On a flight recently, I sat next to an elderly woman who was on her way to visit her granddaughter. Before long the conversation veered towards children and she asked me if I had any.
For a second, I got that sinking feeling. Here was a woman with children and grandchildren, who wasn’t going to understand why I didn’t. But I told her anyway, and even headed her off at the pass by explaining why before she asked.
But the thing is, she got it. She understood that the battle with infertility can be endless. She understood that sometimes you have to walk away. And she also understood that parenthood isn’t and shouldn’t be for everyone.
This is a trend I’ve been noticing lately. I’ve found that older people are often more likely than younger people to understand that motherhood isn’t a certainty for everyone.
Maybe it’s the wisdom that comes with experience, or maybe it’s that perspective older people sometimes get about what’s really important in life. Whatever it is, I’m always glad to find that safe haven when it comes along.
I also think it is because older people didn’t have all of the fertility drugs, IVF, etc… So if they (or someone they knew) was faced with infertility, you either accepted it and remained childless or adopted. I think that it was more understood. I think that now if you have problems with infertility you’re perhaps expected to DO something about it.
I think it is because they can see the whole picture… I remember when I was first debating having kids with my husband (before we found out the choice was made for us) and I was interviewing friends who were childless by choice and those who had kids… and one older man, who had been married for 25 years and had 2 kids (20 and 18) said “I love my kids… they are great kids… DON’T HAVE KIDS”. He was saying that because he saw so many of his friends now all getting divorced because the kids became the epicenter of their lives and once they grew up, most people forgot that they were still married to someone who may have grown up differently too. He mentioned how he loved his wife first, and had to make a massive effort to make sure they had things still in common once the kids were gone, and how so many people forget that. Perhaps that is why older folks understand… we have a gift that they didn’t quite have that they are a bit envious of… we have our partners all to ourselves still.
Nice simple post that lifted my spirit a bit…here’s hoping that more people will bring that peace to the question rather than than negative response. I’m glad you got that experience and thanks for sharing it!