Thirty, engaged, house, dog, plans for a baby -- isn't that the dream? Wasn't I living the life most young women are searching for? Maybe not.
Women and babies is not a straight forward conversation anymore. It's not like in my grandmother's day when the question most women pondered when considering children was "how many?" Or in my mother's day when the question was more so "how many and when?" (Thank you, birth control). Now the question is not just how many or when, it's "if?" And although that is one little word leading to one little question, the answer has huge, life altering repercussions.
Life is just not that straight forward anymore, women have access to education and careers and money, which are all fantastic things, but they can also coincide with the child-bearing years. It's like women's role or place in society has evolved to a new place, but the good old human body, magic worker that it is, hasn't. There is a definite window of opportunity for conceiving and carrying a baby and unfortunately it closes, whether we like it or not.
Even then when we do decide we want a baby, possibly we've left it too late, possibly we've never met the right person, or possibly we're just not in a position to go it alone.
Women today have choices and don't get me wrong, it's great, but it can also be paralyzing. We want to make the right choice, but there are so many options that we end up do none of them because we don't want to make the wrong choice!
Rewind to 2012 and in my own personal implosion of uncertainty, with the causalities being my engagement, our house, the dog and eventually my job, I started looking for answers, or at least some guidance towards finding those answers. What if I never had a baby? What if my maternal feelings had peaked early and were all done now and I never had a baby? Would my life turn out alright or would I live to regret it?
My first port of call for guidance was the Internet. Now you would think that in this day and age of information overload I would have been inundated but you know what, I wasn't. There were a few websites and books out there, but they seemed pretty heavily skewed in either the "don't' have kids they ruin your life direction" or the very emotional "I haven't been able to, but desperately want them" direction. Neither resonated with me, I just wasn't sure kids were in my plan.
Off I went in search of everyday women who didn't have babies of their own to see how they felt about it. I knew quite a few great women who didn't have children and they weren't child hating, soulless women with no joy their lives. They were all caring, emotionally supportive, empathetic and balanced women who never happened to give birth. How did they feel about life, would they do anything different, did they regret how things panned out? Then I figured if I was looking for this information so too might someone else, and so Couldn't Wouldn't Didn't was born.
Momentum built as I started speaking with friends about the book, people would recommend someone I should speak to, someone who had a story to be told. For some of the women I didn't know them at all until we sat down. Them a little nervous, me with a slowly but surely worn sheet of A4 containing my list of questions. Pretty much every interview turned into a conversation about life, love, work, and everything in between when a woman ponders the question "will I have a baby?"
So what did I find after speaking to all these women? Initially other than meeting a really courageous and interesting group, I thought to my self "I still don't have an answer?!" Then one day I realized I had found something, I had found peace. Peace that my life will be ok, whether it's with children of my own or without. These women showed me that life can be loving, and full, and satisfying whatever our ovaries may or may not produce.
Couldn't Wouldn't Didn't available now at http://www.vividpublishing.com.au/couldntwouldntdidnt/index.html