Farewell to the Children

Barren, I feel,
And empty inside
Where no child
Has dwelt and
Still none will
Reside.
Those years
Are behind me
Those chances
Are gone.
It wasn’t
My choice
But the way
Life moved on.
Am I less of
A woman?
Is that what
You perceive
With no child
In my arms
Proof that I could
Conceive?

What you think
Doesn’t matter,
What I feel
Is all mine.
It’s a path I
Have walked
All alone all
This time.
Though my
Womb may be
Sealed and this
Dream has
Now died I
Feel nothing
But hope that
Creation
Abide. So,
Farewell to
The children
That I might
Have had, for
They’ll not know
My pain, and
For that I am
Glad.

*

Yes, this is very personal, and why I choose to share it today I don’t know. But I’m at a time in my life when I’m coming to terms with some things and recently I’ve been reflecting on the fact that I don’t have children.

For years I didn’t understand why I couldn’t conceive. I felt empty and incomplete as a woman; a barren outsider in a world of baby formula and Barney The Dinosaur. For years I avoided gatherings of women, especially baby showers, where conversations centred on junior’s accomplishments and whose child had endured the measles the longest. It was all just too painful.

When I was married and having difficulties getting pregnant, I ended up in a fertility clinic and endured two attempts at intra-uterine insemination. Neither effort was successful. When I had an emotional breakdown after the second failed attempt, my husband, ever the insensitive, told me without an ounce of emotion that I belonged in “a nut house.” I announced to him there and then that children would come naturally, or not at all. They didn’t come at all.

In the end it was just as well, as a few years later I finally found the strength to get a divorce and set out on the journey to self-awareness. I was 36 at the time. The biological clock was definitely ticking. A part of me desperately wanted a child and I briefly considered “going it alone.” Yet, as much as I was in terrible emotional shape, I knew in my heart that for me to bring a child into the world without the benefit of a loving father was the worst start I could give a child. I knew only too well the emotional price to be paid by the one-parent child raised by a working mother and abandoned emotionally by  a disinterested and self-absorbed father. I wouldn’t, and couldn’t, consciously do this to my own child.

So instead I focused my mothering instincts on my animals. My passion for horses also lifted me from my childless malaise and had an unanticipated benefit. It seems that many childless women find solace among the equine. I had finally found women with whom I could relate.

And then I met and fell in love with a man 15 years older who’s own children were grown and who wasn’t interested in having any more. My fate was sealed. I would not be a mother — at least not in the conventional sense.

Upon reflection, I believe my childless fate was sealed early on. Recently, while working with a hormone specialist and psychotherapist, I’ve learned that my body, due to severe hormone deficiencies and coping with post-traumatic stress disorder my entire life (a story for another day), couldn’t have sustained a pregnancy. Without realizing it I’ve been in chronic survival mode since early childhood and suffering from adrenal fatigue. My body has been over-taxed just keeping me going on a day-to-day basis. It’s never had the capacity to give life to another.

So, I have said farewell to the children I might have had, and turned my energies toward creation through writing, art, establishing a loving home and nurturing my companion animals. My partner is wonderfully supportive and when I look at the beauty we have created in our world, I realize my life is not so empty after all.

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2 thoughts on “Farewell to the Children

  1. The power to form words that challenge, invite anger, make us laugh, or in this case make us cry, is a gift that few possess. Your poem is raw emotion that speaks to a reader who can feel the words and not just read them. Thank you for sharing your gift.

  2. YOU are an inspiration! I have a love affair with words and horses….they are both theraphy to the soul! You’re a woman after my own heart! Thank you for sharing your heart!

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