I think it is no secret anymore that we are a childless couple. There are many people out there who embrace a life like this but we don’t choose this life. We have been struggling for years to no avail but now have come to an acceptance stage.
Now let me tell you how a life like this be for us: we sleep perfectly well at night, we are free to set and pursue life goals, we have enough money to spend and to save for fun or for whatever, we go to cinema anytime a good movie’s coming, we don’t check our schedule every time the gang want to hang out, we don’t have any concern for (un)protected-sex, and our body — to some degree — is not changing. We are happy, we are content, we are perfect with our mutual imperfection.
Of course once in a while you are going to check on FB and see your friends set a play-date with other parents, of course once in a while you’d be left out in some topic of conversation, of course there’s just some sections at the department store or book store you don’t go into, and of course you are not qualified to give an advice or two about child development and the like. Of course, this means you are not, under any circumstances, to criticize other moms about how they should have acted or said in any given situation and an occasional saying “easy for you to say, you don’t know what i have to face, what I’ve been through in daily basis as a mom”. But other than those, we are not missing out on anything.
Some people say, a childless marriage is devoid of meaning, with some scary tales of “you are going to be old and senile, before you die alone.”
Are we? Aren’t you?
Now let me tell you the harsh truth about it: we are all going to die alone anyway, with or with no child(ren). They are born, you nurture them, they grow up, leading their own life, all the while you grow old, and they’re too busy with their own child who eventually will leave them alone and old, too.
Last week, after 5 cycles of otherwise well-done (albeit painful) chemo, my mother in law’s condition suddenly became critical. She was struck with leukopenia (her leukocytes drop to 400 — the normal range is 4000-12000). She had been nothing but discipline with the medication, going by the book and all around be positive about life. It was a horrible experience to look her be on-and-off like that. We ran her to the nearest ICU in the middle of the night all the while wondering, what have we done wrong? It should have never meant to be this way, we didn’t see anything coming.
It was as if all of sudden we were made to realize that there’s just certain thing that is out of our control, ‘something dreadful’ that we can’t cheat on.
The thing is, the family is flocked with doctors, nurses, medics, specialist this and that and she, therefore, has been well taken care of this time around. As self-centered as it sounds, this also got me thinking, the ‘wise’ words from people around us kept echoing “reproduce, they’ll be taking care of you when you are old and sick. Like this.”, alternately with the dreadful voice of “unlike her, you’re gonna be dying alone.”
I held my husband’s hand and he squished mine back. I wasn’t sure if he was having the same epiphany as i did or simply mortified by his mom’s prospect that night.
“I’m going to take care of you when you’re old.”
“So will I you.”
And we have been that way since the beginning. I’d gotten cold, he’s been there to take care of me, and eventually, as expected, caught one, too. And we’d be lying side by side being miserable together with tissues and snots around us, holding each other’s hands. In the last round of our medical procedure in (yet another) attempt to have a baby, we were taken to a post surgery room, our beds were next to each other. Holding hands and being pained and weeping for we were (again) faced with the brutal truth that we failed (again). If i look back, there is something incredibly comical and yet so sad about that. There were only the two of us, no family, no friends, no maid, no one by our side. So yes, we have had seen what the future holds for us, we’ve got the taste of it, but… “We’ve tried to cheat birth and we failed.”