It is easy for those of us without children but who had wanted children, in our lower moments, to think that if we only had children all our problems would be solved, or to dwell on how happy and fulfilled we would be. And yet we all know that’s not how it would be. There’s a saying warning us to “be careful what we wish for.” And for good reason. Nothing is ever quite what you expect.
So at times, I think about what my life might be like if I had children. And my mind doesn’t always turn to the positives. More realistic now than when I was trying to conceive, I wonder if:
- my life would have turned into drudgery, and the house turned into a tip, because I cannot imagine I would have been Supermum.
- I would be constantly tired and irritated. I know I wouldn’t have found a hidden energy. I suspect that any reserves of patience would be hiding out with the hidden energy.
- I would feel resentful of my husband, resenting the fact that he wanted children, and blame him.
- I would forget those years of wanting children, and remember only the years when I didn’t want children.
- I’d be fatter because I finished off my children’s food, or if I’d be thinner because I’d never get time to eat. I suspect it would be the former.
- I’d have grown gray not so gracefully, simply because I wouldn’t have time to get my hair coloured.
- my days would fly by, never being able to achieve what I had planned, and see the years fly by in turn, or alternatively, if the days would drag by, the chores never-ending.
- I would feel trapped at the end of the world, trapped in my life, trapped looking after children.
Of course, I will never know how I would have felt. But sometimes, these days, I do breathe a sigh of relief, and think that maybe I was lucky I didn’t have children. Sometimes, and increasingly often, there are no regrets. It helps, it really does, to look honestly at this side of my life that might have been, to be honest about my personality and capabilities, and even (at times) to be glad that I don’t ever have to find out.
After all, isn’t happiness wanting what you have, not getting what you want?