Saturday, May 8, 2010

Childless By Choice.....Sort Of!



Happy Saturday, my friends! Hopefully you're out enjoying a nice weekend with family and/or friends. We're having sunny and warm weather; it's absolutely gorgeous outside! Warning you ahead of time here - my post today is a little different than normal, but I wanted to share an extremely personal story with you all. I debated about whether to post this, but I hope you'll find it heartfelt and honest.

I'm preparing a Mother's Day celebration tonight and tomorrow. Tonight I'm going to dinner with my Mother, my Nanny (my only living grandmother), and my younger Sister. My Dad arranged a nice dinner for us (and is paying the bill!). Don't feel too sorry for the boys though, word has it they're going to eat raw oysters and have a few cold ones. After spending a little time with Mother on Sunday morning, we will go visit DH's Mother.

Seriously though, today I would like to tell you all about me and the DH being "childless by choice" - at least that's how the story begins....

As a child and later a teenager, college student and young adult woman, my "mothering" desires and skills were not honed. It's difficult to explain, but I had ZERO desire to ever become a Mother. I knew it from a very young age. You know when you're a young girl and you're talking to your friends, slumber parties and such where you tell secrets. "Are you ever going to get married"? Sure. "How many children are you going to have"? None.

Try feeling this way and living in the SOUTH. Don't think I'm being judgemental here, I'm FROM the South. I can say this. I've always lived in the South (is Charlotte, NC really the South? I think so, but it's close to the North). Anyway, having a family is pretty important to folks down here. It validates you. It proves you are an adult and you're responsible. It forms a family.

When DH and I started dating, we didn't discuss children. About a year into our relationship, maybe after a few glasses of wine one night, I told him that I thought we should discuss something....that I didn't know where our relationship was headed, but there was something he should know about me. *Silence*. Do you think THAT scared him??? HAHA, yes it did. So I told him then that I was never interested in having children, it just wasn't something I felt I needed to do in life to be "whole". He told me at that time, fine I don't really care if I have them either - I never really wanted them. Viola! He was the man for me. Approximately 18 months later, we were married.

I should tell you now - I got married when I was 25 years old. I was YOUNG to be married (DH was only 26). Again, this is more traditional in the South (my opinion here folks). I was one of the last girls in my "crowd" to get married. By the time DH and I were married in October 1994, several friends were already having babies. Time marched on, a few more years went by. More friends had babies. To this very day, I can only think of one great friend of mine who does NOT have a baby or any children. This began to bother DH. He started to feel he was missing out on something. He asked me to do silly things, like one night after a few too many wines, he wanted me to sign a piece of paper saying I would have a baby!!! LOL, he thought he was being smart AND funny.

Finally we were at the beach for the weekend, and I sat DH down for an honest conversation. I told him that I just didn't want children, it didn't mean I had any less love for him - matter of fact, he wouldn't have to share me with anyone if there were no children. However, I told him that if a baby was that important to him, I would grant him the quickest and easiest divorce known to man. We could sell our house, split the proceeds, split the 401K's, split everything, use the same attorney, and he could go find another woman and start making some babies. This is the night that I knew, without a doubt, my DH loved me unconditionally. He told me that if having a child meant he couldn't have me, he didn't want one either.

We rocked along like this for YEARS. What I heard constantly: "WHEN are you going to have a baby" -- "Y'all would make the prettiest babies" -- "Your parents need and DESERVE a grandchild" (that's my personal favorite) -- "I just can't believe you don't want a baby" -- "why are you depriving DH of not having a son/daughter" (my 2nd personal favorite) "Don't you like children"???

Just to give you a good laugh, two of my favorite responses to those questions were: "Just because I HAVE a uterus, doesn't mean I have to USE it" (favorite) and "I just don't look at a baby like a piece of Gucci and think, I MUST HAVE THIS IMMEDIATELY" (favorite of everyone else). Seriously though, I never thought it was FAIR to have a child when you 1) weren't ready and 2) weren't even sure you wanted to! I see way too many people that almost act like they resent their children, and hate the seeming imposition in their daily lives. Some folks, their nerves just can't take it, but unfortunately - they usually don't realize it ahead of time. I always felt like that, so I knew it wouldn't be fair for a child to be born under those circumstances.

