I turned 40 in the beginning of the pandemic. I always thought I’d have kids, but first, for me, I wanted to find the partner to do that with, and first, spend time together and share our lives for a while before “settling in” and having kids (or a kid). I suppose I modelled this idea a bit on my parents, who got married a bit “later” and had me when they were older than what was common (38 and 50). They lived fun and adventurous and intellectual lives, and wanted to fold a kid into that. In my head, these numbers always made me feel better about having time myself.
Well, I haven’t found that partner, I have felt love but haven’t necessarily had it returned. I have a wonderful group of friends, I am generally happy, I have a profession in the arts that I’ve pursued and feel content with (and gave a lot up for). I have friends with kids and animals in my life that bring wonder. It was when I turned 40 that I decided that I’m going to have to really be ok with not having kids.
I’m learning contentment and finding joy where I can. It’s rough, I struggle. I don’t so much feel this was a choice I made, but a thing that has just come to be, and I am learning to accept it and make the best of it. I have worked hard for everything in my life, and I feel I worked to find love, and so it’s frustrating to hear others say “it just happened when I wasn’t looking.” That’s bullshit. You have to try for everything. I am generous with my love, I have always shared. Things happen or they don’t. There’s work, luck, and circumstance.
So I try to be happy, and I work on that too. And it’s a struggle, but here I am finding things that bring joy, and I try to bring others joy too. And honestly it’s a relief to not have to worry about raising a child in this world. Humans have made a mess of the planet, there’s overpopulation, depleted resources. You know all this.
It drives me crazy though about others assumptions, and the superiority of people who have kids. The idea put upon that that’s the ultimate end game. It’s not, and that’s OK. My mom struggles. Some days she is thrilled to not have to worry about grandkids, but some days she says to me, “it will still happen”. I have to remind her it’s not her story.
It’s not always a choice, and we must remind ourselves that everyone’s story is unique. I struggle to find a story to empathize with, and that’s why I share mine here, with the hope of greater empathy and connection.