I had lunch yesterday with two of my besties and after a brief catch up, the conversation became quite deep quite quickly (as it does when you are speaking to people who know you).
We are all at different stages in our lives. I’m thirteen/fourteen years older than they are. I’m unmarried and childless (you all know my journey). One is married and remains childless by choice. The third of us is unmarried, single and childless. She is probably the one of us going through the most significant personal growth at the moment.
Our discussion centred around the perceived differences between life with children and life without, and what it means in our society for someone, especially women, to be childless.
I’ve always wanted my own children but the girls really forced me to question why. And whether those reasons are still relevant in my life today. And if there are other things that I might want more. Basically, they were asking what the pay off (as Dr Phil would say) would be for each path. And it has left me thinking.
Fortunately, I leave Sydney tomorrow, not on a jet plane, but on a cruise ship, for two weeks, where I will have time and open ocean to consider these questions.
My married friend and her husband enjoy their life together. They provide one another room to grow, and support each other’s interests. She says that whilst being childless is her choice, and she feels it is the right one for them, that she still acknowledges there will be times in her life when she will grieve that choice. And that’s okay.
And that’s okay.
What empowering words.
And food for thought.
There is much that I desire to achieve throughout my life. I have enjoyed my free time during the holidays. Mostly I have enjoyed reading and writing for hours on end. And I mean hours. One after the other. Silence embracing me to allow the creative spirit to enter unencumbered. No interruptions. Nothing else to do.
And I’m left asking, do I want this more?
My other friend, childless and single but significantly younger than me, is contemplating her future. She says that she isn’t ready for kids for at least ten years. She wants to travel, continue to have fun, and find a partner to share her life with her. She is looking in to options for child bearing that will support her choices.
What a wonderful time in civilisation it is that we, as women, have a measure of control over our destinies. All it takes is courage to not follow the status quo. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the status quo if that is what you want. There is something wrong with it if you want something else.
I feel very blessed to have these two as my friends. They prove to me that it is okay for us to follow our own paths, even against the status quo. I equally feel blessed to have so many of my other close friends in exceptionally happy and healthy marriages. They prove to me that the fairytale does exist and I’ve been right to not settle.
I also feel very blessed that in my travels in the last five years I have met many over forty childless by choice women who are empowered and living their dream.
And I feel blessed to have shared the fertility/infertility journey with other women. One of whom, after failed attempts at IVF, is currently in another country celebrating her freedom.
I have some deep searching to do during my cruise. I stand at an important cross roads: What do I really want?