There are disadvantages to being childless too. Let’s start with our government. Our government rewards you when you do what they want. The government does not reward you for gambling. In fact, you are taxed more heavily. Farmers enjoy larger subsidies when they plant certain crops. I am rewarded for being a homeowner. I am also rewarded for being a small business owner. When it is tax season I receive certain breaks that if I were not I would not receive. There are tax credits for having children. When our president and congress ratified the tax relief bill a few years ago, I didn’t see much relief at all. My taxes if anything went up.
The workplace is always stressing and emphasizing how kid friendly they are but I somehow feel that I am being taken advantage. The corporate world focuses on working families. Some companies provide on-site daycare. Some allow their workers to work from home or work on their own schedule with flex time. While I find these benefits to be fantastic for working families, I find that I am somehow paying for their benefits that I will never be able to use. I would love to work on my schedule. I’m a morning person. I would love to get my time in before 2 pm but because I’m childless I’m not allowed to take advantage of these benefits.
There is also uneasiness amongst parents and the childless at work. Some women that have chosen to have children have a sense of entitlement about them. They complain about how much harder they have to work but they are the same ones that absolutely must leave at a certain time because of day care. I’m expected to stay late or come in early because I’m “just married”. I don’t know if their lives that much more difficult than mine but it may be more cumbersome. I’m not exactly sure how it’s fair.
I, sometimes, feel, for lack of a better term, ignored because of my childlessness. I could be having a perfectly wonderful conversation with parents or in-laws and my siblings or my husband’s will come over and I am left in the kitchen while everyone focuses on the kids. We joke at casa la crick that the reason that our parents don’t visit as often as they visit their other children is that we don’t have children to perform for the grandparents. We have cats and that isn’t the same. It isn’t the same as being a parent or a grandparent. While they are wonderful pets they aren’t grandchildren. My sorry attempt reflect attention upon myself call them the “grand kitties”. After the cats perform their tricks for treats we have the boring house. All we have is conversation and the occasional card game. While they may visit our siblings near monthly they visit our house a few of times a year.
I was once at a family gathering that my husband and my sister’s husband couldn’t attend. Everyone with the exception of me was watching a movie. I looked into the great room and saw sets of families. My sister’s three children gathered around her. My brother and his wife with their daughter curled up on the couch together. I wanted to either talk or play some cards or maybe a little of both. It was a tad bit chilly. I went for a walk and the realization that if I wanted any sort of attention even from my family I was going to somehow reproduce or adopt something. I was visibly upset and left in tears. I probably shouldn’t feel ignored but sometimes I do.
My husband, I and his parents went to church on Mother’s Day. This older gentleman told every woman who appeared older than 20 “Happy Mother’s Day”. Although the gesture was intended not to be offensive I was a little put off by it. First, it made think that I appeared to be old “enough”. It may be my disillusionment but if people I don’t know are guessing that I’m 25 for some reason I’m happy with that. I enjoy the fact that I have somehow have so far eluded the dreaded crows feet landing party. Second, I don’t necessarily feel that I need to have children to show that my life has meaning. Really, the only reason we take pride in whatever we do is to show purpose. I have purpose in my career because or I have purpose in family life because and so on and so forth. I think that is what is so complicated about the women’s movement. We have so much choice. I can be a mom. I can choose not to. I can choose a career in the corporate world. I can choose to be a stay-at-home mom. I can choose both to have the corporate career and motherhood. I can choose to have a child and not necessarily live with the father. I can chose to be bound by tradition or religious beliefs and wait to be married to have a child. The family dynamics have changed dramatically since the World War II Generation. This may be an overly generalized statement. Women had a single role to marry and care for the children. Today, there are so many choices. I can choose any of them or almost any combination of them.
I have a syndrome called poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Although it doesn’t wipe out your chances for having children it does make things a tad bit more difficult. There are many facets to the said syndrome but one of which is that the egg doesn’t fully mature. My body has too much androgen. This somehow causes the testosterone to kick in and produce entirely too much insulin. I can’t tell how excited I was when I started to put on weight. I work twice as hard to maintain and even harder to lose. I am considered pre-diabetic. I’m also considered a high risk for heart disease. There is a pretty good chance that some day I may lose my right leg due to circulation issues.
My cycles have ceased. Although some women would be very happy about this, and really, I’m not saying that I miss it but it also puts me at a very high risk for uterine cancer. My uterus is hit with all the estrogen that my body is producing but my body is revolting and isn’t shedding its lining putting me at very high risk.
Big Scott and I tried oral fertility drugs. I wasn’t a big fan of them. Every month, my belly would swell, my chest would enlarge, and I would become nauseous at any slight movement. I felt pregnant without being pregnant. I hated the disappointment every month. I hated being sick. I hated depending on Big Scott to take care of me when I felt sick. I felt weak and useless. I hated not being in control of my own body. The doctors suggested taking shots to increase our chances. Little did I know that my rear would end up (no pun intended) being a road map. That is when I drew the line. Not only because we couldn’t afford all the shots ($200 a day) but also I wasn’t ready to go that far.