Growing up, while all my friends were earning money babysitting, I preferred to earn money washing cars or mowing lawns. Children were of no interest to me.
When I married the first time, my husband didn’t want children because he had a special needs sister, and feared the condition might be hereditary. I had no issues with this, as I didn’t have a yearning for kids. Years later, after my divorce, I met another man who already had grown children and had no desire (or ability) to have more children. I was fine with that too. We have been married twenty-seven years.
I constantly faced situations related to my childless state. People couldn’t understand, or didn’t believe, that I didn’t want children.
For many years I struggled with endometriosis. My periods would practically require bedrest, the pain was so bad. I eventually took Toradol right before and during my period. I begged my gynecologist to give me a hysterectomy. He would argue that I might want kids some day, even when I told him my husband had had a vasectomy, as if I was incapable of making the decision for myself. I finally told him, either he gives me a hysterectomy or I’m changing doctors. He relented. The next day he visited my hospital room and apologized. He said my uterus had been covered in fibroid tumors and I likely would not have conceived even had I wanted to. He apologized for not listening to me.
I knew several women my age and older who never had children, not because they couldn’t, but because they didn’t want to. Even so, people would ask if I had kids and when I said no, they would get a sympathetic look on their face as if I couldn’t have them. When I was in law school in my early thirties, I became friendly with a wicked-smart female professor. She once asked me if I had children. When I said no, she said how sorry she was and how she wouldn’t feel fulfilled without her children. Her assumption I couldn’t have children and that my life was unfulfilled because of it was startling. How could this professional woman whom I admired think a woman needed to have children in order to feel fulfilled? That my life was somehow less without them? It was quite jarring.
I have never regretted my decision not to have children. I lead a very fulfilling life. I have my profession, my husband, a non-profit foundation we created, world travel, great friends, and wonderful hobbies. I couldn’t be happier with the path I chose.