Some of you may remember that I had a little issue on Twitter a few weeks back. In the course of having the abbreviated conversation that Twitter allows, I inadvertently insulted several childless people.
This exchange, along with some other bits and pieces I’ve read recently got me thinking about what qualifies a person as childfree. For example, do you have to know from a young age? Can you end up childfree accidentally? Can you fall in love with someone that has children and still be childfree?
And what about those that desperately want children but cannot have them? On it’s face it would seem that the childfree and the childless are separated by an enormous gap.
Read Rachel’s story below. Afterward I think you’ll realize that the gap is really not so wide, at least for some .
The Childfree Infertile
Hi! I’m Rachel and I am childfree after infertility.
My husband and I tried for almost three years to have kids. We had all the tests done, I took my temperature every morning to determine my fertility on any given day, I took the fertility meds (even my husband took fertility meds for a while), but we never got pregnant. We even started planning for IVF. We were saving our money and planning which month to do it. Then we had a realization – Our quest to get pregnant was making us miserable. It had gone from a desire for a child to being something massively unhealthy. We talked and weighed the pros and cons and we came to the decision to stop. No more “timed intercourse” (yeah, that is about as fun as it sounds), no more hormones and no more doctors. We realized that we deserve some happiness. We were not happy spending our lives hoping and waiting for something that might never happen.
Since making our decision we have embraced the label of childfree. Many people in the childfree community do not see us as childfree. They call us childless. I hate that word – “child-LESS”. It is so negative. It implies that I am in some way “less” just because my uterus has never been occupied (my eggs got together with my husband’s sperm and decided they were NOT the 99%).
Childless also implies that I didn’t make a choice. I did. I made a huge and very difficult choice. I put aside my dream of being a mother and decided that my happiness and health needed to come first. I recognized that my dreams needed to change.
That does not mean the transition has been easy. I found out a couple of days ago that my brother and his wife are pregnant with twins. The news was crushing for me. I am not jealous that they will have four kids to provide for. I am not jealous that they will never sleep again or that their house will be constantly loud and messy for the next twenty years. I am jealous that reproducing has come so easily for them and it didn’t for me. I am still grieving the unfairness of the choices I was given. I am working through the years of emotional trauma I went through trying to get pregnant. Healing from that takes time.
Everyone wants to feel like they fit in. I don’t fit in with the mommy mafia. I’m also frequently made to feel like I don’t fit in with the childfree club either. Many childfree people think that because I did (and sort of still do) want children that I cannot be part of their group.
I don’t have kids and I probably never will. I’m just trying to enjoy my life like all of you are. Does it really matter how I got here?
I enjoy my childfree home just like you do. I like getting to watch whatever I want on TV, not having to censor my language, and going to nice quiet restaurants. I LOVE that I will never have to pay for someone else to go to college.
I am not so different from you. The only difference is the life experiences that brought me here.
Rachel blogs at rachelsgettingthere.blogspot.com
UPDATE: a follow up to this post can be found here