'It’s Painful for Me': Discussions on Deciding To Have Kids or Not
Two strangers, Angela and Deirdre, open up about the factors that went into them deciding not to have children.
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A Conversation with Angela and Deirdre
In this episode, Angela and Deirdre discuss the factors that led them to their decision to not have children. Deirdre didn't want to have kids with her ex-husband, and has since not found the opportunity to do so again. These circumstances are painful, because she deeply wants to have children, but ultimately doesn't regret not having them with the man she was previously married to.
Angela dreamed of having children with her ex-husband, but he suddenly ended their relationship a week before their five-year anniversary. The heartbreak of this experience has prompted Angela to decide to never be in a committed relationship again. For Angela, who doesn't want to be a single mom, this means no children.
Over the course of the discussion, Angela and Deirdre talk about how meditation and spirituality helped them cope with the pain and their decisions to not be mothers. Looking back on their lives, Angela and Deirdre know that they have made the right choices and are looking forward to their futures.
Growing up, I was never one of those little girls who dreamt of getting married, imagining the dress and having children. It's just not who I was. I got a little older in my early twenties. I ended up meeting a man, fell in love. We got married and we were together for almost ten years. We talked about having children, which was something that we really wanted to do, but we wanted to wait—have some fun and travel. Years pass, and one day back in 2019, he tells me a week before our five year anniversary in August that he would like to break up.
It was very sudden. I could tell there were some changes in him. Maybe a little depression, maybe some anxiety. He didn't really want to communicate. It was very difficult. He had said there's basically nothing I could do. The relationship was not repairable at that point. It wasn't me, it was him, which I believed. Everything up until that point was really great. And then, come December, our lease was up. We had to continue living together for that time.
Wow, that's hard.
It was very difficult. So now here I am single, going through a divorce, and I don't think that I'm ever going to decide to be in another committed relationship. The heartbreak was too much. I could never do that again. And so because of that choice, I really don't think children will be in the picture for me.
I got married—the first time—when I was 41, which is much older, right? And I still didn't get it right. He was a nice guy, but he wasn't the right guy. I think because my mother had passed away right when I met him, I think I was scared, and I think I also wanted babies so bad. I've always wanted babies. I wanted a boy and a girl—I had names picked out.
I married him. He was tall, dark and handsome, but very ill suited for me, and I knew it. I knew it very soon after I got married, and I made a very important decision that I was not going to have children with him now. I could have had children, got divorced, gone on my merry way. But I knew that I would not have that foundation. I knew he financially was not a man that could support us. And so I made a very difficult, but I think right decision, not to bring children into this world unless it was the right situation because of the pain that I went through from my parents divorce and not having a mommy and daddy.
You're really at a great age. Your life still can just open up and you might decide to have children by yourself. You just never know.
It's kind of scary. My mom was a single mom, and so I know how hard it can be—just the struggles that she had. Working every day and long hours. It was me and my sister. We had to do some things for ourselves, lots of walking home from school. But the struggle of having to be the mother and the father was a lot. She didn't make it seem difficult at all. She handled everything with grace. But I could tell there was the hardship of just being alone and taking care of the children.
That's the interesting thing. The things that happened to us in life and in our childhood form decisions that we're going to make in the future and that had a profound effect on you.
My parents separated when I was a baby. All I remember is living with my grandparents and my mother. My grandparents were fabulous, and I'm so grateful that I had them. But my dad would come on the weekends to visit. And then one day my dad called up and said he was going on vacation to Florida. And I don't know, instinctually I knew he wasn't coming back. He didn't come back.
With that said, I never wanted to get divorced, number one. Number two, it was very important to me to have a mother and a father figure because I didn't have that. I didn't think it was fair to bring a child into the world without a mother and a father and a really, really solid foundation.
Most of my life, I have chosen men that did not treat me well because my self-esteem wasn't what it should be. They were verbally abusive, mostly. I married again—eleven years ago now. That man was verbally abusive to me all the time. I wasn't successful. I didn't make enough money. He was up here financially, I was down here. Kind of beat me up emotionally. Ultimately, he flipped me on the floor and I dialed 911 and got a restraining order. Took care of myself. I have been working really hard and evolving and growing and meditating and loving myself for the last year and four months to survive this.
The interesting thing is, when I married him, I still wanted those babies and I would wake up some mornings and I would have a dream about babies. I'd have dreams sometimes that I had a baby and I'd be bawling my eyes out and looking to him for comfort—which there wasn't much comfort he gave. Now I have to say on a spiritual level, thank you God for not giving me what I thought I wanted because he was a nightmare to divorce. So that was a blessing. So sometimes what you don't get in life is like—now I'm like, "Thank you, God."
When you said meditation and your spirituality for the last year—that has been the only thing keeping me together. I haven't gone to therapy, I chose to do it alone and I go through this separation by myself in a dark room. I'm not much of a crier. Every once in a while, it does happen. But those days, the meditating, the praying, the really just going inside and learning about myself, who am I now? My whole identity had been changed.
Your core was shaken. What happened to me is I had been with these men that were abusive and didn't treat me right my entire life, and I'm 64. I don't want you or any other young person out there to have to take as long as it took me to learn this stuff.
Would you say that now where you're at in your life, that you're happy with the choices that you've made to not have children?
That's a great, great, great question. Makes me get emotional. I know I did the right thing, but I got to tell you I'm very maternal. I've always wanted to be a mommy. I'm great with kids. I'm just on their level. But did I make the right decision? Yes, especially, I think, for the children that would have come through, you know what I mean? It's painful for me. And you know what? God provides. Maybe I'll meet a great guy down the road that has grandbabies. I would so put my arms around that.
I feel like I never had that maternal instinct. I feel so different. I've known a lot of women who are like, "Oh, that's my dream. Get married. Have kids. That's all I want." I'm over here like, "Oh."
I have to tell you, I'm very career oriented and my career was very important to me, especially in my twenties. But I knew somewhere down the line I wanted kids. I would envy my friends. I have a girlfriend that never had kids and she doesn't care. It doesn't bother her. And I'm like, "Why can't I be like that?" I wish it didn't bother me. So it's good because you're not feeling the pain and the pull, right?
In a way, I'm the only one now out of all my friends and a lot of my cousins and stuff who doesn't have kids and I'm going backwards in time, I feel like. They're always like, "No, you're going to find the perfect man. You're going to have a million babies just like us." When I look into the future sometimes, I don't see that.
[You don't see] you doing that.
Or maybe having a great desire for it.
Right. And it's only because of what I went through.
Angela, understand that when I was married the first time and I made that decision, I realized "I married the wrong person. I can't have a child with him. It's not the right circumstance." When I married the second time, I wanted that baby so bad. So it is painful and it does break my heart that that isn't the way my life went. I mean, sometimes I hear these crazy stories on the news, you know, 62 year old woman gives birth and I'm like, "Oh my God, I can still do it. It's not too late!" Or I look in the mirror and I'm like, "Maybe I can do this." I think they're going to come through in another fashion as a grandchild or something down the road.
I believe that for you, if that's what you want.
Aww, thank you. They always say, hold a space for someone to grow into. So thank you.