“Do you have children?”
I get this question all the time. Often I’m tempted to answer, “Not on earth,” but I know this would just make people feel uncomfortable, so I always answer with “No,” or “we have furbabies.” The truth is, although it has become easier over the years, it’s never completely pain-free to hear this question.
No one asks with the intention of hurting me or anyone else who is child-free, and there is an expectation that most married people have children. The fact that we don’t have children is not by choice; we wanted children, but God had other plans. "This isn't forever. It's just for a season," a friend once said to me who was struggling with infertility herself. She went on to have children; we didn't.
I used to cringe at the sight of a pregnant woman or a mother and baby. Even going to church was hard. On the way into the sanctuary I’d have to see all of the mothers and their children lined up like ducklings--three, four, five deep. Now, those things don’t bother me as much.My husband and I are in a good place these days. We’re relatively happy most of the time that we don’t have children. I watch the news and balk at the horrors happening in the world, knowing that raising kids in the midst of it all would be so difficult. I'm not sure we're equipped for that. I see my friends enduring unimaginable heartache from the pain of a wayward or prodigal child, and I breathe a little “thank you” that we’re not dealing with that kind of agony.
Still, there are always the questions. What if I'd married sooner? What if we'd tried for kids sooner? What if I didn't eat this? What if I didn't drink that? What if...Ultimately, I feel that God knows always what He’s doing, and there are very good reasons why the answer to our fervently prayed prayers was no.
I’m around kids (high-school aged) all day (and most of the time they drive me crazy), but I also care about them. That, and the daily care of our dogs fulfills a maternal instinct in me on some level. That will have to do until I see my heavenly children face to face.
April is Infertility Awareness month.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. --Proverbs 3:5