Mind you - in many ways, we have paid a hefty price for our decision. For years we were left out of everything. Friends had birthday parties for their children - we weren't invited. (You know, if you don't have children, you must not like them. This is what people think, seriously!). Silly friends, we would have come to the party, and brought your children a great present! We would have been the coolest aunt/uncle figure they'd ever know. As a result of this, we grew apart from some of our oldest friends. It wasn't on purpose - it just happened. They were going to soccer games and swim lessons on Saturday mornings, and we could still go to the beach and hang out for five hours without having to coordinate babysitters, carpools, etc. Dare I say.....we had a little more "freedom" than most folks our age, because we didn't have children.

Five years ago, my younger sister had her first baby boy. He was born several weeks early, and we were living in Charlotte at the time. We didn't get to see him for a while, but of course when we did, we feel in love with him immediately. My sister had a second son about 2 years later, and now we have two beautiful and oh so active and fun nephews! Thank goodness I thought, she is taking the pressure off me! There are finally some babies around here and everyone will stop BUGGING ME about having one!!!

Not long after Jake's birth, we moved to Destin, FL and were much closer to our family (only 2 hours away!). I suppose being around a child constantly gives you a different perspective....as I started to think, hey maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all....Approximately THREE years ago, I stopped using all "preventative measures" and thought, if it's meant to be for me to have a baby, I will. If it isn't, I won't. Simple.

Guess what??? NO - I'm not pregnant. I've never even been scared I was pregnant!!! My body seems to be one that will never carry a baby. I should say, I had LOTS of female problems, two surgeries and endometrosis that was pretty bad. My dr. said years ago that it was "possible" to get pregnant, but might be more difficult for me that other people.

I have friends who have gone to such extreme measures to have children, at great cost to them physically, emotionally and financially. DH and I decided long ago that IVF, Surrogates, Adoption, etc were not options we would explore. Those options are great to have, but they weren't for us.

Sometimes the body just isn't build to do it, for whatever reason. There was another purpose for us. I believe that purpose was being a doting Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. I like to think DH and I have made, and will make later, a huge impact in the lives of the children around us. For now and for us, that's perfect and it works. It's enough.  

Tomorrow we will honor our Mothers. Let's not forget the sacrifices they've made, and what they might have endured physically or emotionally to bring us into this world. Be thankful for your relationships and show your love.

p.s. Every year we receive a ton of holiday cards with photos of children, so last year we sent one of just us! You know, I'm showing off my family too! :-)


35 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this post! I too grew up in the south, EVERYONE I know has a baby and is married, I on the other hand have neither and am perfectly fine with that. I never had the feeling that one day I would be a mother, I never wanted to be a mother, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is hard when other people can't fathom why you would'nt want a baby and why you aren't "completely" grown up until you do. Have a good mother's day! :)

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  2. What a lovely post Lori... thanks so much for sharing! XOXO

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  3. Thanks for sharing Lori! As a Southern gal myself, I know exactly what you are talking about. I really don't understand why all my friends and female relatives were in such a sprint to the altar. Sure, I'd love to be married and have children, but I think the attitude that I am not "complete" until I do is dangerous. When I marry, I know it will be because I have found the love of my life and my soul mate, and when I have children it will be for the two of us and not because anyone else thinks it is my "duty." I am proud of you for standing up against "tradition" and expectations and doing what feels right in your heart. I think that is part of why you are such a happy person, that I am glad to know and call a friend. xxoo

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  4. Happy Mother's Day Lori! You're an awesome lady and thanks for sharing your story...I was like you...loved my life the way it was (but I married late at 36, then had a baby at 39)...I can say it's great!)...if it's meant to be it will be and either way, it will be just fine!! (I can share so much more but don't know you quite that well and wouldn't want to overwhelm you LOL) Take care! XO

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  5. Thanks for sharing your story. :)

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  6. I got a little emotional when I was reading your post....not for any other reason, but for how HONEST you were. I commend you and DH for having such a STRONG relationship. If it is meant to be, you will be blessed with a child, if not, you are blessed with each other!

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  7. YIKES....sorry....I'm working on another blog and I don't know what I am doing....anyway, that last comment was travelbugmom.....
    havemap.blogspot.com....didn't want to throw you off!

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  8. You're such a beautiful person and I'm so happy that you are my friend. I firmly believe that there is a plan, a path for each person, even if we don't know what that is at the time. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  9. What a great post... thanks for sharing!

