Thursday, March 24, 2011

And so it begins…

Nearly all of my childless friends are now either actively trying to conceive or actually pregnant. It's getting lonely on this side of the fence and I'm having a hard time deciding how I feel about that.

I knew it would only be a matter of time before this happened, and it's just happening later for me than for most. We're all in our 30s, with a couple friends finally decided to try for kids after 35, which brings up all my ethical issues regarding infertility treatments, to be honest. It's all taking on the air of that exclusive club I'm not invited to.

Because of my body's current revolt against my childfree choice, paired with all of my friends switching gears all at once, I've made a lot of mental lists. It's all left me feeling sort of deficient, which I haven't felt in a long time. My usual confidence is being tested more than usual.

But then I ask a friend if she'll be at a concert that I know we both desperately want to go to, but she can't come because her sitter isn't available that night. I see the very girlfriends who are switching gears into baby mode either scrambling to get in the travel they want to do before they get knocked up, or freaking out about how stretched they will be financially when their babies that are on the way get here, and I think my god, that's not something I have to worry about. Fears about what it means for their careers, or whether it's worth it to put an infant in daycare and I thank my lucky stars that I'm not in their place.

And the thing is, when I see them journaling about what they'll miss, how their lives will change, I see that they're struggling with the same questions I'm dealing with. They're just seeing it from the other side of the fence. They're still looking at what they'll miss out on if they make this lifechanging decision, while I'm thinking about what I'll miss out on if I don't.

It's a way that, in a perfect world, we could connect. But I'm terrified to talk about it with them for fear of turning people off as I have in the past. So I clam up for now. Maybe we'll talk about it at some point, but for now I'm just observing from afar and dealing with my issues on my own.


sara star said...

Oh my, it sounds hard to deal with those issues on your own. You must have at least one trusted friend you can talk to. If not, post in your blog about it, we will support you!

Karen said...

I have been in this same place - all my girfriends seeming to get pregnant all at once. One year there were 4 of them! That was a tough year for me, and back then I wasn't as clear about my childfree choice as I am now. That was several years ago and now some of these same parents are divorced (3 of the 4). I don't think I have to get into how terrible divorce is on children. And it certainly has been tough on those kids (and they're truly fantastic kids too).

I have a wonderful girlfriend who has 2 children and she and I do talk about the trials and tribulations of parenthood. She's so brutally honest with me - she tells me about her regret, her limited options, her lack of free time (or any time for herself), the nagging guilt, etc. And in turn I am able to talk to her when I have my ambivalent moments about being childfree.
I must admit since I've found other like-minded women on the internet, my choice doesn't make me feel so isolated and lonely.

Thank you for writing so openly about your experience. It really helps me to know I'm not the only one who feels this way sometimes.

* Valerie * said...

I feel like I am the only one of my friends that didn't get knocked up at New Year's. I hear you.

FatSoSarah said...

I hear ya. I would be lying if I said I felt the pressure to have a baby when it seemed ALL my friends were pregnant. For me I went from never wanting kids to needing a child like over night, lol. It was crazy. But I have my son now, he's almost 10 months old. I did have fears of having the money or how my freedom would be affected.

But my life didn't change much. I suppose the only major chance is not being able to sleep in any day I want or being able to go out during the week. My husband & I are off together on Sundays so we take turns letting each other sleep in and once a month my MIL takes him for the night and we get Sat & Sun to ourselves. On the other nights of the week I have my practice nights (I play a sport) and my husband has his video games. It's almost exactly how it was before, just we have our son.

But I consider myself lucky though, I know it doesn't work like that for everyone. The truth is we all miss out in some way no matter what we choose in life. Whether it's to have kids or not or get married or not. You have to decide what you need and go with that. Children are a life long commitment, you can't quit them or divorce them. They will bring you both joy & frustration. But you will countless amounts of joy & frustration in life regardless. Just know you're not alone. While your physical friends may not understand the other side of the fence, your digital friends do ;)

Childfree Travel said...

You are so my people, I feel like you are in my head. I just want to pick up the phone and call you, I feel like we could talk for hours! (I promise I'm not a stalker and don't worry, I don't have your number. LOL!!!)

* Valerie * said...

Hey Stasha, just wanted to let you know (since you're in Chicagoland) that the West Suburban Chicago Childfree Group on is having an event this Saturday to discuss the book "Two is Enough," if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what happened to me. All my life I wanted kids. A lot of them.

Then I started working with kids... nannying and babysitting. I did this for many years.

After about 6 years of this type of work, something changed in me. Now I don't want them.

I was the kids that played House, I played with dolls. I had baby name lists.

Now I don't want them. I just don't understand how it happened, but my mind is definitely changed. And now I wish that I wanted them. But I just don't.

How could this happen?