Last week I was asked if I ever regretted not having kids? Funnily enough it’s a much easier question to answer as time passes and life moves on in different directions. I was never one of those women driven above all else to have children. Of course I always assumed it would happen, but I was never with the right man at the right time. So instead of making a decision I may have regretted later about choosing the wrong partner, I chose instead to let destiny take its path.
I remember being on a holiday in Mexico in my late thirties, with a former long term partner and going through great torment, trying to decide if I wanted him to be the father of my children. The clock was ticking and my meter was on. It’s a place not unfamiliar to many of you but a fact of life for women who run down the time clock, having to decide which fork in the road to take. Life is never perfect so we are always having to ask ourselves where our heart lies …
I feel terribly for the women who desperately want children but the cruelty of life doesn’t allow them an easy road to parenthood and they suffer the painful emotional journey of IVF. To know that these women want nothing more than to be a mum, and knowing that they would make the most wonderful parent – you wish that the answer was a simple one. Sadly it really is a throw of the dice. If you haven’t seen it already, check out my interview with Mary Coustas about how hard she tried over 10 years to have a child. The beautiful news of course, is that Mary and her husband George, thankfully welcomed a beautiful little girl into the world last year.
I grew up the youngest of three, with my brothers David and Rod above me. In the early 1960s divorce was a very different and incredibly difficult process and in regards to custody of the children, for some insane reason the courts felt it made much more sense for the boys to be brought up by their father and the girls by their mother. So when I was about two, we all split up and I lived with Mum (essentially as an only child) and my two brothers were with my father.
I saw first hand how extremely challenging life can be for a single mum bringing up a child alone. Growing up, in the back of my mind, this scenario was one I would go to great lengths to avoid.
I have been through periods of great sadness, knowing that there is a vital part of a woman’s life that I will never experience. They talk about the love of your own child as one that is indefinable, and irreplaceable. I have not known this but I have known other great loves.
I am a godmother of many, an aunt to my two nephews, a mentor to others and I hope that I offer a different perspective to life, and obviously see things and view situations from a different angle. I’ve also been incredibly lucky that I have worked pretty solidly since my first job back in the late 1970s and kept myself busy, making the most of my time and the opportunities that were afforded me. I am incredibly fortunate and have carved out a wonderful life for myself.
So to answer the original question…no, I hold no regrets about not having kids. I have embraced every moment of my life with open arms and happily those same arms wrap around friends, family and loved ones with all the passion and affection that I would share with my own if I had them. And of course, let’s not forget I am actually a Mum to the most wonderful love in my life…Billie.