Child Free

As far back as I can remember, we have always been fed the same philosophy about life.  You grow up, go to college, meet the man (or woman) of your dreams, get married, move into a big house with a white picket fence, and have a whole gaggle of kids.  That’s what our parents did….or tried to do, so now it’s our turn.  What happens if life doesn’t go that way for you?  Have you failed at life?  In 2014, shouldn’t we have advanced in our thinking, so that the moment 2 people get married, we don’t instantly say, “So?  When are you having kids?”  I was lucky enough that my parents never said that to me, but I was honest from a very young age.  I knew in my teens that I did not want to have children, but I was still told, “Oh, it’s different when they are your own”.  Sure, it’s different.  Just not for me. 

The first time I ever went to a gynecologist in my teens, he told me that he suspected that I suffered from Endometriosis, and at that time you were told due to that you could not have kids.  Later, this same doctor also told me that I was showing signs of cervical cancer.  Well, here I am 20 years later, and I still don’t have cancer, but I also don’t have children.  His diagnosis of Endometriosis was never validated, although it would explain a lot.  I went on believing that it was the reason I went through such a horrible time every month. 

Once I turned 19 and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I felt as if I had finally been validated.  I made the right choice in not dreaming of a house filled with kids.  I could hardly take care of myself, who would ever think that I should attempt to care for a child?  Now, the big question came in…..would there ever be a guy who wanted to marry the “crazy, psycho chick who also couldn’t have kids”?

Let me be clear.  I do not have documented medical evidence that my body cannot create a child.  That possibility exists, so I am vigilant about making sure it doesn’t happen.  Mentally am I capable of creating a child?  A thousand times no.  Above all else, I would have to go off of my medications, and history has proven to me that doing that is a huge mistake that causes me and everyone around me a great deal of pain.  Suppose the day comes that I have a psychotic episode, and here I am home alone with a baby?  Or even a panic attack……or just overwhelming sadness?  Is it fair to subject a child to that?  I think not.  Is it fair to subject myself to that?  Again, I think not.  

After a long and painful journey through many failed relationships, I finally found the guy who loved the “crazy, psycho chick who also couldn’t have kids”.  I have been grateful every day since I met him, because it takes a strong man to hold your hand when all you want to do is die.  That is not an exaggeration, that is the truth.  I know that he would have made an amazing father, and I do carry a sense of guilt for not being able to give that to him.  He makes sure to tell me consistently that it wasn’t only my decision, that he didn’t feel that he wanted children either, so I didn’t need to harbor that guilt. 

Once I established that being child free was my only option, once again came the peanut gallery.  Well, can’t you adopt?  No. I can’t.  What adoption agency is going to hand over a baby to a woman with 4 psychiatric hospitalizations?  But, you can’t really go about just telling anyone and everyone that little tidbit.  So, I keep my fingers crossed that now that I have hit age 40, that the questions will stop.  Most people that know me well know that while I don’t hate children per se, I am also not especially comfortable around them.  There have been a few kids in my life that I have really enjoyed being around, but enjoyed it even more when our visit ended.  Not necessarily due to the kid(s), but due to the level of anxiety I feel when they are around. 

So, while at a very early age, I suspected that children would not be in my future, it took a major diagnosis to make it “OK” to say I couldn’t have them.  Which, in my opinion is a sad commentary on our times.  Should you be of sound mind and body and simply decide that children are not your cup of tea, I feel as if you have just as much right to that option as people who want 5 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cars, and a summer home. 

It’s OK to decide that you don’t want to have children, should you suffer from depression or not.  If more people made that wise decision, perhaps we wouldn’t have as many screwed up kids.  That’s just my opinion……but yes, I am sticking to it. 

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