My grandmother was told she would never have children. What a terrible thing to hear.
I’m at that point in my life where kids are just becoming a topic of conversation surrounding the next steps in my life. I have been married for just over two years now, but only a mere 25 years old so children are a step I’m not quite ready to make. I want them but just not yet. However, when the question comes up as to whether or not I want kids or how many, all the other possibilities seem to spill out of everyone’s lips.
What if you don’t get what you want? What if you have bad children? What if your kids hate you? And my absolute favorite, what if you can’t conceive? I don’t understand why people feel the need to think this way.
Now I am a naturally optimistic person, I go with the flow generally and can easily come up with a plan b without too much hysteria. My plans don’t always have to go the way I thought they would and I try to be prepared for the unexpected, but I don’t sit around thinking that everything I’ve wished and hoped for is going to fall in shards around my feet. That’s not why I plan the way I do. I plan because it’s in my nature. So when people ask me the ‘what if’s’ of having kids, of course I could answer their questions, but I’m not going to.
When a young future mother says she wants a girl, why is it necessary to say she might have a boy? Do you really think I don’t know that already? Do you really think I won’t love that little boy just as much as I would love that little girl? If you think that about any woman who expresses the same hopes that I have, than you have no business being in that person’s life. They don’t need your kind of negativity and neither do I. I want a girl and nothing anyone tells me about how many boys I’m going to have is ever going to change that. Having the reality of the situation spelled out for me and then shoved down my throat won’t make me think any differently. And, as always, the follow up question to not having a girl is not having children at all.
People feel it is their duty to make sure you are prepared for the worst things in this world. I don’t feel the need to be prepared for the horrific realisation that I can’t have kids, or that I never have a girl or that, god forbid my child is in some way unhealthy. And I can’t tell you how many people ask me what I would do.
What would any future mother do? I don’t think any amount of planning can actually prepare the mind or the heart for the news that there won’t be a child. The thought of it as I type these words makes my heart flutter and eyes blur with tears threatening to break the surface. No one should have to think about these questions. What’s there to think about? What I will do if this fate befalls me is not something I know right now. I know plenty of people say if they can’t have kids they’ll adopt but I can’t make that decision at 25 years old, which is why when I talk about having kids it’s in a future tense. I don’t have to make that decision now so it boggles my mind that people insist on asking me how I will prepare for one of the worst things that could happen to a person like me. A person who desperately wants to be a mother and have a girl and raise beautiful happy children that grow up to have kids of their own.
Having worked with disabled children I have an idea of what a difficult life it can be for both the child and the family. I also know what a light that child can be and I don’t think anyone can really prepare for the feelings that follow upon hearing the news that your child will need you to take care of them for the rest of their lives. I’ve heard countless stories of parents who, upon hearing they were going to have a disabled child jumped into action and made it all work just like any other family, but only after the tears and the fear were overcome. Every day is a new struggle and comes with a series of missteps but isn’t that what raising children is? A series of missteps on the path to their adulthood. Isn’t being a parent living for your children? I’m not saying having a child with a disability is the same as having a typical child but I don’t think either is easy. So, once again, why ask the ‘what if’s’?
When I talk about how I can’t wait to be a mother and have a little girl and a little boy and raise my two beautiful, smart, perfect children, the last thing I want to hear is all the ways it’s going to go wrong. More times than not, the people who ask me those questions are the people who are missing something in their own lives and have lost the part of themselves that thinks things will turn out right. The Negative Nancys of the world. The people who told my grandmother she couldn’t have children. Imagine if she had listened to those people, I might not be here. My mom wouldn’t be the woman she is; her two older brothers would never have been a part of my life. My grandmother defied the ‘what if’ questions and the cold hard facts to have three wonderful children. So what will I do when faced with the same life-changing realities?
I’ll figure it out, just like every mother does.