Twelve years ago yesterday (or today if you’re in the US), my efforts to become a parent came to a screeching halt. I’ve written about that before here. I didn’t think about it until late yesterday afternoon, and when I did, it was just to mark the moment.
It made me think though. Twelve years on from that day, almost thirteen and fourteen years respectively from my ectopic pregnancies, and years before that since we started trying to get pregnant, I am writing and thinking about life without children. I almost wrote “still writing and thinking” but by use of the word “still” it implies that thinking about our lives without children is something that has or should have an end date. I don’t believe that is true. I have friends who weren’t able to have children, and who never went down the forum or blogging routes. We rarely talk about our lives without children. We simply talk about life. But just because we don’t talk about it, just because they don’t write about it (as far as I am aware) or advocate for people without children, I can’t say that they don’t think about their lives. Just because I write in public – even if under an easily broken pseudonym – it doesn’t mean that my thoughts about our lives are any deeper or more detailed or different.
The truth is though that, here at least, I have actively identified as a woman without children. I don’t do that through pain (any more) or bitterness. I like to think I do it for advocacy, to join my voice with that of others, to help other women without children to feel less alone. Maybe too we help friends and family to understand what their loved ones are going through. Maybe my experience might help others to believe they’ll be okay, and maybe it will help them to move through the grief, up into the sun. I write openly and as honestly as I can. I try not to kid myself, or you, that life is anything but the way it is. I try to keep this a no kidding zone.
Ultimately though, I would like to be able to help those who don’t give a passing thought to us to stop, think, and understand what life is like for the 1 in 5 women who will not be mothers. I’m working towards that. That’s why, 12 years later, I am still writing and talking and thinking about leading a no kidding life.