You can achieve anything series – Part 5
I couldn’t write my previous post about infertility privilege without taking it that step further to look also at my experience as a woman without children. I look at my No Kidding life and think about the barriers I’ve faced that others may not have faced. But I look too at the mountains others have had to climb, but I have not.
So I’m going to note some of the issues that have made my transition to a No Kidding life easier. The first list includes, ironically, the issues that were major barriers in my quest to become a parent.
- New Zealand has regulated infertility practices. Perhaps the same things that made it hard to conceive – ie donor eggs are very rare, it is illegal to pay for them or for surrogacy, special ethical approvals must be given on a case-by-case basis, IVF drug dosages are regulated – meant that it took some of the decision away from me.
- Adoption is now rare in New Zealand, so it is easier for me to shoot down the “just adopt” brigade.
- Geographical distance from the rest of the world – from gestational surrogacy in India, or donor egg cycles in Spain, or multiple IVF cycles elsewhere – means that the difficulty of taking these measures also stops people suggesting them as much, and perhaps reduces the judgement that we didn’t do them.
- I’m not part of a religious community that puts emphasis on family
- My parents never pressured me to give them a grandchild. That was all me. (I wanted to be able to give my father a grandson. He never got one, though for a few brief years he had a great-grandson.)
- My in-laws never pressured us, beyond the occasional dropped hint.
- Whilst there is still a very definite glass ceiling in New Zealand, we are not the macho, misogynist society we would have been forty years ago, or the even more extreme examples that we might see elsewhere in the world, where the lot of a childless woman is much more difficult than mine, even deadly.
- As someone who has been fortunate to have a career, I didn’t 100% feel that my life was worthless when I couldn’t have children.
- I have been self-employed during the particular period of healing, which has meant I’ve been able to take time to heal and recover, away from the pressure of a full-time workplace.
- I’m well educated and curious, and so I have had the ability to think and come to terms with my situation, to explore my own thoughts and reactions, and to learn from others.
- Whilst a good friend, my sister, and niece have all had children in this period, I also have friends without children, or with older children, and so I haven’t constantly been surrounded by babies.
- My friends who do have children don’t see their worth solely as mothers, and so are able to talk about many other subjects as well.
- My husband loves to travel. And we can afford to travel. It may not seem relevant, but it makes life easier to be able to look forward to new experiences.