One of the many things I love about the internet is the ability to take a peek at happenings all over the world, hear different points of view, and experience the sensibility of different cultures. Take this article, Leading a good life without kids, for example, that appeared recently in Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror.
As I began reading the story of Lathika, I wondered if I was reading a fairy tale.
“Lathika played with her doll, Fiona. She loved “Playing House” and dreamed of growing up, getting married and having a family of her own one day” felt like a tame way of expressing the desire for motherhood.
When I read, “The years went by and Lathika did not mind the pain and discomfort of regular tests for her fertility for she was now desperate to have a child,” I scratched my head and started wondering what was wrong with Lathika. I have never spoken to anyone who “didn’t mind” the pain and discomfort of fertility treatments. I wondered if Lathika was some kind of Zen master (mistress?) who calmly took whatever life dealt her, or if the author of the piece was just clueless about the emotional frustration of infertility. I also wondered if perhaps Sri Lankan culture forced Lathika to put on a brave face and keep her real feelings to herself. That I could understand.
I read on about Lathika’s attempts to fill the void in her life with creative pursuits and volunteer work, and the calmness of the writing began to wash over me. I nodded my head at the quote, “Your children are not your own,” because I’ve always had that thought about the role of parents in the lives of the human beings in their care (more about this in another post, I think.)
By the end of the piece, I was touched by the message. Although I still wasn’t convinced that “we leave Lathika happy and fulfilled” in her new childfree life, I found myself catching my breath at the idea that “destiny had planned a different life path for her.”
We have an idea about what life is supposed to be like for us. We grow up, fall in love, have children, create a life for ourselves, and live to see our grandchildren become adults and create their own lives. But we all know that life isn’t as clean cut as that.
Maybe destiny has planned a different life path for us, too. Perhaps we can’t see what that path is yet, but like Lathika, I feel strangely comforted by the idea that a different, maybe even better life could be ahead for me because I don’t have children.