I am 45 years old and childless. For some reason, this condition has only recently become a concern. OK, an obsession. For many years I considered my untethered state to be my greatest asset. Perhaps I even considered myself a little smarter than the average woman who entangled herself with children in the prime of her life. In my observation, she gave up so much for so little. Ah how age changes perspective. Those very women who were bearing and raising children in their 20’s and 30’s are now reaping huge rewards in the way of personal achievement, contentment and alas grandchildren! They also have a unique appreciation for the freedom they achieve in their 40’s and 50’s.
I, on the other hand, have a life that inspires either pity or envy in others. Invariably when asked if I have children, my response is met with a sad smile. Either for me or for them, I am left to determine which. Actually, I love my life. I have been married and on a wonderful adventure with a near perfect man for 25 years. I work from my lovely home on 5 acres in the Texas Hill Country. I engage actively in volunteer religious work. I enjoy a full social life with incredible friends. I even have 2 above average Boston Terriers who help fill the void where motherhood should be. Of course, like any parent, I tell hysterically funny little anecdotes about the escapades of Huey and Nikki. To my shock, however, these colorful tales are received with blank stares and I sadly watch as a glaze comes over the faces of friends willing me to shut up. It does seem a perfect life.
So what is missing? It is not dirty diapers or throw-up or those embarrassing public tantrums. As a realist and self-proclaimed control freak these have been the very definition of motherhood for me for some time and things to be avoided at all costs. No, I believe I am missing the connection. There is an undeniable unique connection between mother and child that cannot be substituted with any other relationship, regardless of how good it may be. On the other hand, there is a wonderful freedom from anxiety and worry that comes from being childless. My advice… whatever decision you make (or is made for you) run with it. Live your life. Love your life. Make MORE of your life.
We may never be too old to learn but we may in fact be too old to do anything about