Freedom and resolution to infertility comes in a number of ways. The obvious is that a child becomes your very own through conception. A wonderful gift and one that should be sought after with every effort. Adoption, again another way to start a family that some parents choose. It is not for everyone, but for those it fits, it is a wonderful blessing as well. I did not know there was a third option. I did not understand that for some living child-free could be fulfilling and a joy filled journey. For some this is the third resolution.
I am constantly aware of how I feel when I find that I do not have the pressure of trying to come up with my own child, by my own efforts. Since I have made this decision to discontinue our adoption process I have been intrigued by the various terminology out there to describe couples without children.
Some couples that to some degree are still grieving their loss that infertility brings and having exhausted their efforts have decided that they are childless. This term has always saddened me because it implies permanent loss. I don’t believe it has to be that way.
Other couples have come to this place of giving up on all the pain of infertility and its medical process and have decided that they are child free. Although this does imply a certain freedom, I have always felt a bit uncomfortable with this label as it implies that children are no longer a part of life and almost a group to be disliked.
I have found a better word to describe this journey that I am on and that is living child friendly.
You see right from when I was a very small child, I always felt that I wanted to be a Mommy. I played that way and talked that way right up until my diagnosis with infertility. Discovering your infertility when you are single is a double whammy! You cannot discover or do anything about either. One thing was very clear. I had a very prolific sibling group. This meant that beloved nieces and nephews were everywhere, and I loved them.
Children became part of my daily existence. So much so that I chose Early Childhood Education as a career. I always had thought I’d have my own one day… well that’s another story.
Children always will be important to me. The concept of living child free implied that I would have no children in my life. As this was not the desire, I feel that a better fit is to live child-friendly. Semantics? Maybe, but for me it fits.
My husband and I warmly accept children into our home and we are celebrating Senior Kindergarten, Birthdays and Christmas parties with them. A small gift, a shared activity or a small cake to celebrate their achievements are a joy to us as well. We love to see their faces light up when we can share a part of their lives.
There is no big punch line or wonderful end to this choice. It is a special part of our lives. I am sure one day I can find a place where these relationships bloom and blossom into lifetime joys, but I am not responsible for that. I will walk and bless the next child in front of me. Whomever it may be: a neighbor’s boy, a great niece, a child at church or the little girl who stares at me in Wal-Mart, I am living content. I am the “other mother” to many. For this I am grateful.