“No children?” asked a shocked relative. “I’m so sorry. I asked casually since you have been married for 10 years now.”
The only reply I could think of was, “Please don’t be sorry. I am not. It was our choice not to have children.” In response, she looked apologetic and disdainful.
Just as any parent is eager to hear ‘the good news’ from their daughter after the ‘two-year itch’ or the honeymoon phase, my parents too had asked me the loaded question, only to receive a disappointing answer. I understood their excitement to have a grandchild but my husband and I had taken this well-thought-out decision before getting married.
I was in my mid-thirties and he, in his mid-forties. At this stage of our lives, our priorities were different. While we both love children, we felt differently about starting a family of our own. Life and divine intervention gave us both a second chance at marriage and we both wanted to make the most of us.
I had listened patiently to the do’s and don’ts from loved ones but stuck to my belief that having a child should be for the sake of the child only.
There isn’t a day that my husband and I have regretted this decision. I’m at peace because we made it a point to revisit the thought of having a child every couple of years and talk to each other to understand if we still felt the same.
Couples procreate because it is expected of them after marriage, they want to continue their family lineage or they want to fill a void in their lives or in their marriage through the child. Sadly, such couples constitute a significantly high percentage.
Before dedicating 20 years of my life to psychotherapy, I was passionate about Montessori education and became trained in it. I worked for eight years with children between 2 and 6 years of age and I loved every moment of it. Sometimes, I ask myself: was it fulfilling a dormant maternal instinct?
What would life have been like if I had children of my own? Would I have been a good, patient mother or would I have constantly screamed at my child? Would I have been a control freak? This feeling of uncertainty is brief and I return to reality, realising with a smile that I made the right decision.
Couples without children usually compensate by developing strong friendships and relationships. I also realised that we need to prepare for old age not having children to rely on for support. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that children will be around when you have the need for them. It is a bitter pill many must swallow.
This humungous and weighty decision isn’t easy to avoid. It is also not easy to disregard the pressure of family, society and the biological clock. However, it is crucial to consider the true reasons for having a child.
Today, my family has graciously accepted our decision and I am grateful for that. I can truly say my husband and I feel complete as a married couple today.