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  10. What a powerful story... I just know you are the very best aunt! And I'll bet you and your are so much fun and the favorite aunt and uncle. What a gift you are to your nephews and friends' children! You two have a special place in their lives... Bless you!

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  11. Lori ... this is such a beautiful and touching post from a beautiful person! Thank you for sharing. I can see that you and you dh have a wonderful, strong marriage. Blessings to you both!! xo

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  12. Lori, I just love you, sugar! You do not need to apologize for the choices that you make in your life! I commend you for knowing yourself the way that you do, and quite frankly, am a little jealous of the relationship that you & DH have! If it's meant to be, it will be... in the mean time, my kiddos could use another awesome Aunt & Uncle! Happy Mother's Day to the best of the best! :* mwah!

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  13. Thanks so much for sharing this. No one makes the decision on having children, but you. It's your body and you decide. And that's great that you knew this early on, AND that DH was on board with it, too. So glad you wrote this, to know you a little bit more. :)

    Oh, and yes, Charlotte is definitely part of the South. Haha.

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  14. Thanks for sharing...I just turned 36 and didn't want kids either until my twin nephews were born two years ago...and I got SOOOO tired of everyone hounding us about kids...you have to do what is right for you...and it's no one else's business! I really want to be a mommy and I hope I will be soon...but it isn't for everyone. :) Hugs, CZ

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  15. Thanks for sharing...I just turned 36 and didn't want kids either until my twin nephews were born two years ago...and I got SOOOO tired of everyone hounding us about kids...you have to do what is right for you...and it's no one else's business! I really want to be a mommy and I hope I will be soon...but it isn't for everyone, and that's ok!!!!! :) Hugs, CZ

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  16. You sound just like my little sister! I almost felt the need to check that I wasn't on her blog! ;)
    She and her husband ARE the coolest aunt and uncle to our kids and their other nieces and nephews! Being parents isn't for everyone and I really don't understand people who can't understand that!
    Have a great weekend!

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  17. Initialmama Maggie E.May 8, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    I loved the honesty in your post, but most importantly the honesty you have allowed yourself by not falling into the "well, everyone is, so I should" way. I have struggled and struggled for years to have children. I have often wondered why God gave me such a strong desire, but no ability to do so. Seems God has maybe done the reverse for you...if it was going to be hard for you, he made your desire less- Quite a favor, in my opinion! Thanks for sharing!

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  18. This is a great honest post! I have babysat for people who just can't get away from the kids fast enough because they're driving them crazy. You did what was best for you in your life and you're totally happy which is all that matters. Have fun celebrating Mother's Day with your family!

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  19. Thanks for sharing that story. I'm so glad I started following your blog. Love reading the posts. I have a son, and almost died during birth, as did he. We knew that day we couldn't have anymore. I am so OK with that. Everyone else just has to keep asking when we will have more. It's a difficult story to tell, especially when I just want to say "When are you going to get Lipo, you cow?" People need to mind their own business! Anyway, have a wonderful Mother's Day!

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  20. lovely post - thanks for sharing your story! I married young also and had children later and remember all those questions about When??? You've handled everything so well and built a beautiful life for yourself. Have a wonderful Mother's Day with your family! xo

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  21. Thank you for sharing Lori!
    it's sad that some people will just never learn that their input is not always necessary or even welcome.
    Enjoy your Mother's day weekend with your family.
    <3

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  22. Thank you for sharing.
    I have gone back and forth on the subject of children. I am the oldest of a large family (there are 7 siblings). I am only 10 1/2 yrs older than the youngest and there are no multiples.
    There are times when I have had the pull of wanting a child so bad. But then there is the joy of being able to hand a child over to it's parents.
    I am really not childless by choice though. I got married in my mid 30's and within the first yer of marriage I was diagnosed with DVT and in a 2 yr span was in and out of the hospital because of this a few times. I had a large DVT and well because I was on blood thinners getting pregnant was not a good thing to happen. In the time that I have been dealing with this (It is chronic now). One of my sister's developed stage 4 non hodgkins lymphoma. It has now been 11 yrs since my diagnosis and 8 yrs since my sister had her bone marrow transplant for the cancer. She and her husband have since adopted my niece from China who is now 7. My husband and I do not have the financial means with which to adopt so I have decided that I am now just going to be the aunt that hopefully my nieces and nephews want to spend time with. (Like I said it is nice to hand them back to their parents when it is time). I now have 10 nieces and nephews on my side all age 10 and under. On my husband's side there are 4 nieces and nephews so we are not at a loss for having young people around.
    Thank you again for your story.

