Content warning: this post discusses my experience with infertility which I realize is a trigger for many. If that’s your experience, you may want to skip this post.
My total hysterectomy in April 2019 rendered me unable to have children. After much, much reflection on this, I am very surprised at how I’m feeling about it:
nothing. I realized that every time I talk about it with my partner or friends, I grabbed for feelings I thought I should feel. When I was in my young twenties, I remember telling my grandmother that I didn’t know if I was going to ever have children. Not my own, biologically anyways. At the time she and her friends told me that would change when I got older and settled down. And as much as I hate to contradict Mary Brundage, it didn’t change.
So many people have horrible issues with infertility and want a baby more than anything. I know so many womxn who viscerally mourn for a baby daily. I, like many of you, know womxn who’ve had traumatic, torturous miscarriages time and time again. My heart aches for these womxn. But it does not ache for me. And that conjures a guilt in me that has led me to try very hard to grieve. I thought I was suppressing my emotions, which is something I tend to do as a 9 on the Enneagram scale (which I wrote about here). I’ve been talking to my partner about being sad about it. The other day he said, “Are you really sad about it?”
Am I really sad about it? My instinct was to say “Hell yes I am, don’t downplay and invalidate my emotions”, but I realized that I was trying to experience emotions about something I was conditioned to want since I was a child. I had several baby dolls as a child, including a set of eight twins I chose before I was 5 years old. The twins that I chose were black and brown babies. Even then, I knew my experience with children would not be the traditional biological white man meets biological white woman who have white babies that look like them. Even then that narrative didn’t fit.
Since working in the child welfare system for so many years, I have decided I want to be a foster parent. This is, and has always been, my calling. No guilt necessary. All emotions are valid including having no emotions at all. My heart goes out to all the womxn who have suffered greatly because they have been unable to have a baby, but that is not my experience. And that’s okay too.
Where do you stand with having your own biological children? I’d love to hear your stories if you’re willing to share.