Someone recently said to me, “Aren’t you so glad you didn’t have kids with him?”
We were at a cocktail party having a casual conversation about a mutual friend who recently announced she was pregnant, and a conversation broke out about which one of us would be the next to have children.
That’s when her question came, but it was more of a proclamation than a question.
I nodded in agreement, of course I am glad we did not have children.
Here’s the thing: I have never felt especially compelled to have children, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be a mother in a traditional sense. But for a long time, when we were an “us,” children were part of my plan. We weren’t picking out baby names or actively trying, but we both believed that someday we would probably be parents.
For a long time, he was my family and I had a dream for us.
And then, it was ripped out from under me. Violently. Suddenly. Without warning.
So, along with the comfort I feel knowing that there are no children wrapped up in our big, tangled mess, there is also great mourning. A mourning that is complicated and sharp and sometimes even blinding.
Especially when I realize he may someday father someone else’s children.
Especially when I see all my friends making tiny humans.
Especially when relief is shoved down my throat.
All these things remind me that he’s gone—and the peace of mind, mixed with the grief that follows that statement is even more complicated than the former.
Yes, having kids with him, of course, wasn’t in my greatest good.
And yes, a childless life is likely my path, and I will be happy.
And yes, I still have lots of time to change my mind.
And yes, there are many ways to be a mother.
Despite all those truths, it still burns from the inside out when I remember that where there was once a hope and dream, there is now an empty space.
We all know someone who “dodged a bullet.” Someone who can count their lucky stars that they got out of a toxic relationship with someone who wasn’t fit to be a parent before children were in the picture.
But even if that’s true, please be careful when using big words like “children,” and “never,” because you don’t know what another person is grieving.
No matter how strong they seem, or how well they are doing without him/her, grief is hard.
Longing is lonely.
Loss is loss.