Judge Me: I'm Not Having Kids
It's funny, once you express your decision to not reproduce there's a common misconception that the door for comments and opinions just swung right open. It didn't, so shh.
Disclaimer: I've been having an internal battle with this subject, as well as this post because god forbid you didn't read the first sentence. This is a way to express my emotions + also take the cat out of the bag to friends and family, and now you. Hi, my names Heather and I'm not having kids. This is my story.
I am choosing to not have kids.
You are either labeled as unwomanly and selfish or unwomanly and broken.
I am not broken, and will not be seen as such. So, call me selfish.
Starting a family does not require a sex education class. Starting a family means choosing to love someone as you do family; no matter what. For me, my family includes Dalan + my cat. I love our little family we've started.
At this point, I'm sure you feel a cluster of negative feelings. But, is this about you?
Little do you know, it took me a year of depression and an excessive amount of tears to be able to say I wasn't having kids to my mom (or myself). It didn't help that friends, family, and strangers would say in their innocently cute + complimentary voices "hurry up and have kids!" or even worse: the question, "when do you think you guys' will have some?" forcing a quick white-lie response while I'm trying to swallow the lump in my throat. Most of the time I was able to go along with it, followed by a private emotional breakdown.
Why was/am I so afraid of the truth? Because for one, the truth hurts. You'd think the pain would be for us, and us alone; but that's not true either. You become a forever disappointment to your family and friends; a touchy subject of sorts. It's, unfortunately, so unorthodox for someone to say they won't be reproducing; that you won't be giving a niece/nephew or grandchild. But just so you know, the words stung coming out of my mouth, too.
Confused? "...but you said this is your choice?"
Surprise, there's a reason.
I am choosing to not have kids. I say I am 'choosing' because I like control. Life has a knack of throwing uncontrollable lessons at you, and the best way for a control freak like me to get through it is to make it my idea. So I did just that.
I have Gastroparesis disease. You can read more about it here, but in a nutshell: it's a disease caused by damage to the vagus nerve (the longest nerve in the body), causing damage and health issues to all the many, many organs associated with this nerve. Gastroparesis has led many different continuous wars in my body. Unfortunately, one of the fatalities was my ovaries. I have Polycystic Ovarian Disease.
To give a brief, my ovaries follicles are all plugged up with eggs that weren't released, and later turned into cysts, also known as benign masses on the ovaries.
"The infertility rate with polycystic ovaries is very high. these women will have difficulty getting pregnant - and require treatment to improve chances for pregnancy. Some women with polycystic ovarian syndrome will ovulate (release a mature egg) occasionally - others do not ever ovulate." -Advanced Fertility
Fertility in the US is at it's lowest point.
Now you're thinking, "what about IVF? What about this or that?" Again, is this about you?
Don't get me wrong, I admire those who have the will and strength to undergo treatment after treatment to conceive. I love kids, I do. But once I get pregnant, there's a very large percentage stating that my child will have the same incurable disease as I do. I am choosing not to.
You say I'm selfish. I say I'm selfless.
I've learned that I shouldn't feel sorry about one gift I didn't receive when I have been given so many others.
7.5 million women aged 15-44 are not able to get pregnant and/or carry the baby to term.
Yet 7.5 million are suffering silently.
7.5 million are struggling with fertility, yet the assumption of reproduction is so common.
I think we need to reevaluate our will to (even subconsciously) pressure those around us to reproduce. *Please remember how you felt reading each section of this post. This isn't about you. We are each so unique and on our own paths. Everyone has a reason for their decisions.
If you're infertile, I'm here with you.
If you're sick and don't want to transfer it on to your child, I support you.
If you're healthy and choose to not have kids, I support you.
You are a woman and a family with or without reproducing.
I'm lucky to have a partner who is supportive and hopefully you will be too.