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  23. I think this is a fantastic post! What a great outlook.... my favorite aunt and uncle are childless by choice, and man oh man are they ever great a great auntie and uncle... Lulu is the one to relate to, they're the ones to help everyone with college, and the ones you can go stay with when mom is being unbearable... they're the ones who take you on super fun getaways for a week, just because they can... and most of all... they've invested so much in us nieces and nephews that even though they don't have their own children they have all of us, we're looking out for them, we'll take care of them as they age, we love them as much as our own parents... they're lulu and rosco... and I'd be lost without them! Thank you for having the insight to know what is for you...

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  24. Good for you for staying true to yourself. People can be so rude without realizing it when they ask personal questions about having kids. I love your responses! Your nephews are so blessed to have you as their Aunt and you husband as their uncle. I wish my children could have an auntie like you but unfortunately my husband is an only child and I only have 1 brother who is single and acts like a kid himself with no desire to "play" uncle. Thanks for sharing such a personal and honest story with us. XOX Sue

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  25. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lori!! It's so true how in the South there's more of a pressure to have children. I was just talking to someone the other day about the exact same situation... no desire to have children, and then when they did think maybe...they weren't able too. They are lovin life and are definitely spoiling the nieces and nephews. It's so great to hear the side of those who choose not to have children. :) You never ever have to apologize for your choices. It's your choice and those you love you will always love you no matter what decisions you make. :)
    XOXO- Vy

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  26. Goodness gracious girl, this could be MY storyh..no children for me either.

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  27. I can attest that my child, Savannah, enjoys your company and asks when she is going to see you again. So there. Mary B

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  28. Hey Sista, you know what? You reached out and grabbed my heart with this post. Me neither, just never wanted to do it, and by the time the clock ticked, I just hit snooze and overslept. The things people say uh? My favorite, God didn't meant for you to have children. No correction, I chose not to have children. I love the personal side here Lori, it makes you real in my book. I am blessed with my John, and my boys, and it's enough. I have heard that the tar balls are rolling in Dauphin Island, makes me literally ill, such a great little hideaway with the most pristine white beaches. We have dolphins washing ashore here, and you know what this does to us. No telling what the next few days will hold for us. We must get together soon.

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  29. Thanks so much for sharing this honest and sweet post. I was a nanny for years and have seen too many families that had children simply because they thought that was "the right thing to do." Then they end up hiring someone else to raise them. I commend you for doing what was right for yourself and your family!! Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!

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  30. They bugged me about getting married, I dated him for 6 years. They bugged me about having a baby, I waited until I was ready. Difficult pregnancy, had a premmie. They are still bugging me about baby 2 and my baby is 7 years old. They will never not bug me about something. I just have to do what is right for me. You do too. Keep on keeping on. That's all you can do.

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  31. Thank you for sharing, Lori! You are a wonderful person and you have a wonderful life! God bless you!

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  32. What a wonderful post! Happy Mother's Day to a great Aunt! Aunts mother too, in their own way, especially when they get to be the cool aunt! Congratulations for knowing and feeling who you truly are and being comfortable with it. I too have always felt that way, and trust me, its not just the South where you get that pressure, I think it is everywhere. It was just not meant to be for me, but that was determined after I had already made the decision it was not for me. Happy Mother's Day!

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  33. Lori, thank you for posting this. I teared up as I read it. Not because I feel sorry for you but just the opposite. I have so much respect for you and think you're so brave to write this. You put a lot of how I feel into words and I thank you. You are a wonderful lady and I feel privileged to know you. xo xo

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  34. what a brave and honest post! so proud of you for standing up for your beliefs and being true to yourself!!
    i knew i always wanted children...as many as God would give me, and after loss and heartache, i was granted my miracle, and felt my family was COMPLETE (read DONE) when I held her. So many people pressure you to get marry, to have a baby, to have more, etc. I don't know why, but i'm happy in my decision to be "one and done" and not populate the earth (much to my husband's dismay) -- i'm glad you are doing the same!!

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  35. This was a great post! Fabulous story. I enjoyed it a lot, and could relate. As you know, I was late having my children, and decided that I would not go to extreme measures either. It is interesting because we married later, and a lot of our friends had children, and exactly what you said happened. It was just two different worlds, but they can merge.

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