noticed that I was not taking out any pictures. But nobody commented on it.
At some point these mothers were complaining about how tough their lives are. One was saying that she did not intend on becoming pregnant so quickly. One had a third child who was an "accident" and she had considered abortion. In the end she had decided to have the baby. At this point I finally couldn't take it anymore and told them that if being a mother is so bad, try not being a mother. Try not being able to get pregnant. Try crying every time you get your period for years and years. Try injecting your tummy with a needle every day. Try having women with kids look at you with pity. Obviously I don't know what it's like to be a mother, but they also don't know how I feel.
OK, so the converstation changed "slightly" around this time. Towards the end of the evening, one lady said that I was the only woman she had met who is (or has been so far...) unable to have kids but who is not bitter. That's true I suppose. I just find that bitterness serves no purpose. I prefer constructive feelings - and yes, we do choose our feelings! If you don't believe that, take an NLP course. In NLP, we learn to "change state" in an instant from happy to sad or vice versa. It's actually very easy.
I sometimes also wonder if not having any kids is so terrible. It does have its advantages too. I just fill my life with other things - writing this blog for one thing. And I read a lot. And get to do what I want. I eat out a lot. Us childless couples have a lot of peace and quiet - except when we throw parties. We get to choose our noise level.
Women without children are sometimes (often?) portrayed as being selfish. Perhaps some are. I find that since I have a lot of time on my hands to just sit and think, I spend a lot of time thinking about values - so I really am thinking about the whole world and its future and well-being and not just about myself. Although I do find that I think about myself and things related to myself way too much - it really bores me. I'm bored with myself. That's why I love spending time with other people. And why I love to read. They're both activities that allow me to get new, fresh ideas.
Recently, I've also discovered audiobooks. They're great! I can jog and "read" a book at the same time. Or drive a car and read a book. Not a new thing of course, but new for me. I'm such a book lover that I resisted the idea for a long time. But I'm converted now. I still read books as well, but I get to read more by also listening to audiobooks whenever I can. I listen to at least one CD per day. I listen to the same CDs over and over again - repetition is the mother of learning.
But back to the baby discussion. The mothers mentioned last night that becoming a mother changes you forever. I'm sure it does, although of course I can't know how it feels. But mothers also have no idea how a woman who is unable to have children feels. But if motherhood makes you grow, then maybe being childless also makes you grow. I feel that for years I've mourned the children that I did not have. It's a different growth process - and one that women with children know nothing about.
It's not necessarily too late for me to have children, but I do find that if I'm to be a happy person, I can't make having children or trying to have children central to my life. I have to just live my life.
The mothers also said that children are a gift. I suppose so. So why is it that some of us are not given that gift? Or is it so that life itself is a gift? We just all have different lives and we all give back in different ways and to different people. Maybe I give more to my friends because I have more time to spend with them than women with kids do. Maybe I give more at work.
The biggest lesson for me has been this: we cannot always choose what happens in our lives. We can't control everything. Sometimes we just have to work with what we're given.