If I tell myself enough times, maybe I’ll start to believe it. That’s been a life theme of mine. And this has come out in many different story threads throughout my life, but most recently, it’s come through conversations of babies. If I tell myself enough times that I don’t want to have kids, then maybe I’ll start to believe it.
I have endometriosis. It’s not a big deal, really. At least not yet. Endometriosis is a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and infertility.
I can manage it well enough. That pain is, at times, unbearable. But through many many MANY visits to the doctor I have found ways to get it under control and live a relatively normal life (most of the time!). And when I can’t – it’s a great excuse to stay home and watch Netflix!
The part I struggle with are those last two words. …and infertility.
I am 30 and single and not sexually active. So there is really no way at this point for me to know if that part of endometriosis will affect me. I might be able to have 12 perfectly healthy, energetic, bounce-off-the-walls kids. But I also might not be able to have any.
And so I have decided I don’t want kids.
I tell people I have no desire to ever have kids. I don’t even want to try. I’m just not cut out for it. I need too much sleep! I love that my time is my own. I have so much I feel called to accomplish in the world, and I don’t know how I could do it while adequately taking care of a child in the way they deserve. I love a clean house. I’m too selfish. I hate the Disney channel!
Mostly I’ve come to believe that’s true (well, some of it IS true, I really don’t like the Disney channel!). I think I’ve convinced myself. And on my good days I feel just fine with that decision. But when I’m cuddling with my niece, Rosaleah, or on my lonely, self-reflective days, I wonder if that’s just the excuse I give to self-protect against the “what if”.
What if I am infertile? It is just easier to say I don’t want to have kids than to go through the heartbreak of getting my hopes up, trying, and then being disappointed.
But we can’t protect ourselves from heartache. We can’t protect ourselves from all the what if’s in life. Brené Brown talks about the power of vulnerability – and our societies inclination to numb. But the problem is you can’t numb sadness (or fear, or doubt) without numbing joy! You can’t avoid the hard parts of life without also avoiding the most joyful parts. Joy inevitably brings pain – but pain also brings joy. The light is so much brighter in the midst of darkness.
So, maybe I am infertile – but maybe I’m not. Maybe I will want to have kids, maybe I won’t. The point is, I don’t have to decide right now. I don’t have to make a decision based out of fear to protect myself from a possible heartache in the future.
And neither do you. Whatever you’re trying to convince yourself of, don’t forget to live today. And choose whatever makes you happy, even if that happiness might break your heart tomorrow.
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To read more, CLICK HERE!