This is a hard one to write about. I feel like because I’m single, I don’t have the right to grieve the fact that I don’t have children… That stage seems to be reserved for infertile couples who have to continually put a brave face on when people cheekily ask ‘so when are you going to have kids?!’
A single person grieving not having kids is so far removed from society’s eyes that people hardly ever ask me ‘so, when are you going to have kids?!’, because I haven’t even yet mastered the stage of going on a date. But nonetheless, here I am, feeling hopeless about my chances of having children because, yes, I currently don’t have a boyfriend, which is the necessary stage that possibly leads to marriage, which leads to the very act which may create the baby. (See, that’s even a long sentence to write… let alone to go through those stages in life!)
I am soon approaching that age where the quality of my eggs begin to diminish. So yes, I totally acknowledge that there is still time. And, yes, I also acknowledge that anyone reading this who is going through fertility problems with their husband/partner will think I’m being silly, and that I don’t understand. But that’s what I want to bring up… I feel like I’m going through a kind of circumstantial infertility. I would love to have kids, but it’s not happening. No matter how ‘relaxed’ I am, or how much I ‘don’t think about it cause that’s when it will happen’… I don’t fall pregnant.
All forms of infertility are crappy, and by no means am I trying to diminish one or the other… Just highlighting that infertility comes in many forms and can look like many different things. And whatever form it may be taking, it’s ok to acknowledge that it is a dream you had for your life that is not yet realised…and possibly won’t be.
Just because someone is single, it doesn’t mean that they don’t want kids as much as a married woman might. But for a single woman, having children can seem so far out of reach when there isn’t even the possibility of going on a date, and you have already been rejected by several men. It can sometimes be really hard for me to be around babies and situations where babies are being talked about… because I don’t feel like I have the right to discuss my ‘circumstantial infertility’, or I don’t have the right to feel sad about the children I didn’t have in my energetic 20s… because there are women who are going through IVF or have been actually trying to conceive for decades. People rarely understand that I have a deep desire to be a mother.
And even though I’m single, I can still empathise with the married woman who is the only one of her friends who is not a mother. I get that it can be utterly heart wrenching watching your friend push the pram around the shops, or having nothing to contribute when the ladies are talking about pregnancy cravings.
I don’t always feel like this when I’m around babies, as I love being around kids… That’s why I’m a teacher and why I’d like some of my own! But sometimes, the unrealised dream can seem so far away that it just suddenly thuds on my heart and takes over my body.
I was at a baby dedication at Church the other day, and every Mother up the front was way younger that me. (They’d obviously listened to the TV ad which says your peak fertility is at age 23.) Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly happy for these woman and the beautiful families they have created. But this was a lot harder than I thought it would be. My reaction to this part of the Church service took me by surprise. It took all of my strength to stay seated there, and not rush off to the bathroom and ball my eyes out. I will never be that 20 something woman with a baby.
And only God knows if I will be a 30 something woman who gets married… And if still possible, have children. So my dream of children may be unrealised, but by giving it to God, it’s not unresolved. I need to remind myself daily that I’m not behind everyone else…I’m exactly where God wants me to be.