In the last couple of posts, we’ve talked about our culture of marriage, the expectation that marriage comes with adulthood. I think there is also the expectation that we will have children and for most of us, that expectation is met by our own desires. Although medical advancements have made it safer for older women to give birth, and the choice to become a single mom is more acceptable today, getting divorced in your thirties means that for many women the likelihood of having children is significant less. This is certainly true for Antonia. Here’s Antonia:
I did want to have children and I do, but I am single right now because I choose to be. I do get a lot of offers, a lot of dates, but they’re not the right person for me. I’d rather be single than just date to date. I’m at the point now where I tried so hard to plan growing up and plan this dream life…I’m done planning. So if I don’t ever have children, I will be okay with that.
It did take a while for me to get here. At first, I thought having children had to define me, like I was going to be empty if I didn’t, or judged if I didn’t. That’s why I worried, more than whether or not it was right or it was good or it was meant to be.
People are envious of me, they look up to me, they think I am so strong, they think I’m so strong that I actually left, because we hear about people who either stay in a marriage for the children or stay in abusive relationships because they’re afraid to leave. They are very proud of me and I’m going to be quite frank with you, my sisters and my friends at this point are like,
“You’re crazy if you have kids, you have this wonderful life.”
But, whatever works for me is going to work for me. I might fall in love next week and we might want to have a baby together, or I might not. I just can’t have that planning holding over my head that it’s going to hurt me or make me less of a person if I don’t.
The Divorce Coach Says
Interestingly, when I was growing up, I always wanted to have children even though I didn’t always see myself as getting married. Certainly, thirty or forty years ago that was a bit of dilemma! I know I would have struggled with getting divorced and being faced with having no children.
I admire Antonia for not letting this define her or her happiness. I love too her “I’m done with planning,” because she’s right – when we follow what society or our family expects of us or has mapped out for us, it isn’t necessarily what is right for us. I believe it is the latter that will lead us to enduring and meaningful happiness.
Another one of my guests, Sally dealt with this and she says she’ll probably always have some regrets about not having children but it just never worked out for her.
Was/Is not having children something that worries you? Have you decided/accepted that you won’t have children? What helped you change your mind about having children? Would you consider being a single mother by choice?
Photo credit: exfordy