Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Myth of Childless by Choice - One Response from a Reader

From Po:

I just got this comment in, provoked by our thread on the Petrified Forest and the myths of Childless by Choice. I thought it was worth upgrading to a post of its own. It's authored by Julie McGreer:

"My situation is much like you describe: over-educated, married late, infertile due to my "advanced age" at 41 years.

"All along I'd been making choices, but never realizing the full array of consequences.

"That's the deal, though. We don't understand all of the consequences of our choices, and therefore, end up with some pieces of our lives that aren't part of the grand design we envisioned for ourselves.

"I wonder sometimes if these huge aspects of our lives (whether we have children, who/if we marry, whether we choose to be a doctor or lawyer or stay at home parent) involve much choice at all. . . but a whole course in philosophy is compounded into that question, and is much too much for this short space. Let me say, however, that we aren't the only ones who have dealt with such fickle twists of fate. Perhaps the spin we put on our our angst is different, however, in this time, in this place.

"My Grandmother was adopted by her aunt because her biological mother, Sally, died of the flu and my Grandmother's biological "Papa", Lawrence, GAVE UP THE CHILDREN (his daughter and son) because it was improper for a man to raise children alone. Bottom line is, it was probably just too hard for a man to work on dusty fields from sunrise to sunset and somehow care for two small children simultaneously. So he gave them up, writing occasional postcards to his children, signing them "Love, Papa." How hard was that? My destiny feels pretty cushy, compared! What did all of the players think of this then? Probably thought of it in terms of "old time religion", but the feelings must have been the same.

"The majority of my professional life has been spent in the field of human services, and I am also an avid observer of people in my spare time. I've come to conclude that every life has it's challenge. Being childless is one of mine. This challenge slaps me hard against the cheek nearly every day: when my friends complain about the difficulties of raising children, when I see pregnant women abusing concaine, when I hear of a teen mother who believes her life is wrecked by the intrusion of the baby in her womb.

"This may not have been my choice, but it is my life. Ultimately, I believe the quality of my life will be the same, with or without children. It's a big lesson in paying attention to what has been given, instead of focussing on the one missing piece.

"When I am able to do this, I realize how very lucky I am."

Thanks, Julie.

2 Comments:

Anonymous tirzah harper said...

I would just like to echo:
"This may not have been my choice, but it is my life. Ultimately, I believe the quality of my life will be the same, with or without children. It's a big lesson in paying attention to what has been given, instead of focusing on the one missing piece."
My life *might* change, but I can't afford to sit around crossing my fingers around that possibility. So from someone who's facing the same life - thank you.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

echo, echo..."a big lesson in paying attention to what has been given, instead of focusing on the one missing piece." I couldn't have said it better myself. I didn't always want to be childless. It was not my choice to be childless initially, but at some point, I did have to come to terms with the reality so I could continue to live my life and stop rushing or pushing on myself, what society wanted for me. This one thing did not define who I was - or wasn't! I have no regrets at all today. I'm happy with my life as it is. Warts and all. Thank you for giving my situation a tag line.

9:00 PM  

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